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Helene (Gran) Salreno

June 16, 1920 ~ November 30, 2020 (age 100) 100 Years Old
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Youngstown - Helene Gran Salreno, lived to celebrate her 100th birthday June 2020 then passed away November 2020, following complications of a fall and Covid-19. 

She was a devout Catholic and supporter of the church and its’ missions.  Helene was healthy and active until the last few months of her life.  A legendary businesswoman, Helene was the first female Chairperson of Curbstone Coaches; 1998 – 2020, after being appointed first female to the Board of Directors in 1995.  West-siders readily recognized Helene for her infamous flip hair style and as owner/proprietor of the Gran Professional Building (site of the former Schenley Theater) and Gran Lanes Bowling on Mahoning Avenue. 

Helene had three brothers and was just as industrious in business as the men, blazing the trail for women business owners.  In 1941, she was hired at the United States Engineering Department and was the first female to work as the Head of Position, Classification of War Department.  One day while living in Washington, DC, President Franklin D. Roosevelt stopped his motorcade to give her a ride when he saw her walking alone one evening.  Helene loved Washington, DC, her job and was looking forward to making a life there, but the progression of World War II in 1941 and the need to help with the family business forced her to resign and return to Youngstown; where she soon became the first female to operate the Schenley Neighborhood Theatre.  She traveled weekly to Cleveland with other Youngstown theatre proprietors to purchase films for the big screen.  When the movie industry changed, Papa Gran made the decision to exit the theater business and started Gran Lanes Bowling.  Helene, her father, brother Eddie, and son Jack built and later with her husband, Donald, managed the business for many years, until Helene and Donald sold the business and later sold the Gran Professional Building to enjoy retirement; still residing on the west side.  Lifetime involvement, achievement and often times being first female with business and charitable organizations included:  Ohio State Theaters’ Association; Mahoning Valley Bowling Proprietors, President for 25 years; Ohio State Bowling Proprietors:  Executive Board and Achievement Award; Youngstown Women’s Bowling Association: Member Emeritus and Hall of Fame Inductee; Youngstown Men’s Bowling Association, Hall of Fame Board two terms; Youngstown Junior Bowling Association; Ohio State Bowling Council Pioneer Award and Hall of Fame Inductee; National Association of Female Executives; West Side Merchants & Civic Association; Mahoning National Bank-Advisory Board 25 years; Muscular Dystrophy 15 years and President for one year; Italian American War Vets Auxiliary;  Special Service Award Eastern Orthodox Society 1982; Regional Chamber Athena Award Nominee 2005.

Helene was preceded in death by her parents; brothers: George, William (Bill), and Edward (Eddie) and their wives Peggy, Eloise and later Dee (February 2022); and husband Donald Salreno, May 2020. 

She leaves a son: John G. Bellan (Jane) of Dallas, nieces and nephews from both the Gran and Salreno families, and numerous friends who loved Helene and Donald like family.  Family friends (Mary Jo Connelly, Chris (Mary) Johnson, Don (Denise) Johnson and niece Cynthia Gran)

Helene’s family extend gratitude for the loving care and concern provided to Donald and Helene by:   Dr. David Rich, their physician; Father Edward Noga, former pastor of St. Patrick’s Church and Deacon Jesse (Cathy) McClain; neighbors Mr. James (Ruby) Black; extended family Dee Gran (2022) and her grandson Gregory Beers; Helen Mays; Tom Miller from Curbstone Coaches; Cathy Charko; Liz; Sandy; and Tony. 

May she now Rest In Peace.  

There were private funeral services held in December of 2020 at the Rossi & Santucci Funeral Home, Boardman with Father Kevin Peters as officiant. 

Burial took place at Calvary Cemetery, Youngstown. 

Arrangements have been entrusted to the professional care of the Rossi & Santucci Funeral Home, 4221 Market St., Boardman. 

Family and friends may visit www.rossisantuccifh.com to view this obituary and send condolences to Helene’s family.

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Helene (Gran) Salreno, please visit our floral store.

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Rossi & Santucci Funeral Home
4221 Market St.
Youngstown, OH 44512


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