Ingeborg Elisabeth Luciano

July 18, 1931May 25, 2023
Obituary of Ingeborg Elisabeth Luciano
Ingeborg Elisabeth Hofmann Luciano, born on July 18, 1931 in Deitesheim, Germany, passed away on Thursday, May 25, 2023 after a 10-month fight with lymphoma cancer. She lived in a small town with her father and mother, Gustav and Paula Hofmann, and her sister, Hilda. During her childhood, Inge experienced the horrors of World War II in her home country, including the death of her mother at Auschwitz. She immigrated to the United States in 1952 at the age 21. She settled in Torrington Connecticut, following her sister who had immigrated there a few years earlier. At her first job interview in America, Inge was hired by a handsome young man, Fred, who she fell in love with and married. They spent 66 years together, starting a family, building a business and supporting each other in every way until his passing in 2018. Inge was a lover of music, especially classical, and was the first in her neighborhood to have a high-fidelity stereo record player. She was also a voracious reader, reading several books at one time, primarily non-fiction, and loved to share her acquired knowledge of health, history, stock markets, etc. with anyone who would listen. She enjoyed attending concerts, plays, and watching movies, in particular foreign and indie films. Inge’s many skills and talents included art, fashion, cooking, entertaining, teaching and business. As a successful and respected salesperson at Singer Sewing Center of Torrington, she trained many store managers over the years and was discouraged and indignant by the lack of promotional opportunities for women in the sewing field. So, she ventured out and opened her own store, Fashion Sewing, right across the street. Interestingly, because of her honesty, integrity and vibrant personality, most of Inge’s many Singer customers loyally followed her to her new store and the Singer Store closed several years later! With Fred as her partner, and eventually one of her repairmen, she spent years teaching sewing classes, and selling imported fabric from Europe, along with Bernina, Pfaff, Husqvarna, White and even Singer sewing machines, ultimately opening a chain of four stores throughout Connecticut. Her selling skills and success allowed her and Fred to travel the world by winning promotional trips every year. In fact, the Historical Society of Torrington plans to include an exhibit of her impact as one the first female entrepreneurs in the area. She finally retired in 1995 and moved to the Midwest to be closer to her two children, Louise in Michigan and Mark in Ohio. By settling in Kalamazoo and buying their second “snowbird” home in St. Petersburg, Florida, Inge and Fred were able to do what they loved – be with their grandchildren up north, relax by the ocean with her sister’s family and friends in the south, and explore and hike the mountains and wineries with family in Europe. Inge’s love of people and interest in different cultures led her to become involved in several non-profit international organizations in Kalamazoo. She hosted numerous guests from around the world, including educators and craftsmen from Russia, Buddhist monks from Sri Lanka and many more. She welcomed all and made lifelong friends around the world. She was appreciated and admired by friends, both in her condo community at Walden Woods and in her St. Petersburg home, as a frequent hostess, excellent cook and enthusiastic event planner. She was also considered a master at playing games. Inge was an avid Mahjong Club member, the originator of the Walden Woods Rummikub Club (which she founded in her living room) and the regular host of card game get-togethers most every evening in Florida. Inge’s contributions to community will be remembered by the many friends she has made throughout her life. We will all remember Inge’s welcoming arms, warm smile, amazing energy, speed walking, quick wit, generous heart, and, of course, her “bear” hugs. She was always young at heart and an example to all. Inge is preceded in death by her sister, Hilda. Survived by her two children, Louise Potratz (Jerry) and Mark Luciano (Gina); eight grandchildren, Austin (Sara), Cameron (Sara), and Kendall Dingwall (Ross Crawford), Emily Potratz (Tyler Hearst), and Mark, Nicholas, Cadence and Dana Luciano; and five great grandchildren, Marshall and Elton Dingwall, Amelia and Abigail Hearst, and Annie Gehling. She will be deeply missed but forever remembered by those who were fortunate to know and love her. A memorial service for family and friends will be held at a later date, to be announced.

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