Leonard Cirelli was attending night classes to finish his business administration degree.
Cirelli passed away suddenly on February 9 before one of his classes. He was taken to Mercy Medical Center in Canton.
Originally from Youngstown, Cirelli made the commute to campus twice a week for class.
“One of the main reasons my husband was finishing his degree was so he could provide for our sons,” wife Cindy Cirelli said.
Cirelli worked as a materials manager at an orthopedic surgery center.
Years before Cirelli had attended Youngstown University. During his time in school Leonard saw a flier on campus for a bible study being held in the home of a young woman in the area.
Leonard attended the bible study and met his future wife Cindy. At the time Cindy was the leader of the bible study.
“My dad said that the first time he went to the study and saw my mom he could not take his eyes off of her,” son David said.
Cindy and Leonard were married in 1977. The Cirelli’s tried to have children early on but were unsuccessful at first by experiencing five miscarriages.
“It was really difficult for us,” Cindy said. “Our sixth pregnancy we got blessed because I was pregnant with twins!”
Finally, twin boys Michael and David were born.
Cindy said that the boys were everything to Leonard.
“He lived his life for his boys,” Cindy said.
One of David and Michael’s favorite memories of their father was taking camping trips with him.
“We had a camper that we would take on weekend trips to Pennsylvania,” David said. “He would build the fire and set up camp for us. He just had a way of making the trips special for us.”
Along with camping trips the family all said one thing they would miss the most were his Saturday morning breakfasts.
“My dad would make the best breakfast,” Michael said. “He would make bacon and eggs for us.”
Cindy also said that Leonard enjoyed making pancakes for the boys in the morning.
“Leonard came from a big Italian family so he really enjoyed cooking,” Cindy said.
Another fond memory David has of his father is the time they spent talking about pop music. Every three months when a new NOW CD was released David and his dad would listen to the cd together.
“My dad was actually really open to the music of my generation,” David said. “Surprisingly, he even enjoyed listening to Lady Gaga!”
Leonard did not only enjoy pop music he had a love for Simon and Garkfunkel, The Doors and old hymns.
The thing that Leonard will be most remembered for according to his family was his peaceful spirit. He had a kind and gentle way about him said his family.
Cindy said that Leonard did not like to be in the center of attention, but he always left people with a good impression.
“He was such a good listener,” Cindy said. “People always knew that they could trust him.”
Leonard Cirelli will be awarded his bachelor’s degree in business administration at the upcoming commencement on April 30.
His two sons David and Michael will be present to receive the diploma in his honor.
“I am just so grateful to the university for presenting Leonard with his degree,” Cindy said. “It means so much to me and my family.”
April 16 marked Cindy and Leonard’s 34th year of marriage. Cindy said that she has hard moments but, the thing that comforts her most is that she knows where he is.
“I am so grateful to have been married to Leonard,” Cindy said. “It’s hard now that he is gone, but I rest assured because I know that he is with the Lord.”
Christina Graw is managing editor and contributing writer for The Aviso.