Leah L. Lavelle, 76, passed away peacefully at her home in Villas, NJ, on Sunday, September 10, 2023, after a long battle with a neurodegenerative disease.
Leah was born on January 10, 1947, in Upland, PA, just outside of Philadelphia. She was the third of five children of Edgar Gordon and Louise (Warren) Boyce.
While she was a child, she moved with her family to Ocean City, NJ, where she graduated High School.
Leah married Robert Jude Lavelle in Ocean City, NJ, in June 1968. Son Ken was born in August 1971, and Cathy in October 1973. Leah volunteered with the Blairstown, NJ, Rescue Squad, and became an EMT. After splitting with Robert in 1980, Leah, Ken, and Cathy moved to Ocean City and lived with Leah's mom, Louise. Leah became a paramedic, working in this field for many years. Many EMTs and Paramedics are grateful for the mentorship she provided to them. She then went back to school and became an Ordained Lutheran Minister in 1998. She was a pastor at Grace Lutheran Church in Union NJ, and then at Holy Spirit Lutheran church in Villas, NJ.
Leah was also a writer and published short stories and children's logic puzzles in Highlights Magazine. She loved games of all types, including Hearts and Scrabble. Leah would spot Ken and Cathy points in Scrabble when they were children, to have a competitive game, until they became good enough to win on their own. Leah enjoyed visiting Cathy and her husband Doug in Vermont, which always included some Scrabble competitions. The games continued during Covid via Zoom video calls.
Once while visiting Cathy, Leah took an interest in Cathy's Lego Christmas scene. She said she wanted a Lego nativity scene, and after Cathy told her that Lego doesn't do religious scenes, she said, "Then I'll just have to build my own". Thus began a hobby of building with Lego bricks that lasted the rest of her life. She loved building scenes from the bible and displaying them at church.
Leah had an adventurous spirit and enjoyed traveling, going to Hawaii and Alaska multiple times and to China once. Her first Alaska trip was in 2001, with Cathy and Doug, shortly after they met.
Leah is predeceased by her parents; her brother Fred Boyce and sister-in-law (wife of Jim Boyce)Dorothy "Dot" Boyce.
Leah is survived by her children, Kenneth G. Lavelle and Catherine Leah (Douglas) Ryan; her siblings Jim Boyce, Judy (Bill) Gourley, and Linda Forrester; her two granddaughters; and many nieces, nephews, and grand-nieces and grand-nephews.
Pastor Leah's Memorial Service will be held on Thursday, September 14th at Holy Spirit Lutheran Church in Villas, NJ. Family and friends will be received from 10-11 a.m., and the Memorial Service will be at 11 a.m. A luncheon will immediately follow the service.
In lieu of flowers, consider donating to Holy Spirit Lutheran Church in Villas, NJ, or JDRF at https://www2.jdrf.org/goto/cathyryan
An online album of photos of Leah can be viewed at https://photos.app.goo.gl/cG5JXMQS8B65sP5S8