Cover photo for Romola Lerma's Obituary
Romola Lerma Profile Photo
1922 Romola 2021

Romola Lerma

May 22, 1922 — April 15, 2021

The path leading to Gramma Romola’s kitchen on Florida Street, is still visible and worn out. It was carved much like a trail in the forest - a prime watering hole, open every day. rain or shine, for 50 years. The path was used mostly by family – hungry, busy or bored, lonely, sick, or down. It was also familiar to friends and neighbors, and friends of friends - just about anyone in town. All were welcome. Gramma’s kitchen was more than sublime chile and beans. Gramma’s house was where you were really welcomed, accepted & listened to. Conversation was easy and advice was not proffered unless requested. Mostly Gramma just offered a smile and a nod to show she understood and felt for you, and then she fed you. A visit reminded you what was important. Having fed and nurtured her community for all those years, it was natural that Romola would die with family praying and singing at her side. Romola was spiritual. If we had a nickel for every time she said the rosary, the family would be rich. If we had another nickel for every prayer, everyone would be rich. She made deposits to her heavenly account throughout the day. St. Joseph and St. Jude were favorite recipients. The day Romola died, she made phone calls; if they answered she said goodbye, and told them she loved them. A lifetime of prayer gave her peace. That was on April 15. Romola was born May 22, 1922. She was baptized with the cold mountain spring water of McNary, Arizona. Her parents were Isabel Dominguez and Bonifacio Gutierrez. She had a brother and sister, Lilly and Rosendo. Isabel and ‘Bony,’ however, did not raise her. She was raised by Adelida and Dave Smith - ‘Lala and Tio.’ Adelida was Isabel’s sister. Romola carried the Smith surname from then on. Her brother drowned when he was a little boy. Bony and Isabel died many years ago. Romola was an excellent student. She graduated 2nd in her class. She was selected Queen of Fiestas Patrias when she was 17. She was elected because she was popular, smart, and pretty. She worked for a local mercantile in McNary. A recently discovered trove of pictures from those days, show she had many suitors as shown by the inscriptions on the back. She married Paul Lerma in December, 1946 in Holbrook. They moved to Flagstaff for Paul’s barber apprenticeship, then back to Holbrook where they lived for 65 years. She worked and retired from the local school district, but she considered her real job that of being the best mother and grandmother she could be. They had 6 children, 15 grandchildren, and 12 great grandchildren. Romola knew every grandchild’s birthday. She also knew the Phoenix Suns schedule and record, by heart. She excelled at watching the Suns while reading and doing word puzzles. But it was the mother–grandmother job she worked and excelled at to the very end. She perfected the job. She was paid well. She got her final raise on April 15, 2021. Her Funeral Mass of Christian Burial will begin 12 Noon, Monday, April 26, 2021, at Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church, 212 E. Arizona in Holbrook, Arizona. The interment will immediately follow at the Holbrook Cemetery.

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Service Schedule

Past Services

Funeral Service

Monday, April 26, 2021

Starts at 12:00 pm (Mountain (no DST) time)

Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church

212 East Arizona Street, Holbrook, AZ 86025

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Graveside Service

Monday, April 26, 2021

Starts at 1:15 pm (Mountain (no DST) time)

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