lena paolo
Lena Brancazio Paolo, 92, of Weirton died at her home on Wednesday, December 20, 2017. Born on August 14, 1925 in Yorkville, Ohio, Lena was the daughter of the late Pasquale and Angela DiLullo Brancazio. In 1947, Lena married the love of her life, Anthony (Tony) Paolo, with whom she celebrated 70 years of marriage in June of this year. A graduate of Weir High School, Lena was one of Weirton’s first telephone operators and worked as a medical secretary and assistant for the late Ray S. Greco, M.D. for 18 years. She committed herself fully to every role she undertook, professionally and personally, and did so with total resolve, competence and a smile. Described by a friend as a “beautiful and noble soul,” she was a courageous, selfless, generous woman who embraced life fully and weathered illness with unflinching hope and dignity. Her passion and joy in her life was her family and extended family. Her devotion to them knew no boundary. But her love was not limited only to family. No one she met or who entered her home was a stranger, nor did anyone leave without her trying to feed them or give them something to take with them. She was a member of Saint Joseph the Worker Roman Catholic Church and was at one time a member of the Christian Mothers. Lena believed strongly in equality and justice for all people and lived her life accordingly. She was a gourmet cook, enjoyed music, dance, and watching Turner Classic movies and CNN. She was preceded in death by her sisters Domenica (Minnie) Mozzone and Mary Rollison and her five brothers John, Antonio, Dominic, Joseph and Cosmo Brancazio. She is survived by her husband, Tony, her children, Bernadette Paolo, previously of Washington, DC, Thomas Paolo and her daughter-in-law Darlene Paolo of Bethel Park, Pa.; her grandchildren, Carla (Chris) Sweeney of Charlotte, NC, Dena (Dave) Robinson of Sterling, VA, and Tony Paolo (Samatha) of Pittsburgh, PA; her great-grandchildren Cole and Natalie Sweeney, Alexander and Charles Robinson; her sister-in laws, Helen Paolo and Helen Brancazio, and many nieces, nephews, cousins and close friends. Visitation will take place at the Greco-Hertnick Funeral Home on Friday, December 22 from 2:00 to 4:00 pm and from 6:00 to 8:00 pm. Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at Saint Joseph the Worker Church at 10:00 am on Saturday, December 23. Interment will follow in St. Paul Cemetery, Weirton. The family wishes to acknowledge and thank all of Lena’s caretakers and those who have extended such kindness during her convalescence. Expressions of sympathy can be donated to Saint Joseph the Worker Church. “She was powerful not because she wasn’t scared, but because she went on so strongly despite the fear.” Atticus. Share tributes and memories at www.grecohertnick.com

Memories Timeline


  1. I will always remember how that smile would light up her face in the short time I got to know her. She was the sweetest person in her hardest time so I can only image how amazing she was in her best times. Rest In Peace, Lena.
    Tara Cork (one of her nurses from Weirton)

  2. I remember having dinner at her house when I taught at Madonna High School. The meals were great. She made everyone feel welcome all the time. You are blessed to have such a good and kind hearted mother. She will be in our prayers as well as the family.
    Bill and Jeanne Barrett

  3. Dear Bernadette,
    Sending our Deepest Sympathy to you and your family in the loss of your Dear Mother. I always remember your Mother as having the sweetest, kindest smile, and the most loving heart that showed through to everyone who knew her. She was such a beautiful lady-inside and out. May she now be at perfect Rest in the Lord’s Loving Presence and Peace.
    Love and Prayers, George and Joanne Slanchik

  4. I am among the few gathered who have never met Lena Paolo in person. I have been profoundly blessed however to have known her through her exceptional daughter Bernadette and the times when she would put mama Lena on the phone.

    Mrs. Lena was clearly one of those rare gems God brings to the earth every so often — an incredible vessel radiating God’s agape love and one who demonstrated the courage and conviction of the great women of the scriptures — Queen Esther, Deborah and Rahab. Like these women whom we have never met and only know through the Holy Scriptures, Mama Lena’s legacy of courage and love will succeed her in life and live on through the many she loved and impacted. Her life of strength and love beyond the capacity of many of us will echo through generations.
    She will never be unremembered. Many here and abroad will always know that a humble but great woman named Lena Paolo lived.

    I truly regret that by the time of her passing there was not a flight that could get me from East Africa to Weirton to honor her life and memory in person. But am committed to supporting my dear friend for life and forever Bernadette carry on the legacy of Mom!

    Many blessings and profound sympathy,
    Rosa Whitaker

  5. I would like to extend my sympathy to Bernadette and her family. I remember my Mom, Pauline Rocchio, being very happy and proud to have been Lena’s Godmother. Lena was always pleasant and had a smile for everyone. Bernadette, you are in my thoughts and prayers.

    Jeanette Rocchio-Whitlatch
    Laguna Beach, CA 92651

  6. I would like to extend my sincere sympathy to Bernadette and the whole Paolo family. I was a good friend of Teddi Paolo and spent many days and nights during my high school years at Teddi’s house which was right next door to “Aunt Lena’s.” I have many wonderful memories of those days. We would go over to Lena’s; she was a lovely, kind woman. I also was always in awe of Bernadette, who had a lively, honest, “bigger-than-life” personality. I was kind of shy then and found her to be so interesting! I’m so glad Lena led a long, full life and had such a wonderful marriage. I admire that so much. Love to all of you. I’m sure she’s in Heaven and is smiling that peaceful, wonderful smile. I apologize for not visiting the funeral home, but I had this flu that is going around and didn’t want to give it to others. Sincerely, Linda Guz

  7. Bernadette, I am so sorry for your loss. Of course I remember your mom so very fondly. Growing up my sis and I spent many hrs at your house and your mom was always so wonderful. After i moved back here I would see your mom and dad every once in a while and they always remembered me. Your mom was a very special lady. My prayers are with you and your family. Jenevieve Oliver

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