Jeffie Claire DeFusco died on Saturday, Jan. 13, 2018, at home in the company of her daughter, Sue Ellen Piccus, her granddaughter, Ellen K. McMannis, and her son-in-law, Gary Piccus.
Jeffie was born August 2, 1926, in Omaha, Neb., to Lucy Martha Jeffords Gibson and John Arthur Gibson. She grew up in the Sandhills of Nebraska, graduating high school in Mullen, Neb. She worked for Western Union, trained in Cleveland, Ohio. She was then posted in San Francisco, Calif., where she met her first husband, Darrel R. (Mac) McMannis.
In 1948 they were married in Mullen, and lived in Iuka, Kan., where wheat farming and truck driving supported the young family. They had a daughter, Sue Ellen McMannis, and a son, Michael Dwane McMannis.
Jeffie and Mac purchased and ran a Laundromat in Guymon, Okla. while still wheat farming. Jeffie became a licensed private pilot, and enjoyed that until her hearing loss increased. She was a bowler, and traveled to Phoenix, Ariz., to take part in national competition with her team. Little did she know she would move there in 1962.
Jeffie continued her education, becoming a medical assistant. She later was the operations manager for the Ophthalmology Center of Dr. Sheldon Zinn.
Mac died in 1967, and Jeffie met and married Al DeFusco. They enjoyed traveling to horseracing tracks throughout the Southwest, and owned their own horse, who even won. Al died in 1980.
She loved music, dancing, and visiting with friends of all ages. She was always able to tell an interesting story of some life experience to entertain her audience. She was a great Scrabble and poker player, and an avid reader.
Her first grandchild is Lisa Splawn Poteet. She came into her life in 1980 at age 5 with her mother, Rita K. Moors, who married Jeffie’s son Mike and bore him two children, Ellen Kathlyn McMannis and Timothy Miles McMannis. They spent many years enjoying good times. Jeffie also helped raise her son’s children Ellen and Tim in Phoenix.
Jeffie moved to Oak Bluffs permanently in 2004 after spending many summers there with her daughter, son-in-law and granddaughter, Julianne K. Piccus.
She worked for M.V. Land Bank as a property attendant, mostly at “her” beaches, Wilfords’ Pond and Tashmoo. She enjoyed seeing the return of the children each summer for five years.
Jeffie took her granddaughter Julianne on a cross-country trip after “Jewelz” graduated from high school in 2002. They traveled to Nebraska, saw Mount Rushmore, and enjoyed each other’s company from M.V. to Phoenix.
A caring, life-loving lady, Jeffie walked many a mile with a smile on her face and love in her heart.
Jeffie’s siblings, John A. (Bud) Gibson Jr., Shirley Ann Wuelzer, Barney Bill Gibson, and Joe Michael Gibson, all predeceased her. She was also predeceased by her two husbands, her son Mike McMannis, and her grandson Dyami Piccus.
Our thanks to so many people who helped her through these past few years, especially Hospice of Martha’s Vineyard, Elder Services, and Supportive Day Care.