Hearts Love 08

Ilona W. (Walko) Gerson

March 16, 1938 ~ December 14, 2020 (age 82)


YOUNGSTOWN -  Ilona W. Gerson, 82, of Youngstown, former president of Mahoning Lumber Center of Florida, Inc., entered eternal life on December 14, 2020 after a valiant and lengthy battle with pancreatic cancer.

Ilona was born March 16, 1938 in Youngstown, Ohio, the daughter of John M. and Mary Koneval Walko.  She graduated from Holy Name School, Chaney High School and received a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics from Youngstown State University.  As very few jobs were available to women in the business field when she graduated YSU in 1961, Ilona pursued teaching and taught at Jackson-Milton Elementary School for five years and at Youngstown State University for two years in their beginning entrepreneurship program.  She worked, alongside her husband, the late William J, Gerson, in their family-owned business and advised and greatly assisted her daughter, Attorney Rebecca M. Gerson with her private law practice.  She and her daughter also owned Dolce Vita, LLC, an event design company.  Ilona was a member of the former Junior Guild of St. Elizabeth Hospital, Youngstown Panhellenic Association and Phi Mu Sorority.  Along with her husband, she was a member of Temple Tifereth Israel in Cleveland and Our Lady of Mount Carmel Basilica in Youngstown.  

Ilona leaves cherished memories of her kindness, enthusiasm, strong social conscience and grace to her daughter, Attorney Rebecca M. Gerson, her Godson, Thomas P. Koneval, various cousins and numerous friends and business associates.  Everyone who met Ilona was immediately attracted to her magnetic personality.  Ilona also leaves a profound void to be filled only by vivid memories of her love of politics, art, music, travel, the beach, the night sky and God.

She is predeceased by her husband, William who died October 25, 2019.

Family and friends are invited to a Mass of Christian burial on January 6, 2021 at 10:00 AM at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Basilica, 343 Via Mt. Carmel Avenue, Youngstown, with the Very Rev. Monsignor Michael J. Cariglio officiating.

The family, funeral home and church will be practicing social distancing and proper health protocols. Due to the continued and increasing spread of Covid-19, the 6-foot social distancing rule will be honored, and all guests, must wear a mask.

The Gerson family understands if you feel uncomfortable or if you are unable to attend, please keep them and Ilona in your thoughts and prayers.

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

The family would like to extend its gratitude to Dr. David Bajor, University Hospital Seidman Cancer Center, Hospice Home Care, Briarfield at Ashley Circle and to the numerous friends and family who supported Ilona during these difficult past 19 months.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that any material contributions be made to Our Lady of Mount Carmel Basilica, 343 Via Mt. Carmel, Youngstown, in Ilona’s memory.

Family and friends may visit www.rossisantucci.com to view this obituary, sign the guest book and send condolences to Ilona’s family.

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Ilona W. (Walko) Gerson, please visit our floral store.


Mass of Christian Burial
January 6, 2021

10:00 AM
Our Lady of Mount Carmel Basilica
343 Via Mt. Carmel Dr.
Youngstown, OH 44505


Our Lady of Mount Carmel Basilica
343 Via Mt. Carmel, Youngstown OH 44505

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