Helen L. Sockaci

Helen Sockaci, 86, of Fombell, died peacefully on Monday morning, August 16, 2010 at her home surrounded by her family. She had been in declining health for the past few years.

Born May 7, 1924 in Ellwood City, she was the daughter of the late E.R. and Bertilla (Kossler) Slevin of Ewing Park. She graduated from Lincoln (Ellwood) High School in 1942, and attended Mercyhurst College in Erie. In 1944, she married Zachary L. Sockaci, who survives her. Together they ran a farm in Fombell, which their son, Theodore, and grandsons Carl and Evan, and other family members continue to operate.

In addition to her work on the farm, Helen found time to sew and quilt. She was a skilled seamstress and each of her grandchildren and great grandchildren received one of her handcrafted quilts. She was an avid scrabble player and enjoyed nothing more than a hotly contested game with family members. Long before genealogy became a popular pastime, she was a proficient and meticulous family historian and archivist who devoted extraordinary efforts to to researching and documenting family history. She accomplished this by visiting distant courthouses, churches, and cemeteries in the era before the internet. Until her health began to fail, she planted a massive garden, which produced a remarkable bounty of vegetables, many of which she canned or gave away.

In her later years, Mrs. Sockaci was actively involved with Lillyville Church of God where she served as a Deaconness, as well as carrying out other duties. However, her greatest joy was her family and she relished the role of family matriarch, organizing and hosting countless family gatherings.

Besides her husband Zachary, she is survived by her children: Theodore (Debbie) Sockaci of Fombell; John (Elizabeth) Sockaci of Ellwood City; Lorraine (Peter Oanes) Starsky of Pittsburgh; Zachary Lyle (Carol) Sockaci of Fombell; Mary Sockaci and Ann (Paul McConnell) Sockaci, all of Albuquerque NM. She will be greatly missed by her 14 surviving grandchildren and five great grandchildren, as well as numerous nieces and nephews.

In addition to her parents, she was preceded by her son, Stephen Edward Sockaci; brothers Edward and Thomas Slevin; sister Ruth (Slevin) Jerome; and her grandson, Zachary Stephen Sockaci.

Family and friends will be received from 2-4 and 7-9 P.M. on Wednesday, August 18, 2010 in the TURNER FUNERAL HOME OF ELLWOOD CITY, Sixth Street at Park Avenue, Ellwood City. Friends also may call from 10-11 A.M. on Thursday, August 19, 2010 at Lillyville Church of God, Hickernell Road, Franklin Township, where a Celebration of Life service will be conducted at 11:00 A.M., with the Rev. Dennis Arndt, her pastor, officiating.

Burial will be in the Lillyville Church Cemetery.

The family suggests memorials be made to the Womens’ Center of Beaver County, P.O. Box 428, Beaver PA 15009; or to the Alzheimer’s Association, Greater PA Chapter, 3544 Progress Avenue, Ste. 205, Harrisburg PA 17110.

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