LEONE---Rhoda M. (Caliri), 95, Windber, passed away suddenly on November 21, 2019, at home in her apartment above her treasured store, Leone’s Market in Windber. Born September 30, 1924, in Kent, Indiana Co. Pa., daughter of Vito and Mary (Serrian) Caliri. Preceded in death by parents; husband Erino “Harry” Leone in 1973, beloved daughter, Rosemarie A. Leone-Bense and brother-in-law, Ernie Zimmerman. Survived by beloved son, Erino O.V. Leone and wife, Marianna (Cwik), Romney, WVA; son-in-law, Raymond Bense, Windber; beloved granddaughters, Victoria L. (Bense) Hiteshew, and husband, Daniel, Windber and Mia F. Leone, Romney, WVA; special great-granddaughter, Olivia R. Hiteshew, Windber; her beloved sisters, the other “Caliri girls,” Mary Jane Zimmerman, Windber and Angeline Smeal and husband, Robert Smeal, Gulfport, FL; nephews, Raymond Zimmerman, Windber and Dr. Brian Smeal and husband, Darren Penrod, Mullica Hill, NJ; great-nieces and nephews, Patty Rae Zimmerman and fiancé, Justin Naylor, Johnstown; and Vincent Smeal, New Jersey. Also survived by the families of her beloved first cousins in Michigan, Ohio and New York and the wonderful close friends who have helped her staff Leone’s Market over the years. Rhoda was very proud to be a 1941 graduate of Windber High School and served faithfully on her class reunion committee for many, many years. She was honored to be chosen to work at Bricker’s Quality Shop in Windber during her high school years. She learned many things from Mrs. Bricker and spoke of that experience often. She also attended Cambria Rowe Business College. On Saturday, December 27, 1941, she married Erino “Harry” and on the following Monday she started working at his family’s store, Leone’s Market in Windber. They worked along side each other there and with other family members. Harry also worked in the Bethlehem Steel car shop, and after his untimely death in 1973, Rhoda became the sole proprietor of the store. In the late 1960’s, she decided, at the urging of her brother-in-law, Ernie to start making submarine sandwiches. Over the years, the sandwiches became more and more popular and gained cult-like status in the area. Sometimes called “Rhoda burgers,” she developed over 15 different varieties of them. She was proud to serve them on freshly baked LaMonaca’s rolls that were made in Windber merely 13 streets away! Leone’s Market has been owned by the Leone family since 1922 and is nearing its 100th anniversary as a family owned and operated establishment. The store was truly Rhoda’s life and her knack for customer service and interaction with people along with her sandwiches are what kept people coming back. Her wish was to live in her apartment above the store and work until she passed away. That wish was fully granted to her. She worked in the store for an astonishing 78 years. Our family and friends and our special customers from near and far will miss her sorely. She was a superior daughter, mother, grandmother, sister, aunt, friend and more. In remembrance of her, we ask that you care for your fellow man….feed someone who is hungry….lift someone up who has faltered…..and encourage the people in your life. That is what she taught us to do. Lifetime member of St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church. The family will receive friends from 3 to 8 p.m. Monday at Meek & Dalla Valle Funeral Home, 1312 Graham Ave., Windber, where Funeral Service will be held at 10 a.m. Tuesday, with Fr. Rod Soha, TOR and Pastor Joe Brown officiating. Private Committal, St. Anthony of Padua Cemetery, Windber. The family suggests memorial contributions to Windber Fire Department, 1620 Somerset Ave., Windber, in memory of Rhoda M. Leone, to assist them in continuing to protect our community and keep its people safe. Thank you to the Windber Fire Dept. and all who helped our Mom and Gram. Your kindness will never be forgotten.
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