PORTLAND — Laura Mae Manzella, 79, of Portland, N.Y., died after a courageous battle with Alzheimer’s Disease at home surrounded by her loving family on Monday, Dec. 7.
She was born Aug. 8, 1941, in Westfield, N.Y., the daughter of the late William G. Sr. and Helen (Ward) Harper.
Laura worked as Postmaster Relief for the U.S. Postal Service for 25 years primarily out of the post office in Portland, however, she worked as relief for post offices all over Chautauqua County during the course of her career. She was also active in the American Legion Auxiliary, Post 434 in Brocton. Laura was an avid bowler beginning at the West Portland Bowling Lanes as a teenager and then participating in various leagues at Lucky Lanes in Fredonia for many years.
She supported the family grape farm whether it was during the harvest with the many meals for the picking crew or during the spring tying up grape vines. Laura was an avid gardener and was especially proud of her over 40 rose bushes which she often displayed her blooms in various bouquets around the home.
More important to Laura than anything else was her family. She would often take nieces, nephews and grandchildren for weeks at a time to spend time on the farm during the summer months. She was quick to host a family reunion, holiday picnic/dinner or an impromptu BBQ. She loved to cook and would often simply ask two things: “What do you like?” and “How many are coming to eat?” From there she would get busy cooking to ensure all would be fed and full.
Laura loved to travel and she and Rick would take at least one cruise a year and if feeling adventurous, perhaps two all over the Caribbean and Central America. Laura knew no bounds and at 70 years old went ziplining in Belize. She would travel to where ever her children might be living at the time. This took her to California, Florida, Virginia, Europe and South America.
She is survived by her husband of 42 years, Rick M. Manzella; her son, Kevin (Rebecca) Bremer of Carlisle, Pa.; her daughters: Karen (Terry) Dellert of Niceville, Fla., and Kathleen Bremer (Mike Harrison) of Bemus Point; step-daughter, Susan Manzella of Fredonia; a brother, Ronald L. Harper (Loraine) of Richmond, Va.; and umerous nieces and ephews. Laura had six grandchildren: Cullen Jones, Del Rey Beach, Fla., Caitlyn Jones, Niceville, Fla., CPT Laura Price, Fort Drum, N.Y., 1LT Conor Bremer, Fort Drum, N.Y., Emily Bremer, Destin, Fla., and Sarah Lang, Jamestown, N.Y. She also had six great-grandchildren: Canon LeGrano, Fredonia, Jaela Plaud, Jamestown, Aubrey Fish, Destin, Fla., Ellyn Jones, Niceville, Fla., and Natalie and Oliver Price, Fort Drum, N.Y.
In addition to her parents, Laura is preceded in death by her three brothers: Edward and Alan Harper of Westfield, N.Y., and William G. Harper, Jr. of Merrill’s Inlet, S.C.; her step-son, Lee Manzella, Jamestown, N.Y.; and a great-granddaughter, Bristol LeGrano of Fredonia.
Funeral services will be held privately for the immediate family only and internment will be at Portland Evergreen Cemetery at a later date.
The family asks that in lieu of flowers, a donation be made to the Alzheimer’s Association (www.alz.org) in Laura’s memory.
Funeral arrangements are under the care of the MORSE Funeral Home, 51 Highland Ave., Brocton, NY 14716.
To leave a message of sympathy or to leave a remembrance to Laura’s family, log on to; www.themorsefuneral home.com.