Our beloved Jean Dietch was a “spitfire”; a super lady able to run circles around anyone. She had a ready smile for people she knew, or met, for the very first time; she possessed a heart of gold and a talent to be able to strike up a conversation with anyone. She was a lady of valor, kind, and always thinking about someone else to help or make happy; she was compassionate; a confidante, easy to talk with. She still drove to run errands — avoiding the expressway. She took friends to appointments and made personal deliveries to spread cheer, no matter what the weather; she was an active member of several service organizations and a vital member of Irondequoit’s Pinegrove Senior Center. She sent myriads of get well cards to people she learned were ill and sent hundreds of cards out for happy occasions. She was a wonderful cook and a spectacular baker who shared her culinary talents with family and friends. Her homemade chocolate fudge, honey cake, mandel bread — like biscotti — and Passover sponge cakes — both regular and gluten-free — were the best!
Sadly, The Traveling Cabaret lost her suddenly on Dec. 15.
An intelligent, vibrant and young 95 years of age, Jean Dietch was a long-time Irondequoit resident. Always dressed to perfection, one would never have guessed that she celebrated her milestone birthday just last March 2018.
She dearly loved her family, her friends, her special neighbors and the Traveling Cabaret, and we all loved her back!
Jean was lovingly dubbed the Traveling Cabaret’s “Number 1 Groupie,” an avid supporter and proponent of our 28-year-old song, dance and comedy musical revue troupe! She attended each and every Traveling Cabaret show and was always given a place-of-honor in the front row. She was our family, and the Traveling Cabaret troupe was hers. On that fateful Saturday, she had attended the Traveling Cabaret’s 540th performance, accompanying her son, Bob Dietch, also of Irondequoit, who has been the Traveling Cabaret’s musical director, pianist and performer for 22 years.
After the Traveling Cabaret’s show, in the late afternoon of Dec. 15, with dusk fast approaching, Jean lost her life, unexpectedly, the result of an unfortunate accident. Who knew it was to be our last day that we could hug, kiss and hold tight that sweet lady?
She never complained about anything; always had a good word to say about everyone and everything; she saw the bright side of situations, and you never knew she might not have felt up-to-par, on a particular day, because when you asked her how she was feeling, Jean always said, “I’m all right!”
After every show, the cast asked her to critique the performance: Her response was always the same: “The audience loved it!” When asked to rate our show on a scale from zero to 10, she would quickly utter, “a 10!” When introduced during the show, Jean would proudly stand up, like the celebrity that she was, turn to acknowledge the audience, wave, say “hello”, and wish them well. She was the first in the audience to rise to honor America and the American flag when the troupe sang a red, white and blue medley on-closing the shows.
Jean was the “hostess with the mostess!” Entering her house, you immediately were made to sit down and have some coffee, tea and baked goods, and if you said “no thank you,” she would fling open her refrigerator door and start pulling out a variety of all kinds of goodies, cakes, fruit, ice cream and more, and pack them in a bag and insist that you take the filled bag home, when you left!
Jean loved music. As we looked out at her from the stage, she would be singing right along with us, a smile on her face, a twinkle in her eye, and swaying in time to the music. How proud she was, as she watched her talented son Bob’s fingers flying over the piano keys and singing.
The Traveling Cabaret Family is sad and heartbroken beyond words at such a profound loss. Jean Dietch will forever have a special place in our hearts with happy memories of the true, gentle lady that she was: a devoted Mother, a friend, a neighbor, a second Mother to the cast; a lady who we all loved more than words can say!
That front row seat may now be empty, but Jean Dietch’s spirit and presence will always surround us. May you rest in peace dear, sweet lady. We will never forget you. You will live forever in our hearts.
Your Traveling Cabaret family: Phyllis and Sandy Kravetz, Linda and Mike Maloney, Mark Battaglia, Betty Ann and Jim Battaglia, Bob Dietch, Dick Lawrence, Steve Tylock, Roseann Kraus, Jody Wilbur, Mark King and Bruce Dunn.