Louise Marie “Bucky” Leone died peacefully at home on Sept. 2, 2021, at the age of 98.
She was the third of 11 children born to Steve and Mary Sferra. From a young age, she took education very seriously and started the family tradition of attending Ursuline High School when, at the start of freshman year, she simply showed up without consulting her parents.
After graduating high school in 1941 as a member of the National Honor Society, Louise completed Youngstown State University's 2-year secretarial program in one year. The following year, she started working at Carnegie Steel, the predecessor to U.S. Steel; she retired (for the first time) as chief stenographer after 13 years.
Louise met her sweetheart Ray Leone at a square dance at St. Ann Church in 1950. They married in 1954 and had six children. Louise and Ray happily shared their busy home on Catherine Street with Ray’s parents, Josephine and Carmen Leone, his Aunt Lena Vitullo and a revolving door of family, friends, neighbors and pets. To departing children and grandchildren, she always said, “I’ll see you in the funny papers.”
Louise’s mother-in-law Josephine was a consummate homemaker, so she didn’t need to do much cooking when her kids were young. But what she did around the house, she did with a trademark precision. From slicing eggplant to peeling garlic to folding clothes, you could always spot her handiwork.
A stickler for school attendance, Louise instilled the fear of the truant officer in her six children, 14 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. Once her children were all in school, Louise returned to work in 1970 as a highly regarded executive secretary at YSU until 1994 so her six kids could attend college.
For her children, she parlayed her typing skills and office equipment access to ensure they submitted their academic papers on time. For her grandchildren, she expertly covered each school book using brown paper grocery bags. For everyone, she completed income tax documents with an unerring attention to detail and singularly elegant penmanship.
In a family of worriers, Louise wasn’t “too-too” about dwelling on the negative. Life tended to amuse her and she never stopped sharing that joy. Until the end, she could leave you in stitches with the raise of an eyebrow and a joke that was at the same time subtle, knowing and quick. She giggled at silly things, and the best review she would give an event or a memory was, “We laughed so hard.” She could even find the humor in life’s bleakest moments. As the decades stacked up, she'd refer to her inevitable passing as "going on vacation."
Her easygoing nature was owed in part to her faith in God. A devout Catholic, Louise was an active parishioner at St. Edward Church her entire adult life. She was a eucharistic minister, lecter and used her shorthand skills to take the minutes at most church meetings.
She was preceded in death by her beloved and doting husband Ray, who died on March 30. After more than 67 years together, the pair only spent five months apart and reunited just in time for Ray’s birthday on Sept. 3. Their family finds peace in knowing they’re together again.
Louise was also preceded in death by her parents and siblings John, Marge, Joe, Jim, Bob, Ed and Mary and by her son Dom, who died of cancer in 1989 at the age of 29. The family kept Dom’s creative spirit alive by sponsoring the Dom Leone Writing Competition, which has encouraged young writers in the Mahoning Valley since 1991.
Louise will be dearly missed by her siblings Rosie, Virginia and Bill and her husband's siblings Rita Finelli and Carmen (Donna) Leone; children Rose (Bob) Casal, Raym, Mary Jo, Joe (Mike) and Jim (Denise); grandchildren Nikki (Jason) Moore, Jackie (Alex) Mahrou, Elliott (Alba), Leigh, Megan (Corbin) Hardy, Lena, Joey, Rosie, Jessie, Charlotte Louise, Dominic, Christina, Amanda and Jimmy; and great-grandchildren Nina Louise, Charlie and Vinny. Her wonderful company was also treasured by countless nieces, nephews and friends.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be Monday, Sept. 6, 2021 at 12 p.m. at St. Edward Church. Family and friends may call from 10 to 11:45 a.m. The family requests anyone coming to church to please wear a mask.
If you wish to honor Louise’s memory, please make a donation in her name to St. Edward Parish, 240 Tod Lane, Youngstown, OH 44504.
Thoughts and condolences may be sent to the funeral home website www.mccauleyfuneral.com
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