GREENVILLE, Pennsylvania (MyValleyTributes) – Heaven gained a truly generous and caring lady on Tuesday morning, March 24, 2020 when she left St Paul’s Senior Living Community for the final time.
Her life story began on the fourth of July, 1925, in Greenville, Pennsylvania, daughter of Earl R. Smith and Goldie M. (Osborne) Smith.
Leora excelled at Penn High School, Class of 1943, a member of National Honor Society and Chief Typist of the School Paper, Penn Hi Points. Graduate of Shenango Valley Commercial Institute in Sharon, Pennsylvania, 1944, she proved a local girl can win big. Her shorthand entry in the Stenographer Division for 1956 won THIRD PLACE as noted in Today’s Secretary Magazine, competing against approximately 20,000 International entries in the contest of Gregg Shorthand. For 60 years she had two pen pals, also winners.
Her shorthand and secretarial skills served her well from 1944-1986 while employed at Greenville Steel Car Company, as personal secretary for several in top management. She walked from her Columbia Avenue home (of 90 years) to work and back every day.
An active member of First United Methodist Church, Greenville, she shared her talents for many years as pianist for Sunday School and assistant organist and Choir accompanist at FUMC. Leora was in demand as organist for weddings at local churches and continued in later years as pianist for Lenten Lunches at FUMC.
She was a member of Orpheus Club until its cessation.
She passed on her love of music by paying for (and many times providing transportation to) piano lessons for her niece, Cherie G. (Harriger) Jones with Clair Willaman, Greenville.
For nearly 30 years she sponsored dozens of children around the world in Christian Children’s Fund, saving every letter and picture that was sent to her by those children. She loved to sew and iron and enjoyed hanging clothes outside her porch surrounded by pretty flowering bushes.
Her true love was vacationing and dozens of bus trips on OD ANDERSON Bus Tours brought great joy into her life. Chautauqua, New York, was her absolute favorite destination. She shared Chautauqua with her nieces, Brenda (Harriger) Patterson and Cherie, for a week every summer from the time they were eight years old. Her love of music, flowers, theater, church and shopping overflowed in this amazing place. The lives of her young nieces were greatly and forever changed by these Chautauqua excursions.
She found great joy in dropping off grocery items unexpectedly to her neighbors or anyone that she thought might be able to use a loaf of fresh bread or a box of cookies to brighten their day. It was a great excuse to go shopping. For 25 years, she visited her sister, Erla Harriger, now deceased, daily taking along a surprise package of grocery items, just because she wanted to do it and have an excuse to sit and visit for awhile, generally not even taking off her coat. Several days a week she could be found depositing grocery necessities in Brenda’s car while she was at work. Her generosity expanded her opportunities for friendships that she otherwise might not have enjoyed after her retirement. She sent a monthly donation to Strayhaven Pet Shelter for many years and we ask those who would like to give a memorial in Leora’s memory, please send a donation of any amount. Leora always had at least one cat and many years a spoiled bunny in a cage in her back yard.
Predeceased by her parents, her favorite aunt, Addie (Roy) Seeley and her sister, Erla, she found great enjoyment and comfort in her surviving nieces, Cherie G, Jones (husband, Andrew Hohol III ) of Meadville and Brenda Patterson (husband, Dan Patterson) of Stoneboro. Brenda was her caretaker for a dozen years in so many ways, before and after she moved to St. Paul’s. Three great-nephews and their families, Kenton and Carley Patterson, Kory and BJ Patterson and Kyle and Jenny Patterson, survive.
Many nurses and caretakers at St. Paul’s were so kind to her during her five years and we are grateful. She loved the social life, church services, music events, resident pets and her beautiful room over here, plus the special dining room meals where she continued to ‘drive’ her own wheel chair up to her final day. Until that day, Leora insisted on wearing pretty dresses, stylish slippers, jewelry and her hair well coiffed.
There will be private services on Friday, March 27, at 1:00 p.m. at Osborne-Williams Funeral Home and Cremation Services, Inc., 73 Columbia Avenue, Greenville, Pennsylvania. Pastor Bill Kirker, of St Paul’s Ministry, will preside.
She will rest beside her dad in Greenville Cemetery.
Arrangements handled by Osborne-Williams Funeral Home. A memory or note to the family can be left at www.osborne-williams.com.
Memorial Tributes in Leora’s name can be made to the non-profit, no-kill Strayhaven Animal Shelter, 94 Donation Road, Greenville, PA 16125 or call to see what they can use during this difficult time.
To plant a beautiful memorial tree in memory of Leora Grace Smith, please visit our Tribute Store.