LaVerne Ann Zupancic, nee Calkins, passed away peacefully December 16, 2018, at the Hospice of the Western Reserve in Cleveland. A longtime resident of Wickliffe, she was 89.
LaVerne was born on December 3, 1929, in Cleveland to the late Marie and Paul T. Calkins, growing up in the neighborhood around St. Vitus Church, on St. Clair Avenue. She attended the Cleveland Schools, including John Hay High School, until the family relocated to Huntsburg, where she graduated from Burton High School.
As the oldest of six children, LaVerne always was available to help raise her three sisters and two brothers. She relished telling stories during her later years of experiences with her siblings, as well as life in Geauga County.
It was through family friends that LaVerne met Raymond B. Zupancic, also from Cleveland’s St. Clair area. They were married November 27, 1948, at St. Vitus, and lived briefly in the city before moving to Norman Avenue in Wickliffe, where they maintained residence for more than 60 years.
LaVerne embraced motherhood and family life, happily managing a household for Raymond and their eight children. She was recognized for her joyful spirit as much as for her infectious laugh, the kind that earned her countless new friends over the years.
As her children grew into adulthood, LaVerne turned her mothering skills toward daytime baby-sitting, nurturing and entertaining youngsters who included some of her nine grandchildren. More than one of those children recalled the warmth of “bear-hugs” administered by their loving “Grandma Zup.”
She and Raymond were parishioners at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church in Wickliffe and, later, at St. William Church (now SS. Robert & William) in Euclid. After Raymond died in 1990, LaVerne remained in Wickliffe until 2012, when she moved into Symphony of Mentor (formerly Kemper House).
LaVerne is survived by children Susan Nussrallah (Steve), of Johns Creek, Ga.; Claudia Montgomery, of Vermilion; Cynthia Might (Robert), of Eastlake; Larry (Karen Ling), of Cleveland Heights; Kimberly, of Euclid; Terri (Stanley Urankar), of Cleveland; Ruth (John LaRiccia), of Newbury; and Kevin (Francesca), of Bonita Springs, Fla.; grandchildren Ginger, Zachary and Jody Zupancic; Jaclyn (Nussrallah) Zurawski; Erica (Entis) DiMare and Gregory Entis; Grace (Urankar) Teichert and Rose Urankar; and Cory Zupancic; and great-grandchildren Isabella Bernardi, Dominic Teichert, and Grant, Carter and Tyler Zurawski.
Preceded in death by sisters Jeri Langmeyer, of Maine, and Joyce Adams, of Huntsburg, LaVerne also is survived by sister Kathleen White and brothers George and Paul Calkins, all of Huntsburg; and friend Pat Hoke, of Vermilion.
A Funeral Mass will be celebrated at 9 a.m. Friday by the Rev. John Betters, pastor, at SS. Robert & William, 367 E. 260th St.Interment will be private, with burial at All Souls Cemetery. Orlando-Donsante-Previte Funeral Home, Wickliffe, is handling arrangements.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations in her memory to SS. Robert & William Church, srweuclid.cc, designated to the Music Ministry; the Cleveland Area Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association, www.alz.org/cleveland; or the Hospice of the Western Reserve, www.hospicewr.org.
Alzheimer's Association of Cleveland Chapter
23215 Commerce Park, Suite 300, Beachwood OH 44122
Hospice of the Western Reserve
P.O. BOX 72101, Cleveland OH 44197
Ss. Robert & William Church
367 East 260th Street, Euclid OH 44132