HARRISON, N.Y. -- Lea M. Romanelli, 92, a former longtime resident of Harrison, died Feb. 23.
She was born on Oct. 19, 1924, in San Sosti, Italy, the daughter of Carmelo and Vincenzina Santelli.
At the age of two, she emigrated with her parents to Montreal, Canada, passing through Ellis Island, N.Y. After living through the Great Depression and the hardships of World War II, Lea met and married Hector Romanelli on June 19, 1943, in Montreal.
The family resided on Temple Street in Harrison from 1950 until 2001. Their son, Frank, a 1961 graduate of Harrison High School, was born in Montreal. Their daughter, Linda, a 1966 graduate of Harrison High School, was born in Philadelphia.
Lea and Hector Romanelli emigrated to the United States in 1947 to seek opportunity and a better life.
Lea left an indelible mark of love and caring on everyone who knew her. Her marriage of 45 years to Hector was a testimony of love and loyalty. Lea was a superb Italian cook. Many of her recipes remain in the family but sadly, some have been lost forever.
Lea and Hector were people of faith and believed deeply in the Lord. They taught the virtues of sacrifice, hard work and education. They provided a loving, stable home and ensured both children got a quality education. Nothing made Lea more proud than the accomplishments of her children, and later of her grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Lea led a rich life, was a resident of three countries and fluent in three languages. When she became an American citizen in 1956, it was one of the proudest moments of her life. Lea had a striking and ageless beauty. She dressed superbly and presented herself elegantly. But it was her inner beauty that transcended all.
Lea loved music. She danced, sang and played the mandolin along with Hector who was an accomplished accordianist. She also was a magnificent seamstress and knitter. Oklahoma City was her last home and many Sooner and Thunder fans have scarves knitted by Lea Romanelli.
Lea was preceded in death by her husband, Hector.
She is survived by a brother, Eddy Santelli of Montreal; her children, Frank of Nebo, N.C., and Linda Romanelli of Oklahoma City, Okla.; a daughter-in-law, Cindi Romanelli; and grandchildren, Traci Morena of Brookfield, Conn., Nicole Christensen of Cary, N.C., Autumn Caputi of Oklahoma City and Christopher Romanelli of Fort Worth, Texas. She also is survived by six great-grandchildren, Rylie Caputi, Kyle Christensen, Noah Christensen, Aidan Romanelli, Lexi Romanelli and Reed Romanelli.
One of the people most dear to Lea is her No brother and sister were ever so close or caring of each other as these. Lea leaves an empty space in Eddy’s heart.
A memorial service will be held in Oklahoma City. A second service will be held this summer in Montreal, Canada.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests a donation to Integris Hospice House, 13920 Quailbrook Drive, Oklahoma City, OK 73134.
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