Arlington, VA- Joan Rose Buczek Nalepa, 97, passed away at the Cottages of Swansboro in North Carolina on Wednesday, February 17, 2021. Services will be held later at Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church in Alexandria, Virginia where she was a member of the congregation for 65 years. Interment will be at Arlington National Cemetery at a date to be determined.
Joan was born in Calumet City, Illinois and grew up in various nearby towns. She met Edward A. Nalepa, her husband to be, while she was still in high school as he was her private music teacher. "Sentimental Journey" became their theme song as she waited for her then fiancé to return from Navy duty at Pearl Harbor. Meanwhile, she attended business school and worked at a nearby bank, played the saxophone in an all-girls dance band, and was the featured member of an otherwise all-boys dance band! They married in 1945 upon his return and never looked back! As a military wife, she did not look forward to multiple relocations, and the opportunity to remain in the Northern Virginia area presented itself when he transitioned from the U.S. Navy Band to Pershing’s Own U.S. Army Band, permanently stationed at Ft. Myer, Virginia.
Joan enjoyed entertaining friends in the 1950s tradition with couples over for poker, Gin Rummy, Canasta, Yahtzee, and party games. She enjoyed cooking traditional Polish dishes to the delight of her family! Joan was a serious seamstress, frequently creating four matching dresses for daughters born two years apart. She was everyone’s favorite dance partner as she and her husband were the darlings of their ballroom dance lessons. They particularly excelled at the Polish Polka.
Mrs. Nalepa is preceded in death by her husband of 66 years, known to all as Eddie, whom she cared for until his passing at the age of 96 in 2011. Also predeceased are her parents, John and Tekla Buczek, and, as the youngest of five, her two sisters Marion Ogrodowski and Harriet Dokulil, and two brothers, John and Walter Buczek.
She is survived by her four loving daughters Janet and her husband Jim Feeley of Norcross, Georgia; Arlene and her husband Bill Smith of Frederick, Maryland; Sandy and her husband Tim McCaw of Emerald Isle, North Carolina, and Karen and her husband Steve Daly of Cape Carteret, North Carolina; seven grandchildren and three great-grandchildren; and many nieces and nephews.
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