Lelia Catherine Hairston, 64, of Alliance, OH, traveled to that great family reunion in the sky on March 21, 2023. Although she battled blood cancer for over forty years, her joy for life and indomitable spirit kept her pushing through the pain.
Born on December 1, 1958, Lelia was blessed with two fathers – Leo Mason and Marion Grimes Sr. Her mother, Annie Ruth Grimes, was her best friend and her rock. Saved as a young girl, Lelia taught Sunday School and played the piano for Noble Street Church of God in Christ. With her family, she ventured across the United States several times and was voted Girls Assembly Grand Royal Queen for the State of Ohio. Lelia graduated from Alliance High School in 1976 and attended Bowling Green University on an academic scholarship until she married her high school sweetheart, Samuel ‘Hap’ Hairston.
Lelia lived in Syracuse, New York for 15 years and had a successful career as an insurance agent and eventually became a certified travel agent. Soon, she returned to her hometown, Alliance, OH, to care for her beloved mother. Her love of fun, vacation and commitment to service helped her sell over $1 million dollars of travel for many consecutive years. Eventually this ‘Best of the Best’ agent stepped out on faith to start her own business, ‘World Travel Alliance.’ Lelia explored five continents, over 30 countries and most of the United States and territories. Her firsthand knowledge of various locations around the globe allowed her to prosper and help numerous family, friends and clients experience the vacations of their dreams. Though she often wandered, she was never lost.
In addition to globetrotting, Lelia loved her church, community service, gardening, shopping, fine dining, and time with her family. She was a member of the Order of Eastern Star including being Mother Advisor for Girls Assembly, impacting the lives of various young ladies in Alliance, Ohio. Lelia served as treasurer of the Kirksey, Young, Hawkins Family Reunion Committee for over 20 years. She was also a member of the Chamber of Commerce, Alliance Tips, Women’s Club and Alliance Historical Society board.
Lelia’s true passion was her family. She was a devoted mother to her two children, Portia Johnson (Kevin) and Myles Hairston. She was an exceptional grandmother, lovingly known as ‘Nonni’ to Jeffrey, Lelíann, Autumn, and Kevin. Her immediate family will cherish days spent in before/after school care and on many local and foreign vacations on land and sea.
Lelia was preceded in death by her grandparents, parents, aunts, uncles and cousins. She is survived by her five protective and doting brothers – Aldonis Grimes, Marion Grimes Jr. (Cheryl), Barry Grimes (Sharon), Anthony Grimes (Jennifer), and Darryl Mason (Roxanne). Lelia had special lifelong relationships with many extended family members including Emma Gail Patterson, Laura Coleman, Cindy King, Kathy Jo Brown & Jackie Grimes. A host of aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins, neighbors and her best friends, Karen Jordan, Anne Walker and Anne Johnson will deeply miss her strong constitution, adventurous spirit, motivation and love.
Lelia Catherine Hairston’s life showed everyone how faith and resilience can overcome any obstacle.
A Homegoing Celebration will be held at 12 noon on Saturday, April 1, 2023 at Second Baptist Church 820 E. Patterson St. Alliance, OH 44601. Friends may call one hour prior to the service at the church. Burial will be at Alliance City Cemetery.
Loving and caring arrangements are by Sommerville Funeral Services 330-836-2725