Born on September 11th, 1942, in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, England, Ann Sybil Checchia spent her life caring for others. After a young adulthood filled with travel and work with banks and other institutions, Ann went into nursing. She cared for her mother until her death from heart disease and then hopped on a plane, joining other British nurses in the desert of El Paso, Texas. After a short detour to Stanford University’s nursing program, Ann found her calling back in El Paso, tending to premature babies in Sierra Medical’s NICU for 15 years.
In 1982 she met then-air conditioner technician Stephen Mark Checchia. They married in 1984 and welcomed their daughter, Jenny, in 1986. Together, they had many camping adventures, and often traveled across the US and “the pond” to visit friends and family, experiencing all the joys and struggles of life with loved ones. Ann became an American Citizen on September 12th, 1997.
Toward the end of her nursing career–when it became clear that keeping up with the pace of such a demanding job was no longer possible–Ann switched to school nursing. She transferred her tender and no-nonsense care to Riverside and Hillcrest middle schoolers until her retirement.
Ann and Steve then took their camper west and spent weeks enjoying the open road. The couple delighted in their garden and spent hours in the art studio, Steve built for Ann, drinking coffee and admiring their roses. When their daughter and beloved son-in-law, David, would visit from New York, meals at Cattleman’s, journeys to Old Mesilla, and good martinis were on the menu.
In her seventies, Ann rediscovered her love for watercolor painting. Supported by her family, her “British Crew” of nurses, congregants from St. Lucas’ Methodist Church, and the many friends she made in the El Paso art scene and a Sorority group, Ann continued to grow her talent, winning awards in local art shows and joining the Rio Bravo Watercolorists. Many deep and lasting connections were made and enjoyed to the end of her life.
Following Steve’s unexpected death in 2020, Ann’s health declined, and in January of 2023, she was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. On April 5th, 2023, Ann went to join the stars. Her family hopes she was welcomed by her husband and her parents: Joseph Aloysius Ypres Devon (Diffin) and Alice Helena Devon (Gray). It’s conceivable that she’s now chatting with all of her beloveds who had gone ahead, saving seats and her fantastic smile for those yet to come. In her final months, Ann was surrounded by the care and love of her daughter, Jenny Skinner (Checchia), and many of her chosen family–near and far.
Ann and Steve's ashes—along with those of some of their beloved pets—were scattered at Tom Mays Park, at sunset, with roses from their garden and a pour of Dry Sack sherry to send them off on their journey.
Ann was tender, direct, and always busy, sitting still only when painting or watching Poirot. An empathetic person, Ann loved with a fierce and passionate heart. She did the absolute best she could with this terrifying and magnificent experience called life. Her laugh and joyful excitement will be missed by so many people.
A virtual remembrance will be held on June 11th, 2023 at 11:00 am ET. Please visit https://www.mykeeper.com/event/remembrance-for-ann-sybil-checchia/ to RSVP and share with others. In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to two charities close to Ann’s heart: El Paso Rescue Mission and St. Luke’s Children’s Hospital.
|Name||Ann Sybil Checchia|
|Date of Birth||September 11th, 1942|
|Date of Death||April 5th, 2023|
|In Memoriam Donation||Rescue Mission of El Paso|
|In Memoriam Donation||St. Jude Children's Research Hospital|
|Other||Keeper Virtual Memorial Events|
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