Anita Simoncelli Lesho, 86, Blakely, died peacefully at home on Monday evening in the company of her loving family. Her beloved husband of 55 years, George J. Lesho, passed away on Feb. 8, 2017.
Anita was the second of three daughters born to the late Mariano and Margaret Gabriel Simoncelli. She was born and raised in Jessup and graduated from Jessup High School and Lackawanna Business College. Anita was born with a gift for numbers and a mind for business. She began her career at the First National Bank of Olyphant in the early 1950s, where she advanced to the positions of cashier and chief operations officer over the course of a 25 plus year career. When it became clear that her gender would prevent her advancement to an appropriate senior executive position, she moved to the First National Bank of Peckville (later PNC Bank), where she enjoyed a 20 plus year career as a vice president. Anita’s strong work ethic and friendly demeanor endeared her to her professional colleagues and to her customers. She was an inspiration to her nieces and nephews and served as a mentor and role model for countless women in the local banking profession. Her customers and clients were always her primary focus, and she gave selflessly of her time to guide and advance many careers.
Anita and George devoted their lives to their family. They served as surrogate parents to many nieces, nephews, cousins and friends. They were most comfortable when surrounded by family at their Blakely home and their Chapman Lake cottage. Anita and George taught family and friends the finer points of water skiing at Chapman Lake and groomed a generation of skiers at Elk Mountain (where she and George were season pass holders from 1959 through 2001). They were devoted Penn State Football fans and faithfully followed the team and Joe Pa from Happy Valley to rivalry games across the nation, including bowl games in Florida, New Orleans, Arizona and California.
Anita was a near-lifelong member of St. Mary’s Assumption Church in Jessup and later transitioned to active membership at Sacred Heart Church in Peckville. Her religious devotion was reflected in her extreme generosity and kindness to her family and friends.
Anita was also preceded in death by her parents, by her brothers-in-law, William, Joseph and Michael Lesho, and by her sister-in-law, Josephine “Tracy” Lesho.
She is survived by her sisters, Rose Marie Kelly and Alice L. Vanston; her brothers-in-law, Robert T. Kelly and John J. Vanston; her nieces and nephews (and their respective spouses), Timothy P. Kelly, Sr. (Vivian), Mary Lou Kelly, Patricia Kelly-Holmes (Patrick), Robert T. Kelly Jr. (Margi), John J. Vanston Jr. (Teri), Mark T. Vanston (Pauline), Mary Lynn A. O’Bell (Vincent), Jeffrey L. Vanston (Jaculin), William J. Lesho Jr., Thomas J. Lesho and Joseph R. Kranick (Lola); 16 great-nieces and great-nephews; two great-great-nephews; numerous cousins (including Christine Simoncelli Kubic, a devoted and indefatigable member of Anita’s caregiver team); and countless friends.
Anita’s family would like to extend their sincere thanks to her longtime physicians, Dr. Thomas M. Roe and Dr. Mary Ann McDonald, to her dedicated team of home caregivers (Sharon, Tessa, Tammy and Maureen) and to Barbara and her colleagues at the Allied Services In-Home Hospice Program. They afforded Anita the rare opportunity to spend her final two weeks at home in a dignified, caring and loving environment.
The funeral will be held on Thursday, Aug. 2, with Mass at 10 a.m. at Sacred Heart Church in Peckville. Entombment will follow at St. Mary’s Visitation Cemetery, Dickson City. Friends and family may call at the church on Thursday morning from 8 a.m. until 10 a.m.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to St. Josephs Center Foundation, 2300 Adams Ave., Scranton, PA 18509 or to the George and Anita Lesho Penn State Worthington Scholarship Fund, 120 Ridge View Drive, Dunmore, PA 18512.
For online condolences, go to www.margottafuneralhomes.com.