Mary Ivanco Leskova Lesko 1915-2011
Our beloved Mother and Grandmother, Mary Ivanco Leskova Lesko, passed away, Saturday, June 18, 2011. We will miss her dearly and we wanted to share with you her amazing journey. Mary was born in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, February 4, 1915. Daughter of immigrants from Czechoslovakia, at the age of seven her parents and two brothers and one sister decided to travel back to Czechoslovakia to take care of ailing grandparents. She grew up in Cicava and at age 19 married our Dad, George Leskova from Banske. These were arranged marriages at the time. A year later son Emil was born. In 1938, as World War II was looming and living conditions very poor in Czechoslovakia, Mary and George decided that she being a citizen of the U.S. would travel back to the U.S. in order to bring George and Emil over as well. Travelling alone on the Hamburg ship lines and very ill from sea sickness, Mary joined the many immigrants arriving at Ellis Island, NY and then rode by train to Braddock, Pennsylvania. There she met Mr. Hritz, her contact, having only a picture of him in her pocket. Mr. Hritz would find her room and board working as a maid earning $3 a day until she saved enough money for George and Emil’s passage to the U.S. Eventually settling in Swissvale, Pennsylvania, son Michael and daughter Anna were born. Mary then worked as a waitress in the Schenley Hotel in Pittsburgh and George in the Duquesne Steel Mills and were very active in the Greek Catholic Church. Mary enjoyed baking Slovakian pastries kolachis, nut rolls, lady locks and cooking ethnic dishes halushki and piroughis for weddings, bake sales and family and friends. She and George loved to attend wrestling matches in Pittsburgh and loved to dance the ethnic dances of Slovakia. In 1980, Mary and George moved to Brea, California to be closer to their children and lived there until 2005. Mary then moved to San Juan Capistrano where she lived with Anna and Ross until her death. She loved attending Mission Basilica San Juan Capistrano and joining in holiday celebrations with her neighbors and friends on Paseo Lomita.
We hope you enjoyed reading our Mother and Grandmother’s journey as we say goodbye to her today to join her husband, George and son Michael in heaven. We love you and will miss you, Mom & Grandma.
Your daughter Anna & son-in-law Ross; son Emil & daughter-in-law Liz
Six grandchildren: Michael & Kathy, Denise, Chris & Tina-Marie, Steve & Sonja, Jackie & Brad, and Teri
and five great-grandchildren: Dylan, Cheyenne, Jordan, Ashley and Luca