Silvia (Balaj) Yova was born on July 22, 1926 on Moore Street in Akron, Ohio to Floare (Lucas) and Vasile Balaj. Her parents immigrated to America from Romania in 1910, her father from Sititelec and her mother from Miersig, both in the Transylvania region.
She was the 6th of 12 children. Two of her siblings died in infancy or childhood. Six sisters and three brothers survived and remained close to each other for most of their lives. (Anne, Florence, Catherine, Mary, Eva, Lucretia, Charles, Lionel and Thomas) All of her siblings are now deceased.
Silvia attended Miller School on Getz Street in South Akron, Ohio, for grades 1-8. Having skipped third grade, she started High School early at the age of 13 at Akron Garfield High School. She was in the college preparatory program, and when she was sixteen years old, her bookkeeping teacher made it possible for her to skip gym class and study hall in order to work in the afternoons at Akron Produce on Mill Street.
She graduated from High School in 1943, turned 17 that summer, and entered Akron University that autumn. In the fall of 1946, at the age of 20, she took a full-time position with J. Gordon Gaines Insurance Agency in Akron, and switched to night school at Akron University. At Gaines she eventually became the head of the accounting department and assisted in the preparation of the first IBM program used. She also created a coding manual and trained personnel to convert their bookkeeping system to bookkeeping machines. By spring of her third year at Akron U., she was struggling to work full-time and maintain good grades, so she dropped out of college, a decision she regretted the rest of her life.
Having grown up together in the same South Akron neighborhood with many other Romanian immigrant families, Silvia reconnected with Paul Yova at an Easter dance in 1950. They began dating in September of that year, and he proposed the following July (1951) on her birthday (July 22). They were married on September 8, 1951 at Presentation of Our Lord Romanian Orthodox Church, and had their dinner/reception at the Mayflower Hotel.
They had three children: Stefanie, Valerie and Gregory. She quit her job during her first pregnancy to devote herself to being a full-time wife, mother and home maker, and she loved that "job" best of all.
In anticipation of helping her children get a good college education, Silvia went back to work in 1970 when her youngest child was 10 years old. During the next 14 years she worked as an accountant and office manager for Akron National Bank, Roetzel and Andress Law Firm, Ted Oakland Driving School, Ohio Prestwick Country Club, and Physicians Weight Loss Centers. She successfully put her three children through college and continued to help them pursue their career goals after they graduated.
Silvia attended Presentation of Our Lord Romanian Orthodox Church her entire life. She sang in the church choir from the age of 13 until she was in her early 60s. Her husband, Paul, who predeceased her in 1997, was an ordained deacon, and the two of them made it a personal ministry to visit the sick and shut-ins of their parish. Silvia continued that ministry after her husband's death until she was diagnosed with lymphoma in 2009.
One of her great joys was being a grandmother, and she took an active role in the lives of her grandchildren from the day they were born until the day she died. She thoroughly enjoyed passing on to them her passion for good food, throwing the best parties, and her eternal optimism. And lest we forget, dark chocolate.
All who knew Silvia know that she was a woman of great strength, discipline, determination, and humor. Many relied upon her as a counselor and "life coach," because she had a way of giving practical advice for almost any challenge. She was a "force to reckon with," and her absence will be greatly felt.
Silvia is survived by her daughters, Stefanie Yova Yazge (V. Rev. Anthony Yazge) of Greensburg, PA. and Valerie Yova of Santa Barbara, CA; son, Gregory Yova (Margaret) of San Diego, CA; grandsons, Matthew and Mark Yazge; and granddaughter, Alexis Yazge; along with 31 nieces and nephews and many beloved godchildren.
Calling hours will be held on Monday, October 24, 2016 from 4 to 6 :30 p.m. followed by the Orthodox Christian Funeral Service at 6:30 p.m. at Presentation of Our Lord Orthodox Church, 3365 Ridgewood Road Fairlawn, Ohio 44333.
In lieu of flowers, please send donations in Silvia’s memory to:
Presentation of Our Lord Church, 3365 Ridgewood Road, Fairlawn, OH 44333,
Project Mexico at www.ProjectMexico.org, or St. Gregory Palamas Monastery at 934 Co Rd 2256, Perrysville, OH 44864 and online at http://sgpm.goarch.org/Monastery/.
(Anthony, Akron, 330-724-1281, www.anthonyfh.com)