Born in Rochester New York on October 21, 1922, Leona "Lee" M. Romashko passed away suddenly on Friday August 3, 2007 at Stanford Hospital. She leaves behind her lifelong friend and companion, Jean Nelson; Nephews James Marshall (Karen), Donald Marshall (Gloria); Niece Tamara Smith (Johnny) and numerous grand and great-grand nieces and nephews. Preceded in death by her sister, Anne "Candy" Marshall.
A member of the Woman's Navy (WAVES) during World War II, she was a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley and a faithful fan of the Golden Bears. She later worked for the VISTA Program in Baltimore, Maryland.
Formally a partner in Bowers Office Center, her true passion was teaching and she taught for many years in San Jose and East Palo Alto. She became well known for the cakes she would bake for her over 900 graduates of the GED Program administered through the Work Incentive (WIN) and later under the Metropolitan Adult Education Program of San Jose.
In 1997, she was recognized by the City of East Palo Alto for her over four years of teaching English as a Second Language for the Families in Transition Program. She spent untold hours volunteering to work on issues affecting the city, especially through her work with the League of Women Voters.
Lee continued to work right up to her death – working with Project Read and privately tutoring students in need.
A lover of the arts, she was a season ticket holder to the San Francisco Opera and the San Francisco Symphony. She loved going to the theater including local performances in Menlo Park. At her request, no services will be held and in lieu of flowers, she asked that contributions be made to charities for the poor and disadvantaged.
Lady Lee / Oscar Bettendorff (Everlasting Friend )
How sad it was for me to learn of Lee's passing. I want to thank Donald Marshall for inercepting my Christmas greeting letter to Lee, otherwise I would be thinking why I did not receive a Christmas greeting from her. Also, I appreciate the opportunit...
To Lee and Family, with love always / Christine Weingart (Cuddeback) (Alice's Granddaughter )
I am so upset to hear of Lee's passing. She was a very artistic, creative woman, with a heart of gold. I can still remember my family's visit to San Francisco and Lee took us to a baseball game and to visit the famous Alcatraz Prison. Def...
A special person / Kim Marshall (Great niece )
Troy and I decided to give our little Mikayla the middle name "Leigh" because we felt that Aunt Lee was such a wonderful role-model. She cared so much about others. She lived an exciting life. She always made you feel...
Finally writing you a letter / Margaret Schmidt (Maslyn) (Goddaughter)
Dear Lee, You sent me stationery so I would write more often and I only used one page & one envelope so I thought I had better write you this letter. I have only really gotten to know you since my mother died in 1995. You were the wind...
You were a very special person to more than you knew / Patricia M. Dallam (Friend for 55 years )
You were my first piano teacher and I remember you since then. I have in front of me a little ceramic bear that you gave me. I kept it because you wrote a poem on a long ribbon around it's neck. I am glad that I showed it to you a few years ago an...
Lee's Final Resting Place Lee was very specific as to her final resting place and, on October 4, 2007, at 10:00 A.M., her remains were scattered into the Pacific Ocean. A fitting burial to someone who so loved the West Coast and who was one of the original members of the WAVES during World War II.
Lee Baby by Jean Thompson Barrick
"Lee Baby" A Tribute to Leona Mary Romashko
"Lee Baby" was a nickname given to Lee Romashko by army friends with whom she worked in Germany at the end of WWII. I don't know where it came from but it caught on and seemed to fit this vivacious lady. I met Lee back in 1947-sixty years ago-when she responded to an ad my housemates and I had placed in the Washington Post. From the moment she moved into our apartment on Park Road in Washington, DC, she added energy, joy and-above all-wit to our household. She quickly became the most popular-except when she flung her naturally curly brown hair around and told our boyfriends, "If you think they're beautiful, you should see them in the morning with hair in curlers and faces covered in cold cream." The furnished apartment we four girls shared left much to be desired, but the rent was low and the location, first class. Lee quickly spearheaded a campaign to upgrade the place and we toiled nights and weekends puttying, sanding, and painting. With Lee in charge, none of us dared to renege on the work commitment. In addition to working fulltime for a group of attorneys, Lee fulfilled her obligation to the WAVES with weekend duty once a month. I learned she had previously worked with Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA), living in a poor area of Baltimore and knocking on doors to offer help with reading. She was never concerned with her own safety, material things or how much money she might make, preferring to use her talent to help the disadvantaged. She and I began talking about moving to California, near her sister Anne, known as "Candy," and my sister Eleanor. So by 1950, we and two others-Helen and Janet-gave up our jobs and moved to San Francisco. Before we left Washington, however, a young army officer named Mac Barrick stopped by to see Lee on his way to California. So I have her to thank for introducing me to the man I would marry three years later Lee flew out to San Francisco first and managed to sub-let a two-bedroom apartment on Telegraph Hill in the Italian section known as North Beach. Although she worked fulltime, first at Shell Oil Co. and later for an attorney, she took college classes at night at UC-SF and later earned a bachelor's degree from UC-Berkeley, where she became an avid "Bears" fan. Although her schedule was grueling, she never shirked her share of the household cooking and cleaning chores. Weekends she would drag me off for a game of tennis at the top of the hill, and always beat me. Where she got all her energy I don't know, but she was always cheerful, encouraging, fun and loved to tease. Although I took off a couple years to work in London, we remained close friends. After Mac and I married and had children, she became "Aunt Lee" and sent the kids books about San Francisco to lure us back. She visited us when we were stationed at Ft. Hood, TX, flying down to Killeen from Dallas in a six-passenger plane. No wonder people stared at her as she boarded the small plane carrying a three-foot-long loaf of San Francisco sourdough bread wrapped in brown paper. She must have reminded them of Lee Harvey Oswald who, not long before, had assassinated President Kennedy in Dallas. After Mac retired and we moved back to the Bay Area, Lee and I picked up just where we'd left off, getting together often with Jean Nelson and other good friends, sharing dinners, visits to museums, and train trips to our favorite city, San Francisco. I worked for her briefly at her busy Bowers Office Center and observed her efficient, friendly manner. We also took longer trips together. In 1989, during the Cold War, we went to Russia with a group of Citizen Diplomats trying to bridge the barriers between the USSR and the USA. Lee's command of the language was extremely helpful. She made friends quickly and kept in touch with many Russians after returning home, sending them gifts as well as money slipped into letters if she sensed a need. For years she collected, packaged and mailed clothing and food to less fortunate relatives in Poland, never allowing her own needs to interfere with this expensive undertaking. On our last long trip together-to China in 1999-she proved again to be a delightful traveling companion. The highlight of her year was the Christmas party she planned for her nieces and nephews. She decorated the tree, purchased and wrapped gifts for everyone, and served a special homemade dinner. The old Russian adage, "Only too much is ever enough," applied to this festive occasion."
When Lee died suddenly on August 3,2007, I knew an important part of my life had ended. No more train trips to The City. No more "telephone cocktail times.". No more joking and sharing lifelong joys and sorrows. Shock turned into grief. However, I now recall conversations we had about our hopes for the end-of-life experience. We agreed that we would like to live to the full and not linger in a wheelchair or coma. My dearest friend Lee lived to the full and was spared long suffering. That has to be the silver lining.
Jean Thompson Barrick (August 2007)
League of Women Voters Obituary LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS OF SOUTH San Mateo County September 2007 Vol.13 No.1 Telephone: (650) 325-5780 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Web: www.lwvssmc.org
LEE ROMASHKO – 1922-2007 The League has lost a long time invaluable member. Lee passed away suddenly August 3rd. She was dedicated to voter and citizen education. She spent many hours working in the office, keeping it well organized. She patiently endured six years of three left-handed presidents, who filed everything backwards, according to Lee. She ordered and distributed the Pros and Cons at election time for many years. She was the first manager of the countywide voter registration contract and also handled the South County portion of the contract until two years ago. She was noted for her hospitality to new League members, often having them to lunch or dinner at her home. If members would like to know more about Lee and submit condolences to her family they can go to the following web site: www.memoryof.com, then search for Lee’s name. At her request there will be no services. PROJECT READ to honor Lee Romashko On Thursday September 6th from 6:30 to 8pm at the Menlo Park Library, Project Read will hold a gathering for all who cared about Lee Romashko who was very active in this program. Project Read is exploring establishing a tutorial scholarship in Lee’s name.
Project Read dedicates Tutor Legacy Award in Lee's Honor (Sept. 2007) On Thursday, September 6, 2007, Project Read (the Menlo Park Literacy Program) dedicated their Tutor Legacy Award in memory of Lee Romashko (see photos in album).
Project Read, begun in 1985, works with people - particularly those new to our country - with learning to read. Lee joined Project Read in 1986 and for 21 years, she taught many to read - as well as assisted in various programs and duties for the organization.
At the programs first Dessert Tasting Fundraiser Don and Gloria Marshall, Jim Marshall, Jean and Mac Barrick, Connie Mitchell and members of Jean and Mac's family were on hand to hear touching stories about Lee's work with the organization and the dedication of the award in Lee's name.
The program appeared to be a great success and for family and friends of Lee, it was wonderful to see Lee remembered by so many who she touched over the years.
Also present was her student of 20 years, Erroll Cooke, and we had a very nice chat with the man who depended on Lee for so much over the years.
From William Byron Webster I look forward to receiving the data for the website where I can inscribe some reflections regarding your late aunt Lee Romashko. She was one of those intrepid spirits who on occasion revive one's faith in the enterprise of the human race despite the corruption of public life that seems to engulf all hope for humanity and the planet itself over the long haul. I have been privileged to know a select handful of such colossi in the course of my life of public service. She was an enduring inspiration who revived my waning faith from time to time over the many years it was my good fortune to know her.
She is already missed.
Erroll Cooke, alas, has lost his greatest friend and champion. He will be lost without her.
With sincerest condolences over your loss,
William Byron Webster -- =============================================== William Byron Webster
Editorial Assistant Journal of Reinforced Plastics and Composites (JRPC) Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics Stanford University Stanford, CA 94305-4035