Patricia A. Leone (nee Sheperis), a retired secretary from the City of Rahway and adventurer, died peacefully on July 6, 2018 at Hunterdon Medical Center, Raritan Township, NJ after a short illness with lung cancer. She was 76.
The former Patricia Ann Sheperis was born in Clark, NJ, on August 27, 1941 and was raised on Raritan Road. She was the daughter of the late Charles X. Sheperis, Carpenter, and Anna Sheperis (nee Bondonus), a Silk Winder.
She was a 1959 graduate of Arthur L. Johnson High School and attended Parsons School of Design in New York City, NY.
In 1961 while in school, she met and fell in love with Martin J. Leone, who was a self-employed mason and contractor. They married after a two-month courtship and moved to Rahway. The couple raised three wonderful children before divorcing in 1998.
Growing up in an era when women were expected to marry, have children and put their husbands needs in front of their own, Pat had an unwavering love for her family and raised independent children, encouraging them to reach high and not to be afraid to try anything.
She was president of the PTA, a member of the NOW movement advocating for equal partnership, and a member of the International Women’s Club, a social and fundraising non-profit located in Cancun, Mexico.
Pat enjoyed spending time among the white sand beaches, beautiful turquoise water, and the warm and welcoming culture of Cancun. It’s a melting pot of many nationalities and she had friends from many countries around the world; she even managed to learn Spanish (suficiente) to enjoy an active and rich social life while there.
Having a curious mind, she was always up on current events, well read and appreciated the historical events that she lived through. Shortly after her birth was the end of WWII, around her 18th birthday, Hawaii became the 50th state and color TV was invented, at 27 she saw a man land on the moon and experienced the Beatlemania craze, at 32 years of age came test-tube babies, Billie Jean King defeated Bobbie Riggs, and everyone was was riveted to the TV watching Watergate, at 36 she purchased a TRS-80 Computer System and learned DOS, at 48 saw the fall of the Berlin Wall, at 60 the tragic events of 9/11 shook the world, and over the next 10 years humankind reached the outer solar system there would be Facebook, the IPhone, the first female speaker of the House of Representatives, and the 2016 presidential election.
You always knew that Pat would have a fresh cup of coffee in hand, and occasionally she liked her Don Julio Real Tequila, or an iced cold beer. Pat had a lifelong love affair with Good & Plenty and Jeopardy. No Valentines box was ever safe from her curious fingers. She had a reputation for sampling all of the chocolate’s in a Valentine. The one’s she didn’t like she put back – she never liked those fruit crèmes.
She was a great cook; growing up, she made meals from scratch and the family table was very important, especially during the holidays. At a very young age her children learned the true value of, ‘family time”.
She would spend hours in the grocery stores cruising the isles. It was a challenge to shop with her because as soon as you stopped to look at something, she would disappear before reappearing a half-hour later.
She loved garage sales – someone’s junk is another person’s treasure! She was crafty and could transform any piece of furniture into a beautiful new designer piece. Driving to her sister’s home in PA was no more than an 1 ½ hour drive, although the trip usually averaged 4 hours because Pat was constantly stopped on the quest for the latest treasure.
Pat was always up for fun – going for a coffee on the back of Charlie’s motorcycle or jet sking with the grandkids, she was always game!
She was a formidable backgammon and scrabble player which her son, Marty, can attest to. She liked to dance and had a clever sense of humor. She loved to debate politics and laugh with family and friends. She always was proud of her children and profoundly appreciative of their loving care.
To sum up this wonderful person in words is a difficult task, so simply put, she lived life to the fullest and on her own terms. Her favorite flower was the gardenia. When you see one, think of her and smile.
Pat was preceded in death by her sisters, Joanne Smith of Exeter, PA and Ann Seals of Flemington, NJ.
Surviving are her children, Patricia Leone of New Hope, PA, Charles Leone of Brick, NJ, and Martin V. Leone of Ewing, NJ; her two grandchildren, Heather and Charlie Leone; her daughters-in-law, Rhonda Leone, Vicky Leone and Sonia Leone; her special cousins, James Kulpa of San Diego, CA, Joseph Kulpa of Bernardsville, NJ, and Carol Koziol of Brick, NJ; her lifelong friends, Dr. Rebeca Malis, Gloria Reyes, Paty Palma, traveling companion Michele Esslinger, Danielle Murray, Scott Balesteri, Mary Commager, Ben Ornelas, Lalo Blount and the Church Group of María Estrella del Mar, all of Cancun, Mexico.
The family will receive friends at Weatherhead Young Funeral Home, 885 Mantoloking Road, Brick, NJ 08723 on Monday, July 16, 2018 from 4:00-8:00 p.m., with a Life Celebration service to be held during that time, which will be announced. Pat lived a remarkable life and the stories should be shared and the tales told. Send stories to be shared at the Life Celebration to: [email protected]
The family is being assisted locally with cremation services by the Care Team of Wright & Ford Family Funeral Home and Cremation Services, 38 State Highway 31, Flemington, NJ. Cremation took place privately at the Chapel of Ewing Crematory, Ewing Township, NJ under the direct supervision of Wright & Ford.
Please visit Pat’s permanent memorial site at www.wrightfamily.com where one can light a candle and leave a message of condolence and words of comfort, as well as share stories and photographs of her life.
Because our pets give us unconditional love and enrich our lives, she would be honored to have donations made in lieu of flowers to St. Hubert’s Animal Welfare Shelter, 575 Woodlawn Avenue, Madison, NJ 07940.
Wright & Ford, your local, family owned and operated “Life Celebration Home”