Lorene Reider of Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, passed away peacefully on April 1, 2020 in Stowe, Vermont, with her daughter, Brenda Aylward, by her side and other close family members connected remotely. Lorene’s health had declined in recent months, but she was a true fighter throughout life and lived with vitality, vigor and clarity up until the end.
Born in her family home in Bittersville, Pennsylvania, on January 19, 1925, Lorene was one of 15 children of the late Curvin and Almeda (Emenheiser) Smeltzer. She grew up in a household filled with religion, laughter, adventure and hard work. Not unusual for the time, she worked from an early age caring for her numerous younger siblings. Her first job outside of her home was at the local cigar factory J.C. Winter & Co. where she developed a keen eye for quality and developed the dexterity that would later help her become a highly valued employee of the Red Lion Cabinet Company. Eventually she moved to Yorktowne Cabinetry in Mifflinburg where she would later reside. Throughout her time at Yorktowne, Lorene took on roles of increasing responsibility, eventually retiring as the lead in quality control at the milling facility. Her attention to detail in the manufacturing industry also translated to her home life. Her azalea bushes in the front yard and tomato plants in the backyard were the envy of her neighborhood in Mifflinburg. Due to her early years working and then raising children, she missed out on learning how to ride a bicycle or how to swim. But by the mid-1970’s, she could be seen about town on her bright blue, three-wheeled Schwinn with a big basket on the back. Eventually, her grandson Jeremy filled that basket and he grew up under Lorene’s watchful eye. By the late 1970’s, she was determined to learn how to swim and her granddaughters instructed her in their backyard pool in Vermont. Well into her 80’s she was known for having a mean doggie paddle at the pools she frequented in Florida with her daughter Brenda and her late son-in-law Philip Aylward. She was one of the few nonagenarians to have a lifelong membership to the pool at Bucknell University where she donned her creative swim caps and trotted in the water. For most of her late adult life, Lorene took walks everyday and would often arrive back home with wildflowers acquired along the path. She was always on the move and had a boundless amount of energy. As an avid reader, Lorene really only slowed down to finish a good book. Mysteries were her favorite genre, but she was known to splurge on the occasional novel with heartthrob Fabio on the cover!
After being widowed in her early 50s, Lorene learned many trades; she could paint and wallpaper, cook and preserve, and garden. She taught her grandchildren and great grandchildren how to landscape and garden; at age 85, she still pushed a wheelbarrow and planted daylilies and blueberry bushes at her granddaughter Kimberly’s house in New Hampshire. By her early 90’s she focused on passing down recipes like her famous apple cake which she shared with her granddaughters and great granddaughters in North Carolina and Colorado. She could pick a peach at the peak of ripeness and never stopped extolling the virtues of certain Pennsylvania grown varieties. Her canned peaches were in high demand and she left a legacy of recipes and traditions to her daughter, grandchildren and great grandchildren. When the cold weather hit Pennsylvania, Lorene and her daughter Brenda made their yearly pilgrimage to Florida’s warmer climate. A highlight of this trip was a lengthy stopover at Stephanie’s house in North Carolina. In her travels, she would often exclaim, “Whoa, Whoa, Whoa!,” her de facto catchphrase, to slow down her active great grandchildren when they ran around or became overly excited. Ironically, she was the one often told, “Whoa, Whoa, Whoa, Grambo!” by her own grandchildren as she swung a golf club like a lethal weapon or as she cornered her walker up on one wheel. In her last decade, she resided at Devitt House in Lewisburg and received help from friends like Joy Kosky, aides like Rhonda Thompson, relatives like Glenn Smeltzer and dear friends like Sharon Lowry. So many, including her surviving siblings and daughter Brenda, assisted her often and she was so grateful for their presence and kindness. For over 50 years, she was a member of the Mifflinburg United Methodist Church and attended weekly services. Her faith, religion and family were key aspects of her life. Additionally, Lorene loved good food, socializing, and lending a hand to those in need. She was loved by all for her generosity and her friends often commented on how blessed they were to have “a friend with a heart of gold.” She was a gifted raconteur, sharing her experiences in life and even reflecting on trying times with a dose of humor and wit. Lorene is known as both “Lo Lo” and “Grambo” by many. Lo Lo always stayed relevant and evolved with the times: opting to wear animal prints when they began to make a fashion comeback, learning how to photobomb, appearing in TikTok videos at age 94, FaceTiming on her iPad and finally, at 95, maintaining a competitive edge while playing a game of Rummikub. Her energy, warmth and glow will live on in her surviving friends and family.
Lorene is survived by her only surviving child, loving daughter, Brenda Aylward, of Stowe, Vermont, and her partner, Bradford Moore. Lorene was predeceased by her beloved husband Donald Reider and three of her four children: Terry Reisinger, Donald Reider Jr. and Cynthia Reider Raup. Lorene was also predeceased by 11 of her loving siblings and is survived by two brothers, Allen Smeltzer of Craley, Pennsylvania, and Marlin Smeltzer of Red Lion, Pennsylvania, and one sister, Sandra Klineman of Spring Grove, Pennsylvania. She is also survived by her granddaughter, Kimberly Aylward and husband Kenji Sato of Colorado; granddaughter, Stephanie Sigmon and husband Andy Sigmon of North Carolina, and grandson Jeremy Raup and his partner Amy Urey of Beavertown, Pennsylvania. Lorene is also survived by six adoring great grandchildren, Luca, Maja and Ginn Sato of Colorado and Blake Misciagno, Brooke and Bailey Sigmon of North Carolina.
Memorial contributions may be made to Mifflinburg United Methodist Church, 279 Market, Mifflinburg, PA 17844 or at https://www.umc.org/en/how-we-serve/giving-opportunities/donate. A service to celebrate the life of Lorene will be held at the Mifflinburg United Methodist Church at a later date after the threat of the coronavirus has passed.