Gregory Joseph Celia, Jr., 85, of Lancaster, passed away at his home on September 20, 2020 with his loving family by his side. He was born in Lancaster to the late Mary L. (Mingo) and Gregory J. Celia, Sr., who had immigrated from Gasperina, Italy in 1922 at the age of 16.
In his youth Greg served as an altar boy at Sacred Heart of Jesus Church in Lancaster and remained a lifelong member. He graduated from Lancaster Catholic High School in 1953 and earned a bachelor's degree in Sociology from Franklin & Marshall College in 1957. He swam on the F&M championship swim team and was a member of the Sigma Pi Fraternity.
Greg began his career at Lancaster County Farmers National Bank and was then drafted into the United States Army. Upon discharge, he resumed his banking career and after many promotions and mergers retired as Senior Vice President of Human Resources for Hamilton Bank (now Wells Fargo) in 1986. He then started a second career for eight years as a Deputy Sheriff for Lancaster County, a job he greatly enjoyed.
After his banking career, he was appointed to the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission by Governor Dick Thornburgh in 1986 where he held the Office of Secretary and served for 16 years. His other notable achievements included being the youngest person to serve as Director of the PA Bankers Association School of Banking at Bucknell University as well as past President for the Lancaster Jaycees, the Lancaster County Personnel Association, and the Administrative Management Society. Greg continued his service to the community as a member of the Board of Directors for the Mental Health Association and the Italian American Cultural Society. He was also a member of the American Institute of Banking and the Lancaster County Bankers Association.
An avid golfer, Greg was one of the oldest members of Meadia Heights Golf Club, where you could find him regularly playing with his many great friends he enjoyed through the years. He competed in many golf tournaments and traveled annually to Hilton Head and Myrtle Beach for golf vacations. He was also a member of the PBOE 134 – Lancaster Elks where he had many good memories and liked keeping up with sports, especially golf, Eagles football, and boxing. Greg was interested in body building in his youth and continued to keep active at the Lancaster YMCA. He enjoyed deer hunting in Perry County, sailing on the Chesapeake, and spending time at the Jersey shore.
In 2013 he suffered a hemiplegic stroke during an open-heart procedure. Overnight everything changed. He was admired by many in his courageous fight to the end and never ever gave up hope.
Surviving is his wife of 23 years, Sarah "Sally" (Shaw) Celia, his daughters: Monique A. Stief (Michael), Lita M. "Lee" Pelko (Anthony), and Georgia J. Celia (Angel Torres). He is also survived by a granddaughter, Megan C. Graupensperger (Kurt), great-granddaughters Regan and McKinley Graupensperger, and step-grandchildren, David and Christopher Pelko.
The family would like to extend a special thank you to Dr. Kristen Nebel of Peace of Mind Aging and Wellness Specialist for her dedicated care of Greg and his family.
A Memorial Service will be held Friday, October 2, 2020 at 11:00 a.m. under the tent at Charles F. Snyder, Jr. Funeral Home & Crematory, 3110 Lititz Pike, Lititz, PA 17543. Guests will be received prior to the service, starting at 10:00 a.m. Interment will follow at St. Joseph New Catholic Cemetery, where Greg will also receive military honors. To leave a condolence, please visit SnyderFuneralHome.com
A living tribute »