Phyllis Ruth Leventhal, 85, of Warrington, who with her husband, Norman, ran the Warrington Motor Lodge for half a century, died Friday, Dec. 2, of ovarian cancer at the Bridges at Warwick, Jamison.
In 1954, the Leventhals opened the hospitality business on Route 611. The lodge, its banquet room, diner, and family restaurant provided a homey atmosphere for staff, and a home-away-from-home for travelers, many of whom became the Leventhals' friends.
Though the lodge's business card seems quaint now with its boast of "free television, children's playground, deluxe suites," the lodge was state of the art at the time and Mrs. Leventhal a perfect hostess.
Kurt Schnaubelt, former desk clerk at the motor lodge, said, "She has given our world a wonderful example of what a great woman should be - loving, kind, diligent, smart."
She had an endless capacity to love," the family wrote in a tribute. "Whether you were one of her children, someone she met by chance, or anyone in between, she made you feel like you were the most special person in the room."
Born to Frank and Stella Block in Pawtucket, R.I., Mrs. Leventhal was the youngest of three girls.
From an early age, she wanted to be a mother and a preschool teacher. She graduated from Lesley College in Cambridge, Mass., with a bachelor's degree in early education.
She met Norman Leventhal on a blind date. Once he learned he had competition for her hand in marriage, he proposed after just seven dates.
"Will you have five children with me?" he asked. She agreed, and the two married.
As it turned out, they did raise five children; a son, Joey, their second child, died in infancy.
After a brief stop in St. Clair Shores, Mich., the Leventhals moved back east to run the motor lodge with Norm's brother, Jack, and their offspring.
In addition to operating a business and rearing a large family, Mrs. Leventhal led the sisterhood at Congregation Tiferes B'nai Israel in Warrington, was active in the Soviet Jewry movement, and was president of the local Hadassah chapter.
She rarely missed her children's athletic events, plays, and concerts.
No matter how many people she was cooking for, there was always room for one more at the table.
"On several occasions, guests of the lodge would be invited for dinner and quickly became part of the family - friendships that have endured more than 40 years," the family wrote.
In the 1980s, the Leventhals met Noach Braun, a young Israeli army dog trainer who wanted to start the Israel Guide Dog Center for the Blind. The Leventhals supported the dream, and as a result, the center has flourished for 25 years.
Besides her husband, Mrs. Leventhal is survived by children Frank, Michael, Jeffrey, Steven, and Amy; eight grandchildren; and a sister.
Services were Monday, Dec. 5.
Donations may be made to the Israel Guide Dog Center for the Blind, 968 Easton Rd., Suite H, Warrington, Pa. 18976.