AUSTINTOWN - Margaret “Margie” Humphrey, 100, of Humility House, and formerly of College Park in Austintown, passed away Friday evening, May 8, 2020, at Hospice House from complications of the COVID-19 virus.
Margie was born Feb. 24, 1920, in York Run, Pa., the daughter of the late John and Helen Yankura Palko, and came to this area when her and her family moved to Girard when she was six years old.
Margie attended Girard High School up through her junior year when she left school to help her family financially, going to work at Petrakos Restaurant on Federal Street in downtown Youngstown. Although she never formally finished high school, in 2019 Margie was tested and awarded an honorary high school diploma by Austintown Fitch High School, marking a very proud moment for her.
Margie worked at Petrakos until 1941 when many men began enlisting in the U.S. military at the outset of World War II. Margie then secured a sales position at Western Auto selling car parts and was the only female working in the store during that time. There, Margie met a customer who became the love of her life, Earl Humphrey. The couple married April 2, 1945, and raised two children.
Margie worked at Western Auto until 1954, when she decided to follow her sweet tooth and began working at the Gorant Candy store on Federal Street. She worked at Gorant’s for 10 years until the downtown store closed, and she then worked in sales at McKelvey’s Department Store and later at Strouss’ Department Store, both in downtown Youngstown. After moving to Austintown, she worked at Kmart until she retired in 1983.
Mrs. Humphrey always enjoyed working and being surrounded by people. To occupy some of her free time after retirement, she volunteered at many places, including the Strock Stone House, which was reputedly a stop on the Underground Railroad that smuggled slaves to safety in Canada. The house is currently maintained by the Austintown Historical Society, which provides guided tours. She and Earl also both volunteered at the Austintown Girl’s Softball League concession stand, and volunteered with the Austintown Little League. Additionally, Margie volunteered at the St Vincent de Paul soup kitchen, the gift shop at St Elizabeth Hospital, and at the gift shop at the Franciscan Friars Shrine of Our Lady Comforter of the Afflicted in Youngstown.
Margie loved people and was always cooking and giving food to her friends and neighbors. She truly loved all animals. All of the neighborhood dogs would immediately head to her refrigerator for a treat. She put out food every morning for the birds, squirrels, and other animals in her yard. Margie loved traveling, bowling, reading, and especially loved her friends and family. She had a knack of reading two or three novels at a time, and kept all of the stories straight. For fun, she memorized Trivial Pursuit cards and loved to quiz the staff at Humility House.
Margie was a very devout Catholic and was a member of St Joseph Church in Austintown. For 15 years, until she quit driving, she also attended daily Mass at the Franciscan Friars Shrine in Youngstown, followed on most days by pizza at Wedgewood Pizza.
Margie was very intelligent and independent, and she will be dearly missed by her daughter, Fran (Alan) Rubin; her son, Robert (Linda) Humphrey; her grandchildren, Sara (Hercules) Platts, Aaron Humphrey (Stephanie Kardos), and Sean Humphrey; great-grandchildren, Lilly and Simon Platts; a niece, Helen Green; and a nephew, Steve Palko, Jr. In addition, Margie leaves Salvatore Minardi, Jr. and Toniann Minardi, across-the-street neighbors who were like grandchildren to her all of their lives.
Margie’s husband, Earl, passed away in 1992. Two brothers, Michael and Steve Palko, are also deceased.
This past February, a two-day party was held to celebrate Margie’s 100 years of life. The event was attended by all of her family and friends, including what she always called her “Humility House Family.” The Humility House Activities staff, Kim, Ginger, Kayla, and Taylor, made her birthday very special for her, and Margie was very happy with the celebration.
Words cannot express the gratitude and thanks Margie’s family feels for the Minardi family, Sal, Marianne, Salvatore, and Toniann, who for over 20 years made her a part of their family. Since Margie’s children lived out-of-state, they were what her children referred to as “better than family” because the Minardis “from across the street,” were always there for Margie. Special thanks from the Humphrey family to Toniann Minardi, for the special bond she formed with Margie, who always looked forward to visits and discussions of just about everything. It was rare to find a teenager (at the time) who would want to spend time with someone in their 90s, finding common interests and forming a very special friendship.
Margie’s family thanks everyone at Humility House who cared for her for the past 12 months. Her family would also like to thank Dr. Salim El Hayek for his care over the years. Many more thanks to all of the friends and neighbors who made it possible for Margie to live independently in her own home, where she truly wanted to be, until she was over 99 years old.
A private graveside service took place on Tuesday, May 11, at Belmont Park Cemetery in Liberty Township, where Margie was laid to rest next to her husband.
Arrangements were entrusted to Kinnick Funeral Home in Youngstown.
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