BOARDMAN, Ohio (MyValleyTributes) – Virginia J. “Ginny” Reto, 93, died peacefully on Wednesday, November 1, 2023, at Hospice of the Valley after a short illness.
She was born August 6, 1930, in Youngstown, Ohio, to Pasquale “Patsy” and Margaret (Melillo) Martella and grew up on the east side of town.
As a young girl she was quick to learn Italian, the primary language of her immigrant parents, as well as how to prepare many of Italy’s classic culinary dishes, including homemade cavatelli and meatballs.
A 1948 graduate of East High School, she went on to Youngstown Business College.
She landed her first job at Otis Elevator. She also worked as a secretary at Bell and Howell and at Physicians Peer Review Association. Virginia retired after many years from Youngstown Hospital Association, where she was executive secretary to the Vice President of Medical Affairs.
She married Thomas F. Reto on April 7, 1951 and together they raised five children. During their marriage, they enjoyed snow skiing and taking family trips to a fishing lodge in Loring, Canada and to Cook Forest, Pennsylvania, where they owned a small cabin. She was a longtime member of a garden club and in recent years, a women’s card club.
Virginia was affectionately dubbed “G.G.” (short for Grandma Ginny) by her first-born granddaughters who, from the time they could talk, insisted that she didn’t look like a grandma because she didn’t have curly gray hair. That nickname stuck and for more than 30 years, friends and family members alike referred to her simply as G.G.
She was proud to carry on her rich Italian heritage over the years. Christmas Eve gatherings were a cherished family tradition – always a “meatless” meal consisting of calamari, fried smelts and pasta al pomodoro. She was also the premier pizzelle maker, a time-consuming activity she also shared with her grandchildren as the kitchen filled with the aroma of anise. Following her retirement, G.G. also became an exercise enthusiast. She worked out regularly at Curves, then when it closed achieved her 10,000 steps a day quota by walking in the neighborhood or at the Southern Park Mall with her longtime friend and former neighbor, Cathy Duko. “Keep moving or you become a target,” she would always say.
For many years, G.G. served on the East High School Hall of Fame Committee. She was treasurer of the volunteer group, which planned the annual Hall of Fame induction banquet for alumni. On more than one occasion, she also had the opportunity to visit Italy – and was thrilled to meet cousins there who still lived in her parents’ hometown.
She is survived by a daughter, Rhonda L. (Kenneth) Davis of Galion, Ohio; a son, Robert M. (Joyce) Reto of Decatur, Georgia; her grandchildren; a special nephew, John M. Eorio of Boardman and many other nieces and nephews.
In addition to her former husband and parents, she was preceded in death by three children and on October 20, 2023, her only sibling, Dolores “Dee” Eorio.
Funeral services will be on Friday, November 10, 2023, at 1:00 p.m. at Rossi Bros. & Lellio Funeral Home, 4442 South Avenue in Boardman, Ohio, where calling hours will be held from 11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Burial will follow in Lake Park Cemetery, Youngstown, Ohio.
Her family wishes to sincerely thank the staff of Cornerstone Caregiving, especially Janine Sumner, for their compassionate care during the last year.
Family and friends are encouraged to offer prayers for the family and support via phone call, text, email or may visit the Book of Memories at www.rossifunerals.com.
A television tribute will air Tuesday, November 7 at the following approximate times: 5:17 a.m. on WKBN, 8:39 a.m. on FOX, 5:21 p.m. on WYTV and 6:35 p.m. on MyYTV. Video will be posted here the day of airing.