Westfield-Lillian (Merlina) DeLeo, born April 8, 1926, in W. Rutland, VT, to Italian immigrants, Maria and Domenico Merlina. She was the youngest of 5 children. The family moved from W. Rutland to Brooklyn, NY, where Lillian attended school. She was an academic, early achiever and was fast tracked ahead of her class a grade and graduated from Franklin K. Lane High School, Brooklyn, NY, in 1942 at the age of 16. She was the recipient of the Sally H. Rudman Memorial Award for Secretarial Studies. Upon graduating, she started working as an executive secretary in New York City for the Vice President of General Electric. She met her husband, Joseph Deleo, and they married on September 4, 1954. They moved to Connecticut to raise their growing family and then again to Westfield, MA. Lil worked as head secretary and paralegal for all probate and real estate cases at the law firm of Deleo, Angel, Palmer, and Zenkert. She was a member of the Woman's Club; was on the Boys' and Girls' Club fund raising committee for 2 years running Bingos. She volunteered for charitable fund raising events like Toys for Tots and helped with Kiwanis non-profit endeavors. She also supported Joe's campaign and office as a Westfield City Councilman. Lil liked to golf and was a member of the Blandford Golf Club. She especially liked to play tennis. Not a swimmer, Lil could still be found on Joe's many boating vessels as his first mate sailing weekends on Otis Reservoir, off the shores of Connecticut and Rhodes Island and a 7- day, charted course off the coast of Maine. Lil enjoyed dabbling in different languages and could be heard speaking snippets of French, Italian and every once and a while playfully putting on an English accent. She was the heart of her family and leaves her 3 children: her daughter Patricia and her husband, Willard Kopatz, Jr., her sons David Deleo, and Douglas Deleo and his wife, Eva; her 4 grandchildren: Meagan Vogas, Cara and Bill Kopatz and Isabella Deleo; and her 2 great grandchildren, Layne and Liam Vogas. She was an excellent cook, enjoyed flowers and gardening, dancing, singing, listening to piano, classical and opera music. She was a fan of Shirley Temple; Abbott and Lou Costello, and will always remain a die-hard, New York Yankees fan. The funeral will be held on Monday, December 30th at 10 am in Our Lady of the Lake Church, 224 Sheep Pasture Road, Southwick, MA. Burial will follow in Pine Hill Cemetery, Westfield. Donations may be made to Clark School for Hearing and Speech, 45 Round Hill Road, Northampton, MA 01060 or to the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Westfield, 28 West Silver Street, Westfield, MA 01085. Firtionadams.com
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