Former Mattiuck resident Sylvia Okula, a longtime resident of Winter Haven, Fla., died April 6 in Atlanta from complications of heart disease and diabetes. She was 88.
Ms. Okula was born in Mattituck in 1925. She married Francis L. Okula in New York after his return from serving in the U.S. Air Force during World War II. They moved to Winter Haven, Fla. in 1956, building a home on Lake Shipp, where they raised their two sons, James and David. When Fran died in 1985, she moved to the Orchid Springs community near Cypress Gardens, Fla. where she remained until 2010. Ms. Okula then moved to an assisted living community in Atlanta to be closer to her son James.
Ms. Okula, an avid gardener, served as president of the Jacaranda Garden Club many times throughout her active membership and also as office manager of the Winter Haven Garden Center. Ms. Okula and her family were longtime members of St. Joseph Catholic Church in Winter Haven, where she was very active the church’s stitchery group. While living in Orchid Springs, Fla. she was also a member of St. Matthew Catholic Church.
Ms. Okula is survived by her sons James, of Georgia and David, of Seattle; his sister Patricia Haupt Fazio of Huntington, Conn.; her brothers Francis Haupt of Panama City, Fla. and Harold Haupt of Southold; three granddaughters and other family and friends.
A funeral mass was held April 12 at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Winter Haven, celebrated by Father Glenn Charest
Memorial donations may be made to Jacaranda Garden Club, in care of Mrs. George Hatfield, 113 Alachua Drive, Winter Haven, FL 33884. to establish a memorial garden in Ms. Okula’s honor.