Serena H. Leiser-Lanz
Westborough – Serena H. Leiser- Lanz passed away Monday, Jan. 17, 2011, with her daughter by her side. Serena was the beloved wife of William M. Leiser, who predeceased her in 1966. She is survived by her two children: William C. Leiser and his wife, Elaine, of Weston and Serena E. Leiser of Westborough. Serena also leaves four grandchildren: William C. Leiser, Jr. of Needham; Jennifer Lindstrom and her husband, Mark, of Carney, MI; Anne Reeves and her husband, David, of Coventry RI; Chris Jamrock of Omaha, NB. Also five great- grandchildren: Christopher and Matthew Lindstrom, Kayleigh and Jackson Reeves, and James Shipman.
Serena was born in Davos, Switzerland, to the late Lena (Bachli) and Karl August Gerst. After a quiet life in a small Swiss village, her life changed dramatically in 1944 when she met Capt. William (Bill) Leiser of the U.S. Army Air Corps who was interned in Switzerland during Word War II. When asked if it was love at first sight, Serena would say “No, but it definitely was at second sight.” At the end of the war, Bill was shipped back to the U.S. and it took six months but he was finally able to bring Serena and 3-month-old Billy, home to Watertown. Serena, Bill and Billy were featured on the front page of the Boston Herald as she was the first Swiss war bride to arrive in Boston.
Serena and Bill eventually settled in Weston, where they raised their children, moving to Long Island in 1963 for Bill’s job. Sadly Bill, the love of her life, died in 1966 at only 47; after which Serena returned to Switzerland, where she started a new phase of her life with a successful career in retail. In 1975 Serena married Dr. Theodore Lanz and lived with him in Hofstetten, Switzerland, until his death in 2000.
Serena then entered yet another phase of her life when she returned to the U.S., taking up residence at The Willows in Westborough to be near her daughter who lives in Westborough and her son in Weston. She lived a comfortable life at the Willows making many new friends there, and at the Evangelical Congregational Church, very quickly, as was her way. When dementia became a part of her life she moved in with her daughter where she was cared for with love the last 15 months of her life. Her days where made happier by the company of her dog, Filou, who was devoted to her.
Serena was a strong, capable and caring woman who overcame many hardships in her life with her positive attitude. She made friends easily with her intelligence, wit and quick sense of humor. Her sense of style and ability to predict trends made her very successful in her career in retail in Switzerland. She was an avid gardener and her homes in Weston and Hofstetten were filled with living color inside and out. She will be missed terribly by family and friends.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Serena’s name to the Evangelical Congregational Church of Westborough Memorial Fund, 8 Church St., Westborough, MA 01581
A celebration of Serena’s life will be held on Saturday, Jan. 29, at 3 p.m. at the Evangelical Congregational Church, corner of West Main St. and Church St., in Westborough.
The Rand-Harper-Pickering Westborough Funeral Home, 62 West Main St., is assisting the family with the arrangements.
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