Latrobe woman loved travel, history
One year in the late 1990s, Olive Hostovich learned she’d be hosting the extended family for Christmas in Latrobe.
“We came from all over the country,” said her daughter Laura Braun, of Glenmoore, Chester County. “California, from Texas; we lived in Philadelphia; my sister lived in Williamsport; aunts, uncles; it was probably about 35 people.”
Ms. Hostovich started baking cookies in November.
“And she didn’t just make your basic chocolate chip cookies,” Braun said. “The freezer was so full of cookies, she had to start putting them out on the deck.”
That Christmas, the Hostovich family had more than 170 dozen cookies to enjoy.
Olive Hostovich died Thursday, Nov. 14, 2019, of complications from dementia. She was 89.
Mrs. Hostovich was born Aug. 29, 1930, in Latrobe, a daughter of the late James and Malina (Gangemi) Lizza.
Despite a love of travel, she was a lifelong Latrobe resident. In her younger days, she worked as a court stenographer and a den mother between trips with her husband John to places such as Germany and Belgium.
“There were five kids, and when friends would come over, she was like everybody’s mom,” Braun said. “There was a younger girl who lived up the street, and when we were in school she would walk down to visit with my mother and they’d bake. After my dad retired, she would babysit the neighborhood kids in Lawson Heights.”
Mrs. Hostovich had a deep love for gardening, be it flowers or food.
“She planted zinnias, snapdragons, petunias and every other kind of flower every year. She could grow anything,” Braun said. “My grandmother lived two blocks away and had a little canning cellar in her basement, and they’d can tomatoes, pears and everything else from the garden.”
Mrs. Hostovich was also active, walking three miles a day as often as possible. She was a longtime member of the Westmoreland Mall Walkers group.
“She was in really good condition, and that helped the dementia from progressing as fast,” Braun said.
She was also a student of history, taking trips in later years to places such as Washington, D.C., and Annapolis, Md., where two of her grandchildren attended military school.
“We went to Gettysburg and a lot of places like that,” Braun said. “She really loved history.”
Braun said her mother could be a little shy at first, but quickly got over it.
“In her later years, she’d talk with anyone about anything,” she said. “She just loved people. She became such good friends with people where we live in Philadelphia that several are coming across the state for the funeral.”
Mrs. Hostovich is survived by one son, John L. Hostovich of North Wales; four daughters, Laura A. Braun and husband, Robert, of Glenmoore; Ellen A. Grimmett and husband, Eric, of Austin, Texas; Carol M. Koppenhaver and husband, David, of Montoursville; and Lisa Blackburn and husband, James, of Mira Mesa, Calif.; a brother, Arthur B. Lizza of Latrobe; a sister, Vinn Lizza of Latrobe; nine grandchildren; and eight great-grandchildren.
Friends will be received from 3-5 and 7-9 p.m. at John J. Lopatich Funeral Home, 601 Weldon St., Latrobe. An 11:30 a.m. funeral will be held at Saint Vincent Basilica on the Unity Township campus. Interment will follow at St. Mary’s Cemetery.
Patrick Varine is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Patrick at 724-850-2862, [email protected] or via Twitter .