Coastal woman still pines, posts about Lowellville
EDITOR’S NOTE: This is one of a series of Saturday profiles of area residents and their stories. To suggest a profile, contact features editor Burton Cole at email@example.com or metro editor Marly Reichert at firstname.lastname@example.org.
LOWELLVILLE — When people drive through the village during the summer, they will see hundreds of veteran banners hanging above the road.
The idea came from Lowellville native Roslyn Torella, as she and husband, Ron Reese, drove through their current home in Maryland.
“It really has brought a lot of happiness to people, and pride,” Torella said.
She gathers each veteran’s information and a photo of the soldier in their uniform, working with a graphics company and village officials to display the act of homage.
Many of the veterans are deceased, so their families drive around to find their banner, Torella said.
“You see people from all over town coming into Lowellville to have their picture taken with their relatives,” she said.
Torella, 54, was born and raised in Lowellville. Her career with the federal government took Torella and Reese to Maryland just outside of Washington, D.C., which she said they love.
However, when it comes time for retirement, Torella and Reese will come back to Lowellville to live in the same house she grew up in that has been in the family for generations.
“When I think of home, it’s that house,” she said.
Although she lives 300 miles from “home,” Torella is still active in the community.
Torella’s hometown pride is kept alive through a social media page called “Lowellville Ohio History,” where she is able to post old articles and photos.
“The fun thing is when I uncover old pictures and post them, people see pictures of their grandmother or grandfather they never saw before. It’s really heartwarming,” she said.
In her free time, Torella researches Italian genealogy and teaches it while sharing history about Lowellville.
Torella graduated from Lowellville High School in 1984. She obtained a bachelor’s degree in labor relations from Youngstown State University, then a master’s degree in business administration with a concentration in management.
Growing up thinking the grass is greener on the other side, Torella moved to the Washington, D.C., area with Reese in 2005. The move “made me crave small-town living,” she said.
Living in a big city has its advantages, including an exposure to culture and resources, but it’s also difficult because everything is congested and expensive, Torella said.
“Then I come home to Lowellville, and it’s so nice and quiet and serene.”
Her inner historian was born in 2013 when she was brainstorming a birthday gift for her father, Dave, who was turning 84 that September.
She remembers stories he would tell her of the village from his youth, along with tidbits of his own life.
After finding archived newspaper stories, Torella started the social media page and wrote a book for Dave.
It was the last birthday gift she gave her father, as he passed away the following year. “I’m so glad I did it,” she said.
In 2018, she self-published a book based on those stories and dedicated it to her father and two aunts, one of whom lived to see the book published.
Torella has friends she calls her pen pals sprinkled around the nation, folks in their 80s and 90s who grew up in Lowellville. She sends them a history story each month.
Learning about her Italian heritage on her father’s side, Torella is going to start exploring her mother’s German ancestry.
While she can’t wait to start that, she also is getting ready for the eventual big move back to Lowellville.
“I have these really deep roots in that town. It’s home.”