Shirley (Dietz) Gazda

February 24, 1925 ~ August 5, 2019 (age 94)



Shirley (Dietz) Gazda
Beloved wife, mother, grandmother, sister, friend

Shirley (Dietz) Gazda passed away peacefully on August 5, 2019, at age 94, at Villa Crest Nursing and Retirement Center in Manchester, NH.  

She was born February 24, 1925 in Methuen, MA, to Frank Dietz and Bessie (Nye) Dietz. She and her siblings - Florence, Daniel, Ilene, Beverly, Pauline, and Barbara - moved to Auburn, NH, and then to Manchester. Shirley loved spending time with her grandmother, Grammy Nye, in Salisbury, NH, where they would tend the flower gardens and can their fresh vegetable harvests.

Shirley married Joseph “Gus” Gazda on September 16, 1950, at St. Joseph’s Cathedral in Manchester, NH. They celebrated the birth of their daughter, Lynne Marie, on February 13, 1952.

The things that brought Shirley joy were dancing, music, traveling, gardening and tending her flower beds, experimenting in the kitchen, working in retail, and meeting new people. She loved teaching her grandchildren how to jitterbug and would sometimes pull them up at parties to dance - including at weddings, where she always had a spare pair of dancing shoes.

Shirley was active in her community all throughout her life, with committed roles in the American Legion Post 79; VFW Post 744; AARP 4101 Manchester; Ladies’ Guild at Blessed Sacrament Parish; Officers’ Wives Club of the NH Army National Guard in Manchester; and the Pulaski Day Committee. 

She found great joy in her grandchildren and especially her four great-grandchildren. She liked reading books to them, and loved keeping up with all their energy.

Shirley is survived by her daughter Lynne (Gazda) Brecknock and son-in-law Bob Brecknock; sisters Ilene (Dietz) Hoitt and Barbara (Dietz) Moore; granddaughter Sarah Brecknock and great-grandchildren Miles and Maddox Messier; granddaughter Audrey (Brecknock) Bourque, grandson-in-law Justin Bourque, and great-grandchildren Austin and Evelyn Bourque; grandson Paul Brecknock and Julia Cassidy; as well as many nieces, nephews, and beloved family members and friends.

The family would like to thank the kind and dedicated staff members of Villa Crest Nursing and Retirement Center, where Shirley spent her last several months. And, we are grateful for the hospice care she received from the Visiting Nurse Association of Manchester and Southern New Hampshire, which brought Shirley such comfort in her final days. 

Family and friends are welcome at calling hours on Friday, August 9, from 8:00-9:30 a.m. at Goodwin Funeral Home (607 Chestnut Street). The funeral mass will be held at 10:00 a.m. at Blessed Sacrament Parish (14 Elm Street), and Shirley will be laid to rest next to her beloved Gussy in Pine Grove Cemetery in Manchester immediately following mass. 

If you have photos of Shirley you would like to add to our slideshow, kindly contact Audrey Bourque at

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests a donation to St. Anthony’s Food Pantry at Blessed Sacrament Parish, whose work to support community members in need was close to Shirley’s heart.

Funeral Home
Goodwin Funeral Home & Cremation Services
607 Chestnut St, Manchester, NH 03104

Goodwin Funeral Home & Cremation Services
607 Chestnut St, Manchester, NH 03104

Blessed Sacrament Parish
14 Elm St, Manchester, NH 03103

Pine Grove Cemetary
765 Brown Ave, Manchester, NH 03103

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