Theresa “Terry” O’Haco, 92, peacefully passed away Sunday evening April 19, 2015, surrounded by her family. Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated April 24 at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Winslow.
She was born Theresa Margaret Savinsky on Oct. 19, 1923, at West Point Military Academy in upstate New York. Her parents were both immigrants. Her father Daniel came from Hungary and was of Czechoslovakian descent, while her mother Katherine came from County Cork, Ireland. She had two sisters, Jo and Fran. She grew up in a lush, beautiful town called Highland Falls, next to the military academy, with the lovely Hudson River running on the edge of town. She graduated from high school, then attended nursing school at Lennox Hill Hospital in New York City.
After receiving her R.N., it was now 1944 and World War II was raging. Terry felt her patriotic call to join the Army Nurse Corps. She said she felt a strong need to help the many wounded soldiers coming home from the war. After she completed basic training as a neuro-psychiatric nurse, she was transferred to De Witt General Hospital in Auburn, Calif., where she was head nurse in a paraplegic ward of 60 men. One day a new soldier was transferred to her ward by the name of Capt. Mike O’Haco. Later she told her children the first thing she noticed about their father was his extremely long eyelashes, not to mention his movie star handsome face. His record showed he had been a great athlete, a cavalry officer thrown into the infantry, who served five years on the front lines all through Africa and then all through Europe only to be horribly injured at the Battle of Nuremberg trying to save his commanding officer. He was shot twice in the spine by a sniper, paralyzing him from the waist down.
Lt. Terry Savinsky was bound and determined to get this fallen hero on his feet. A miracle did happen. Through the grace of God and her love of this man he slowly, but surely began to walk again. He was the only man on the whole floor of 60 men who walked out of there on his own two feet; that says something about Terry. Mike always said it was because of Terry that he walked again.
She had never been on a ranch or seen his part of the world, but she bravely married Mike and took the train from Grand Central Station in New York City to the little dusty railroad station in Winslow, Ariz., from the plush greenery of upstate New York to the barren plains of Northern Arizona. This brave woman made this incredible journey into a new world, never once complaining about missing her life on the East Coast. She adapted into her new role as ranch wife. Needless to say this was not an easy life to choose, perhaps one of the hardest, but she always found it fascinating.
Terry had such a huge heart full of love and strength of character like stainless steel.
She had eight children, four boys and four girls. She brought them up to love God, love this country and love your family. Through thick and thin, rain and drought, Terry held this ranch family together. Because of her tenacity, the state capitol said the O’Haco Ranch was the oldest family owned ranch in the state of Arizona, and that’s saying something!
They just don’t make them like Terry any more. She was tough as nails with the voice of an angel. All who knew Terry salute and bid her farewell. Job well done.
Survivors include her eight children, Michael (Linda), Jim (Jeanne), Kathie, Dan (Deb), Jeff (Jay), Karen, Tess (Cody) and Kim (Troy); nine grandchildren, Jessica (Mario), Mica (Rob), Mariah, Alexandra, Steve, Katie, Amanda, Jot and Michael; and 12 great-grandchildren, Alicia, Mari, Amatiel, Ray J, Araceli, Guiliano, Ryan, Jude, Fynn, Jimmy, Luke and Chandler.
In lieu of flowers, please make donations in Theresa’s name to NAHCA (National Association of Health Care Assistants), Winslow Chapter, 826 W. Desmond
Winslow, Ariz. 86047, the Arizona Cattle Growers Association, 1401 N. 24th St., Suite 4, Phoenix, Ariz. 85008, or the Winslow Humane Shelter, 548 Barrigan Road, Winslow, Ariz. 86047.
Greer’s Mortuary of Winslow was in charge of the arrangements.