Mary Jane (Palomba) Reese Lacey, age 95, died peacefully December 22, 2022, in Vero Beach, FL where she lived for 26 years with her beloved second husband, C. Perry Lacey. Born on October 24, 1927, Mary Jane was the youngest daughter of five children of the late William and Helen Palomba, of Boswell, PA. She was raised in a close and loving family of hard-working Italian parents. Her family owned a restaurant, and her mother was known for her gourmet cooking- a skill that she passed down to her daughter, Mary Jane. In high school, Mary Jane, aka Tootsie, was a vivacious and popular young woman. She excelled academically and was involved in many clubs- including the Glee club. Always interested in beauty, and excited to start her career, she completed her Cosmetology degree and was licensed as a beautician before graduating with her high school diploma from Boswell High School in 1945. She then earned an Associates in Recreational Therapy. Mary Jane melded her passion for beautifying and her devotion to helping others when she accepted the position as a beautician (rising to Director of Recreational Therapy) at the Somerset State Hospital. She subsequently met and married her first husband, the late John R. Reese, of Somerset PA, Director of Social Services and Admissions at the hospital, in June of 1953. Mary Jane and John were married for 36 years engaging in numerous nonprofit and volunteer activities, working and entertaining together, while remaining closely connected with their large extended family. They had semi-retired to Vero Beach FL when John died unexpected at the age of 61. Mary Jane continued to travel between the two states and was blessed to meet her second husband, Perry, formerly of Dayton Ohio and a logistics executive with the Air Force and General Motors, while in Vero Beach. They were married in May of 1996 in the chapel of the Community Church of Vero Beach (FL). Highly devoted to each other, they were rarely out of each other's company, and were the epitome of a loving and caring couple. Mary Jane and Perry enjoyed traveling the United States to visit their many nieces and nephews, relatives, and friends. Generous and fun-loving, they were often found at parties until the wee hours of the morning and even six months ago could be found on the dance floor at a high school graduation party for family friends! MJ, as she was affectionately called, was a lady until her last day, elegant and sophisticated in her dress and beautifully coiffed and styled. Everyone was astounded at her age as she looked years younger. Bright and witty, knowledgeable, she had a great sense of humor- a delight to be around. She will be greatly missed by her family and friends in both Somerset and Vero Beach. Mary Jane was preceded in death by her parents, first husband, sisters Edith Rigo, Ethel Romero, and Virginia Spina, and brother William Palomba and his wife Myra. She is survived by nieces and nephews- Elena Bartlett (Grantham, PA); Myron Palomba, (Pardeville WI); Perry Palomba (West Virgina), many great grand nieces and nephews, as well as her many friends. Friends received 10-11 a.m. Saturday June 3, 2023 at the Hauger-Zeigler Funeral Home & Cremation Services, Somerset, where a service will immediately follow at 11 a.m. with Reverend Roger Howard officiating. Interment Somerset County Memorial Park. To leave a condolence please visit www.haugerzeigler.com
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