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2100 Perkiomen Avenue
Phone: 610-376-7121
Mary Leister

Mary E. Leister (Lykens)

Thursday, December 7th, 1922 - Monday, June 10th, 2019
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Mary E. (Lykens) Leister, 96, of Reading, peacefully left us to be with the Lord on Monday, June 10, 2019. A lifelong advocate of proper etiquette, vocabulary, attire and behavior, she leaves this world at a time when these traits are needed most.
Born in Reading on December 7, 1922, she is the daughter of the late Paul H. and Anna Irene (Sech) Lykens.
Mary graduated from Reading High School, was a secretary at Carpenter Steel and active in the USO through which she met her husband of 54 years, the late James W. Leister.
Known best for her fashion shows and public relations from the 60s through the 90s, “Mrs. L” worked at the C.K. Whitner Dept. Store as the Administrator of the Modern Miss Club.
She founded the Mary Leister Charm and Finishing School in 1979 and continued to host fashion shows and provide instruction into her mid-eighties.
Mary Leister served as Chorister for First E.C. Church at 8th and Court Streets along with active participation in the Salvation Army, Easter Seals, ABWA, National Society for Shut-ins, Berks County Federation of Women’s Club and Publicity Chairman for the Berks Heim Volunteer Service Board.
Mrs. L had spent the last 5 years at Berks Heim where she continued to be a joy to those around her to the end with a caring staff that returned the same respect and admiration.
Mary loved to dance, take trips to Wildwood, NJ beach and went to modified stock car races at the Reading Fairgrounds. She could be seen in younger days on go karts at the shore, and racing in the powder puff derby at the Reading Jr. Stock Car Racing Assoc. on 13th Street Hill.
Mary E. Leister is survived by sons, Craig P. and Mark J. Leister; granddaughters Jessica L. (wife of Andy Whitmoyer), Amanda E. (wife of Jonathan Anisko) and Shannon M. Leister; Great-grandson Lucas F. Anisko and Great-granddaughter Penelope B. Anisko, and sisters Dorothy Ann Lykens and June E. (Lykens) Lantz. Mrs. Leister is predeceased by sister Fannie E. (Lykens) Valentino and brother John P. Lykens.
A Celebration of Life service will be held on Monday, June 17 at 7:00 PM with visitation starting at 5:30 PM at Lutz Funeral Home, Inc., 2100 Perkiomen Ave., Reading. Rev. Eileen Weglarz, Mary’s niece and goddaughter, will preside over services. A private gathering of the family will be held at Indiantown Gap National Cemetery where Mary will be interred with her husband James W. Leister. Lutz Funeral Home, Inc. is in charge of arrangements. For online condolences please visit
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  • Visitation

    June 17th, 2019 | 5:30pm - 7:00pm
    June 17th, 2019 5:30pm - 7:00pm
    Lutz Funeral Home, Inc.
    2100 Perkiomen Avenue
    Reading, PA 19606
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
  • Service

    June 17th, 2019 | 7:00pm
    June 17th, 2019 7:00pm
    Lutz Funeral Home, Inc.
    2100 Perkiomen Avenue
    Reading, PA 19606
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
    Rev. Eileen Weglarz
  • Interment

    Indiantown Gap National Cemetery
    Address Not Available
    Annville, Pennsylvania
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email


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Cindy Ryan

Posted at 09:22am
Although I never met Mary in person, her service was nothing short of a wonderful way to meet this amazing woman. From the minute you entered the funeral home, you could sense the love and admiration her family shares for her. During the service it was also evident of the pride she took in her family. Last evening was truly a celebration of life. While she will be missed, her memory and the moments she shared with everyone will live on in their hearts. I'm sorry I never was able to meet her in person. She also taught her family her love for God and the importance to keep Him in your life. My thoughts and prayers are with you all. God's peace, comfort and healing to you all.

Cindy Ryan

Robbie & Sherri

Posted at 11:48am
Our thoughts and prayers are with you. We know she will be missed but not forgotten.
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Mandy, Jon, Lucas and Penelope

Posted at 10:38am
In loving memory of our Nanny Leister.
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Mandy, Jon, Lucas and Penelope purchased flowers for the family of Mary Leister.



Posted at 07:39am
My condolences to the family. Please be comforted by the Bible's promise of the resurrection. John 5:28,29, Acts 24:15. If you would like to learn more about the wonderful promises in the bible, please visit

SusanAnn Wells Sheidy

Posted at 07:52pm
Mrs. Leister served as my mentor starting when I was 14 years old in 1963 when I was accepted in the Modern Miss Club. This kind, loving woman took me under her wing and her heart and guided me well into my adulthood. She allowed me to grow, learn and of course make mistakes showing me one can learn from them. Mrs. Leister played a role in so many young girls lives that I'm sure she never realized how much she meant to all of us. My children grew to know and love Mrs. Leister and is as proud as I that she was involved in their lives as well. Craig, Mark you have been so blessed to have had a mother and father that wrapped their hearts and lives around you. It is because of them that the two of you are the wonderful young men you are. So many wonderful times are tucked away in my fashion chest of memories. When I open the lid the first person I see will be a beautiful woman wearing a hat, a smile and a personality that only Mary Leister could carry. Thank you for inviting me to be a part of your life. My life has been richly rewarded with your gifts.

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