Ramona J. Lerch, better known as “Mokey,” left us just after midnight on Tuesday, August 1, 2018, peacefully and in the company of family and close friends, partway through her 87th year.
Mokey was born March 25, 1932, in Bradford, Pa., to Lulu Skinner and Wayne Worthy Lerch. A 1950 graduate of Jamestown High School, she began her career with Marlin Rockwell Corporation on Jan. 5, 1949, in Jamestown, N.Y., at 16, moving to the TRW facility in Plainville, in 1974, and retiring just a week shy of 47 years later from SKF in Altoona, Pa., in December 1995.
She was the first to implement and train employees in the initial installation of the IBM 6428 at MRC in 1965, an electronic calculator which used keypunch capabilities to coordinate order entry with invoicing on a large scale, thereby enhancing customer service.
A member of the American Production and Inventory Control Society, Mokey was the first female Quality Control Manager at TRW in Plainville, a pioneer among women in manufacturing.
Mokey was inducted into the Order of the Eastern Star, moved through the chairs, and was Matron of the Mecca Chapter in Jamestown, N.Y. in 1967.
She was a life-long bowler and inveterate pinochle player. She was a life-long member of the National Wildlife Federation and fully enjoyed the animal companions who were pets among family members and neighbors.
Mokey was well-known for her independence and persistence. She loved reading and trying new recipes, and many friends enjoyed her home-canned relishes, salsas and cordials at holidays. She LOVED to drive (but hated to fly!), taking two nieces on three-week cross-country trips by car. Mokey was a favored aunt, providing safe haven to nieces and nephews needing a time-out.
Mokey is survived by her nephews, Donald Caruso and Curtis Michaels; nieces, Judith W. Rodriguez (Dr. Rigoberto) and Deborah W. Clark (George); as well as several other nieces and nephews; her great-nephews and nieces, Reuben Rodriguez (Allie) and their sons, Felix and Simon, Benjamin Rodriguez and Rachel Rodriguez; Lissette Wilensky and Michael Wilensky; and Rachelle, Raymond, and Phillip Udeogu and their mother, Maria; and her youngest sister, Zara R. Engman.
She was predeceased by her parents; her sister and brother-in-law, Yvonne and Joseph Wilensky; her brothers, Dick Foltz and infant, Lyle Foltz; and her nephew, David Wilensky.
She was especially fortunate to have been embraced by her Altoona “family,” Jane Glass and her daughters, as well as her extraordinary Southern Care Hospice Services caretakers.
As she wished, Mokey will join Yvonne and Joe in a memorial garden in Miami, Fla., at a future date. Remember her fondly as you raise a glass. Any who wishes may honor her with a contribution to a charity of the donor’s choice.