PRESS PHOTOS BY ED COURRIERThe Troutman family bask in the warmth of support offered by friends and coworkers April 22. From left are: Rosemary, Joe, Lina and Grace. The sisters attend Parkland High School. Grace cradles the family pets, Scotty and Toby. Copyright - © Ed Courrier
Dani Turner waves a “You are all in our hearts and prayers“ handmade sign with her daughter Elizabeth at the wheel as they pause at the Troutman residence. “Holo” refers to their employer, Hobby Lobby. Behind them, coworker Rhonda Loder waits her turn. Copyright - © Ed Courrier
Coworker Renée Faust and her daughter Sabrina offer a potted plant to the Troutman family. Copyright - © Ed Courrier
Former Hobby Lobby store manager Matt Albright, of Lower Macungie Township with his daughter Emma, who formerly worked at the Trexlertown outlet at the wheel, hands a sympathy card to Rosemary Troutman. Copyright - © Ed Courrier
From left, Rosemary and Grace Troutman hold a picture of their maternal grandfather, Luigi Tessitore, who died April 20. The picture was given to them by former Hobby Lobby employee Maryann Fehr and her partner Gerald Lichtenwalner, of Lower Macungie Township. Copyright - © Ed Courrier
Lina Troutman receives a gift bag filled with a pineapple angel food cake and peanut butter bars from Barb Stein, of Emmaus. Stein and Dani Turner organized the condolence event. Copyright - © Ed Courrier
Coworker Rhonda Loder waves to the Troutman family as she passes. Copyright - © Ed Courrier
Maryann Fehr, of Lower Macungie Township, a former coworker of Lina Troutman, with her partner, Gerald Lichtenwalner at the wheel, offers support to the Troutman family as they pass the residence. Copyright - © Ed Courrier
Coworker Hannah Dennis offers her condolences to the Troutmans as she pauses at the end of their driveway. Copyright - © Ed Courrier
Jay Johnson offers the Troutman family words of comfort on a second pass by the Troutman residence. Copyright - © Ed Courrier
Coworkers and friends take a different route to offer condolences
First came the pain of being furloughed from her full-time job at Hobby Lobby in March. Then arrived the worse pain of learning her 66-year-old father in Naples, Italy, just passed away from Stage IV cancer. This has been a rough spring for Lina Troutman and her family.
A procession of more than a dozen vehicles filled with friends, coworkers and former coworkers came to their emotional rescue.
Organized by Dani Turner and Barb Stein, the well-wishers met at the Trexlertown Plaza parking lot, then traveled in a funeral procession to the Troutman residence on Wild Mint Lane in Allentown.
Lina, her husband Joe and their teenaged daughters Rosemary and Grace, gratefully received the heartfelt sympathy expressed by those who stopped, vehicle by vehicle, to present them with words of comfort, cards, flowers and homemade signs.
Since the Hobby Lobby Trexlertown store opened in fall of 2013, Troutman was the person who regularly brought baked goods and other treats to work for her coworkers. She was also the one who would take the initiative to collect funds for flowers and gifts for those who were ill or lost a loved one.
Due to Gov. Tom Wolf’s ‘non-essential’ business closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Hobby Lobby furloughed its employees March 19. Stein, who had transferred to the Phillipsburg store, was furloughed when New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy followed suit shortly afterward.
Luigi Tessitore, born Oct. 12, 1952, died April 20, 2020, while battling Stage IV cancer in Naples, Italy, leaving behind his wife, Rosa Diretto. Their daughter Lina married U.S. Navy veteran Joe Troutman while he was active and stationed in Italy.
The Troutmans shared their friends’ drive-by greetings with Diretto via smartphone. The recently widowed Italian grandmother called out “Ciao!” to all those within earshot.