LORAIN - Lida E. LaTorre (Melendez) passed peacefully on July 13, 2013 at New Life Hospice while surrounded by her children, brothers and family after a short illness. She was 81 years old.
Lida was born on March 3, 1932 in Orocovis, Puerto Rico, the 9th of 12 children, to Juan and Amelia Melendez of Bauta Arriba. She attended school in Hayales Coamo. She married neighbor Miguel E. Saez and the young couple moved to Lorain, Ohio on a cold wintery day in January 1951 to begin their life on East 34st Street. She was an active member of the Igelsia Discipulos De Cristo led by Pastor Jose Luciano who ministered to the small, closely knit and growing Puerto Rican congregation. As a single parent in the 1960s, Lida reared four children on East 34th Street. She found strength and support through her faith and family. Later, she would meet and marry Modesto LaTorre.
A talented seamstress, Lida worked many years at Joseph and Feiss Company. Then she proudly joined the housekeeping team at St. Joseph Hospital where she was employed until 1980. Yearning for her "Isla de Encanto," upon retirement she returned to her native land to enjoy the sun and water in Fajardo, Puerto Rico. Missing family and friends, she returned to Lorain in 1997 to live at Sacred Heart Apartments. Through the school district's senior volunteer program, she was a teaching assistant in English language, where her hours of work contributed to a college saving fund for her grandchildren.
Mrs. LaTorre had as sense of adventure and she led by example. An avid swimmer, she would jump from a boat into the water to show there was no need for fear. With her "vamamos" spirit, she explored places and things at a moment's notice-a trait that made her quite the crowd pleaser. She excitedly toured guests into the hillsides of Puerto Rico, planned family picnics to park destinations, and drove to out of the way towns just to taste the ice cream. It was like Lida to have many a neighborhood child along for the ride. She enjoyed traveling – junkets to casinos with her girlfriends, visits to her children's homes across the US and trips to Island fun-spots for joint birthday celebrations with her siblings-creating many fond memories. People young and old gravitated to her for she showered friends, family and new acquaintances alike with her generosity and hospitality. A virtuous woman, she shared God's blessings with others. Lida's house was a transition home to many who left the Island coming to Ohio seeking opportunity. She enjoyed singing church hymns and old Spanish love ballads; and dazzled others by reciting poetry. Lida had a passion for flowering plants with a special interest in orchids. She took pleasure in crocheting lovely afghan quilts and handkerchiefs for gifts which are in many homes and purses around the world.
Lida is survived by her four children: Edith (John) Jachym of Raleigh, NC, Eugene (Kathy) Saez of Ranchos Palos Verdes, CA, Mirian "Susie" (Julian) Saez of San Francisco, CA and Lyda (Miguel) Pabon of Ft. Lauderdale, FL: three grandchildren: Marissa (Bill) York of Tampa, FL, Jonathan Jachym at present residing in London, England and Ian Jachym of Raleigh; and by five siblings: sisters Eva Montanez of Rio Piedras, PR and Dilia Forti of Plattekill, NY and brothers Rubeli (Angelica) Melendez of Aibonito, PR, Anibal (Lucy) Melendez of Cleveland, OH and Jose (Sandra) Melendez of Lorain, OH.
The children request family and friends to join them at a memorial service and reception to celebrate their Mother's life to be held on Tuesday, July 16 from 5 to 6pm in the Dovin and Reber Jones Funeral and Cremation Center, 1110 Cooper Foster Park Road, Amherst, OH. The family invites everyone attending the memorial service to join them immediately following the service for a reception in the gathering center of the funeral home.
Online condolences may be left for the family at www.dovinreberjones.com