Passed Away On: 2017-05-20 00:00:00
Lena Tuso Lewis passed away on May 20, 2017. She was 92 years old.
She was predeceased by her husband Perry N. Lewis, daughter Sharon Lewis Robbin, grandson Daniel Lewis Ellenberger, brother Fred Tuso, and brother-in-law Bob Vaccarezza.
She is survived by two sons, one daughter, one daughter-in-law, and two sons-in-law: Randy and Terry Lewis of King City, Richard Lewis of San Jose and Joan and Don Ellenberger of Baltimore, Maryland. She is also survived by her grandchildren and their spouses: Jason Robbin and Janie Zerface of Nashville, TN, Amber Robbin and Spence Gordon of Castro Valley, Hallie and Cody Hunt of Pinole, Caitlin Soto of Salinas, Nathan and Erica Ellenberger of Hartsdale, NY, and Gabriel Ellenberger of Baltimore, MD. She was a great-grandmother to Sara Soto, John Hunt, Rhys Ellenberger, and Landon Ellenberger. Additionally, Lena is survived by her sister Chelsea Vaccarezza of Sonoma and sister-in-law Geri Tuso of San Jose.
Mrs. Lewis was born on September 2, 1924 in San Juan Bautista. Shortly thereafter the family moved to Hollister where she lived until 2013. She was recently a resident at Madonna Manor in Salinas.
Lena was a life-long member of Sacred Heart Church and St. Benedict’s Church. She joined the choir at the age of 14 and continued singing with them until her move to Salinas in 2011, nearly 63 years! She participated in many church activities which included volunteering in the church office. She belonged to the Young Ladies’ Institute and was a past president.
She attended Hollister High School and received an AA degree from San Benito Community College. During World War II she worked in the shipyards in San Francisco. While living there she attended many Italian American Club activities. At the end of the war she met her future husband, Marine Corporal Perry Lewis, at one of their dances. They were married for almost 54 years before Perry pre-deceased Lena in 2000.
After their marriage, Lena and Perry settled in Hollister where they worked and raised their family. Their mutual passion was their children and grandchildren with whom they spent as much time as possible. They loved camping at Big Sur and Lake Tahoe, as well as family trips to visit relatives in Wyoming and Tennessee and Virginia. They also traveled to Slovakia in Eastern Europe to visit their daughter, son-in-law, and grandchildren, and then went on to see Austria, Hungary and Northern Italy where they visited Lena’s relatives.
Lena worked in the canneries for many years until she took a position with San Benito Joint Union High School as a teaching assistant in the typing department. During her 18 year tenure, she and the teacher, Ed Poole, taught just about every student in the high school how to type. When Lena started, the students were taught on manual typewriters but as time passed she was part of the team to introduce the new cutting-edge electric typewriters to the students! Upon retirement Lena continued to be an active member in Hollister’s community by volunteering at Hazel Hawkins Hospital, with Hospice, at the nursing home, and at the Sacred Heart Church office. As a member of YLI, Lena organized and participated in many charitable events. In her prime, Lena volunteered four or five days a week.
Lena lived a wonderful, fulfilling life. She will be remembered by family and friends as a generous, loving woman. Her family mourns her passing; we are so very grateful for her devotion to us, to her husband, and to her community.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to the St. Benedict's Building Fund, Sacred Heart and St. Benedict Parish, 680 College Street, Hollister, CA 95023, or the Central Coast VNA and Hospice, 341 Tres Pinos Road, Suite 103, Hollister, CA 95023 be made in Lena's name. Anyone wishing to send notes to the family can do so by sending them to her son Randy Lewis, 52870 Pine Canyon Road, King City, CA 93930.
Visitation will be held on Friday, May 26th at Grunnagle-Ament-Nelson Funeral Home from 08:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. Family and friends will then proceed to Sacred Heart Church for a Mass of the Resurrection. Burial will follow at Calvary Cemetery.