Mary Ellen Stilliana Kovalchik, Youngstown, Ohio Obituary
YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (MyValleyTributes) – Mary Ellen Stilliana Kovalchik, 79, of the West Side of Town, died peacefully Thursday afternoon, Feb. 24, 2022, at her home after a year-long illness.
Mary Ellen was born on December 9, 1942 in the Brier Hill neighborhood of Youngstown, the daughter of the late Frank Stilliana and Frances Yaskolka Stilliana and has resided in the area her entire life.
Mary Ellen was baptized at St. Anne’s Catholic Church and attended elementary school there. She played the accordion at school and was hailed as an excellent student. Growing up, all the family members got together on Sunday afternoons for the “famous” Italian Sunday dinner. Mary Ellen enjoyed this very much and has fond memories of these dinners and sharing in family camaraderie over the years. This tradition lasted throughout her childhood, and it was while preparing Sunday dinner that Mary Ellen learned the “secret recipe” for her famous wedding soup.
In 1949, Mary Ellen and her family moved to the New West Quarter. She was a graduate of Chaney High School and graduated with honors in 1960. While raising her two sons, Mary Ellen earned her cosmetology license and worked at several area salons. She eventually followed in her father’s footsteps and opened her own shop in the basement of her home where she continued her services until 2020.
On May 5, 1982, Mary Ellen began a career at the Metropolitan Savings and Loan Company, now First National Bank of Pennsylvania, where she worked as a teller at the Austintown branch. She also worked as an assistant head cashier at the Austintown branch before moving to the main downtown Youngstown branch in 1989, where she worked as a cashier trainer and electronic banking sales representative until her retired in 2006 after 24 years of service as a banking officer. in the service of cash management.
After her retirement, Mary Ellen volunteered at Gateways Industries, a workshop for mentally challenged adults and volunteered as an advocate for many clients of the MRDD program. She joined the Gateways family when her brother Bobby resided there. During this time, Mary Ellen was also an attorney for several people at the Mahoning County Developmental Disabilities Board. Mary Ellen has been part of the Gateways to Better Living family for over 25 years and has served on many committees and served as chair of many committees. She has also served on the Board of Directors and provided invaluable hours of service and leadership to Gateways administrative staff. Mary Ellen also guided the opening and expansion of the Gateways Day Program in Trumbull County. During her tenure as Board Chair, Gateways was selected to participate in the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities project to reduce the size of developmental centers. This project also led to the expansion of Gateways ICF/Residential Programs. Mary Ellen also saw the opening of Gateways second day program, The Gateways Galleria in Niles, and in 2021 was present for the opening of the third location in Boardman and The Village.
Mary Ellen also volunteered with the Mahoning County Board of Elections in general and primary elections for many years.
Mary Ellen was a life member of St. Brendan’s Church. She was a woman who lived her life according to her Christian values by serving her community and serving others. Mary Ellen was a friend, mentor and voice for many people with developmental disabilities and her compassion for others will be remembered for many years to come.
She loved to read, take care of her flowers, attend concerts and the symphony. Above all, she valued her family and her special companion, Molly, her beloved cat.
A devoted mother, grandmother and great-grandmother, Mary Ellen loved her family without boundaries or judgment. She was a woman of strong constitution and was known for her “never give up” and “tell it like it is” attitude. When she focused on a task, no one could slow her down until it was completed to her standards. Mary Ellen was also a superb cook and always liked to make “too much food” for her family during the holidays.
Mary Ellen is survived by her two sons, Kenneth W. (Amy) Kovalchik of Berlin Center and Michael R. “Mick” Kovalchik (fiancée Karen Warner) of Westerville; three granddaughters, Lia (Jeremy) Morales, Karla (Derek) Stephenson and Courtney Kovalchik (Ryan Singerline); three grandsons, Michael (Emily) Kovalchik, Joel (Cheyeene) Kovalchik and Cole Kovalchik; four great-grandchildren, Remy and Ripp Morales, River Ash Kovalchik Singerline and Stella Stephenson; her best friend Cecelia “Cil” Metzger who tirelessly helped the family with the care of Mary Ellen and her loving cat, Molly.
Mary Ellen will be sadly missed by all who knew and loved her.
Mary Ellen was predeceased by her parents, Frank and Frances Yaskolka Stilliana, her brother, Joseph R. “Bobby” Stilliana, and her grandparents, Roman and Augusta Engle Yaskolka and Giuseppe and Teresa Serro Stilliana.
Family and friends can gather to pay their respects from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday, March 2, 2022, at Kinnick Funeral Home 477 N. Meridian Road, Youngstown.
Funeral services will begin at 10:15 a.m. on Thursday, March 3, 2022 at the funeral home and will continue with a Christian burial mass to be celebrated at 11:00 a.m. at St. Brendan’s Church 2800 Oakwood Ave., Youngstown.
Entombment will follow at Calvary Cemetery in Youngstown.
Mary Ellen’s family suggests that memorial contributions be made to Gateways to Better Living 6000 Mahoning Ave., Unit 234 Austintown, 44515.
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