BOARDMAN — Lena “Lee” Houser, 95, of Youngstown, passed away peacefully Saturday, April 25, 2020, at Masternick Memorial Health Care Center in New Middletown.
Lee was born on Dec. 19, 1924, to Alphonso and Maria Mossa Perfetto, who immigrated from Rotello, Italy, a region of Molise. She met, fell in love, and married Robert Houser on Nov. 8, 1951, at St. Patrick Church. Together, they lovingly raised three children rooted in the Catholic faith on Lucius Avenue on Youngstown’s South Side.
Lee grew up on the East Side of Youngstown and attended East High School. She loved to dance and shared many fond memories about her days at the Elms Ballroom and Idora Park. She started working at a young age, first in a bakery, then for Botch Pernotto Photography, and also McKensie Muffler.Yet, most will remember Lee from her years as a dedicated employee of Sears and Roebuck. She began a fulfilling, decades-long career in the 1960s at the Sears Uptown before transferring to the new Southern Park Mall in Boardman. She was often found working in the men’s department, but would help and chat with customers across departments. Lee never thought of her time at Sears as “work” as she truly loved being with her coworkers and customers; she continued working into her 80s, affectionately known as “Mrs. Sears.”
Lee had several interests that she shared with friends and family. She had a passion for golf, spending time on the links in various women’s leagues. She and her husband enjoyed traveling to Florida and the Carolinas to enjoy the sun, but they especially relished trips to Notre Dame to visit the Houser relatives, all ordained members of the Holy Cross. But Lee’s real talent was in the kitchen. Thursdays and Sundays were family pasta and meatball days with “Mom’s sauce.” Her talents also were celebrated and still cherished on Christmas Eve with a traditional Italian feast of seven fishes, homemade pasta, and, of course, homemade wine.
Lee’s vibrant personality is what most will remember about her; others gravitated to her feisty spirit as she danced through life. No matter if she was at the mall, on the golf course, or at her final stop, Masternick Memorial Health Care Center, Lee would dress for the day with her hair and nails done, lipstick on, and hold court — laughing and loving her way through conversation and greeting people.
She leaves to cherish her memory her three children, Gary (Denise) Houser, Debbie (Bill) Walcott and Robin Elmo, all of Boardman. Additionally, Lee will be remembered by her eight grandchildren and their spouses, Kristy (Brian) Seifert, Jim (Shay) Houser, Gina (Paul) Finney, Tricia (Scott) Lenhart, Michael (Jennifer) Walcott, Jessica (Derek) Krauser, Lynsey Elmo and Nicholas Elmo; and 10 great-grandchildren, Eric, Samantha, Brynn, Trey, Case, Ben, Kate, Cody, Kyle and Meadow. She also leaves behind a sister-in-law, Rose Anita Jeswald, and a host of nieces and nephews. Besides her parents, Lee was preceded in death by her sisters, Concetta Ferrara and Theresa Hallahan; her brother, Michael Perfetto; and her loving husband, Bob.
Due to the current situation with COVID-19, a private family service will be held as she is laid to rest with her husband in Resurrection Cemetery. A memorial Mass and celebration of life will be held at a future date.
The family would like to express its deep appreciation to Masternick Memorial Health Care Center for the love and care they have provided to ‘Grandma’ over the past six years. To Casey, Johneen, Jen, Devora, Steve, and the entire North Unit, we are forever grateful.
Memorial contributions can be made to the Alzheimer’s Association Greater East Ohio Area Chapter, 3711 Starr’s Centre Drive, Ste 4, Canfield, Ohio 44406 or Animal Charity, 4140 Market St., Boardman, Ohio 44512.
Professional arrangements are being handled by Higgins-Reardon Funeral Homes, Boardman-Canfield Chapel. This tribute may be viewed and condolences sent to www.higgins-reardon.com.
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