Joan “Jody” Sletto, 84, formerly of Ocean View, Del., died on Aug. 29, 2021, in Columbia, Md. As a fighter, she was determined to beat the brain tumor which took her life, right up until the end. She died nearly two years after her beloved husband, Al, who passed away on Sept. 4, 2019. Sletto was born on Feb. 5, 1937, in Carbondale, Pa., the youngest child to the late Margaret and Michael Tolerico.
She graduated from St. Rose High School in 1955. Being adventurous, she moved to Binghamton, N.Y., where she met her husband, Al, at a rollerskating rink. She followed him to Maryland, and they were married in 1957.
Jody and Al Sletto lived in the Rockville, Md., area for 45 years. She worked at various jobs, and her last job was as an administrative assistant at Kaiser Permanente in Kensington, Md. She was actively involved in St. Jude’s Sodality, Rockville Little Theater and the Amite Club. The couple decided to retire to Ocean View in 2002.
Sletto passed on many lessons to her family — her daughter, son-in-law, three grandchildren and two great-grandchildren:
• Get out of your comfort zone. Sletto jumped into all sorts of activities to stay busy and connected — Lions Club, St. Anne’s Choir, volunteering at the library, volleyball, water aerobics and many more groups. Some of the activities she joined were not her specialty, yet she gave it a try. She loved walking and riding her bike and often challenged herself so she could be in good shape. She participated in the Delaware Senior Olympics as a walker. And she loved to ride her bike in the summer down to Ocean City, Md., stopping often to take a dip in hotel pools.
• Plan, plan, plan. She was the idea generator and planner. There were many walks to Hocker’s where the family would sit with a paper and pen to plan out the next party or adventure. One of the grandchildren had moved to Illinois for graduate school and took a 15-year-old Toyota Camry out west. Knowing that the car wouldn’t be in the best shape after two years, she suggested that the family take the title with them for his graduation for the year prior. It would have come in handy when the car was sold before he came back east.
• Play and enjoy family. She kept the family entertained with games — she was the 500 rummy card game champ; Rummikub, puzzles and other games she would make up. She was always quizzing family about the states and their capitals. She was the sharpened-pencil queen and, to this day, her family relishes a sharpened No. 2 Ticonderoga pencil in hand. Once, she gave them a seance to bring back Duke, who had passed away in 1999. They heard him bark, although one of the kids almost set the table on fire.
• Be a minimalist. She donated many items throughout their years at the beach to ACTS (Atlantic Community Thrift Store). The family would also frequent the store for costume attire or to set some fashion trend, such as high school girls wearing tuxedo jackets to school. (“Happy to report that I don’t have a great deal of stuff to deal with.”)
• Be the hostess with the mostest. She made sure that everything was set to entertain family. Sletto made sure everyone’s favorite foods were purchased — sour-cream-and-onion potato chips, nachos, sweets, salads, steak, and always popcorn. She would make sure that movies from Blockbuster and the Ocean View video store were ready for viewing.
• Memory Maker. Sletto would make the family homemade menus for family dinners. Her Christmas decorations included stringing colorful lights and tying up dollar bills at the end of curled ribbon in the doorway. The holidays — especially Thanksgiving and Christmas — would involve a poem sung to a popular holiday tune to mark the activities and things that happened during that holiday season. The family was often graced with a card or letter stating all the things that were done on a visit to recap their time together.
• Considerate spouse. Jody Sletto joined her husband, Al, at many VFW functions throughout the years — football games, Super Bowl parties, New Year’s Eve dinners and other events. She was his chauffeur when he could no longer drive and often took him down to the club or the chicken shack. She enjoyed making friends and memories.
Jody and Al Sletto left the beach to be with their family in Maryland, to help with caretaking, in 2018. They had many happy memories of living at the beach.
“Jody will be missed by all who knew and loved her, and her lessons will live on with us.”