Lilia P. (Finelli) GonzalezApril 23, 1927 ~ September 13, 2017 (age 90)
A window opened and Lilia saw a banquet table laden as for a queen. At the head of the table: Jesus. Seated around the table, her grandmother Philomena Scarinzi, her mother and father Marie and Sylvio Finelli; her husband Phillip Gonzalez; her daughter Kim LaBarre; her grandson Nathan LaBarre; brothers Mario and Paul; sisters Violet and Sylvia, sister-in-law Ann Finelli and many many other relatives and friends from her past. Lilia (Leah) took her seat next to Jesus and did so to great applause. “Well done my good and faithful servant, “ said Jesus. And so, we lose an angel but heaven gains one. Lilia (Leah) Philomena (Finelli) Gonzalez, 90 yrs of age, passed into Heaven, on Sept. 13. She is survived by her children and their families: sons Ricardo Gonzalez, Ronald and Cynthia Gonzalez, Robert & Tracy Schiano Gonzalez and daughter Brooke. She is survived by one daughter, Linda Gonzalez. She is also survived by her grandchildren and great grandchildren; Matthew LaBarre & Jennifer Frederici; Elizabeth LaBarre & Nicholas Layton and sons Nicholas Paul Layton & Owen Layton; Leah & Ryan Schultes and son Wyatt Schultes; Also Russell & Ileta Labarre & Jacob & Cainan LaBarre. She is survived by her sisters and brothers: Rose Sauger, Evelyn Rifenbury, Michael, Richard and John Finelli. Her nieces and nephews: Mark & Rachel Rifenbury; Jeffrey Rifenbury, Pamela & Tom Pasquale;, Christina & Chad Rieselman; Vincent, Michael and Julie Ann Sauger, Tracy & John Burdick, David & Irene Sauger; Joseph & Colleen Yannuzzi, Rita, Paul & Anthony Yannuzzi, Paula & Ken Willerton, Angela & Todd St Germain; Terri, David, Patrick, Lisa & Michelle Finelli; Cathy Jackson & James & Susan Finelli; Jennifer & David Garner, Nina, Marie & Daniel Finelli; Deanna & Jim Kominos, Gina Finelli. She is also survived by many grand and great grand nieces and nephews and her new namesake Lilia Campbell, daughter of Gabriella (Briga) and Jack Campbell.
Leah lived in Binghamton most of her life outside of a number of years in Cleveland, Ohio, where she was one of the Rosie the Riveters during WW2. She attended the Billy Tilton School of modeling and had her picture on the sides of city buses. She loved to dance and entered many a competition for swing dancing and jitterbugging in the 1940s. She met her future husband Philip, in Cleveland, and when her family moved back to Binghamton shortly after WW11 ended, he followed her here and married her. They had five children and family was their life until he passed in 1982. As a widow, she put all her energies into her children, God and bible study. Through the past few decades she became known as a prayer warrior and her phone rang day and night with people calling her for prayer or to “lay hands” on them if they were sick.
Until her death, she maintained close relationships with every member of her family and large extended family. And as they all know, Aunt Leah was always on their side, no matter what.
She lived a rich and meaningful, purposeful life. She was blessed and in turn was a blessing to all she knew or met. We were privileged to have her in our lives.