Leo M. Pola, of Keuka Park, died December 28, 2018, at his home.
Funeral services will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 19 at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, 179 Main St., Penn Yan.
A native of Sandwich, Mass. on Cape Cod, he came to New York State to attend college. After graduating from Cornell University, he worked in restaurant management and computer services before retiring from Wayne-Finger Lakes BOCES. He resided with his sister, Sue Tierney and her husband Peter Tierney, and helped to raise his nephew and niece, Peter Tierney and Kimberly Tierney.
He was an active member of St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Penn Yan, serving as acolyte director, treasurer, and member of the vestry. He helped launch the church’s annual summer arts camp, Rise! Creative Camp, cooking in the camp kitchen.
For many years, he ran the pillow fight and archery booths at the Sterling Renaissance Festival, where he discovered a love for improvisational street theater as well as folk and festival music.
He was also a regular player in the annual Dickens Christmas in Skaneateles, portraying Mr. Benjamin Loudlybellows, the town crier.
Always a creative spirit, the internet allowed him to share his creations with a wide, international community where he was fondly known as MMario. Knitting and crochet were lifelong hobbies, and he created hundreds of patterns for lace shawls.
The sixth of nine children born to Margaret and Carlo Pola, he is survived by all of his siblings, Carlo Pola and wife, Karen; Jan Waggoner and husband, Fred; Sue Tierney; Dianne Pola and Martin Hewlett; Nino Pola and wife, Betty; Lauri Hall and Ken Lanagan; Velia Pola and husband, Joe Steele; Tony Pola and wife, Allison Liset; and numerous nieces, nephews, and godchildren.
He was preceded in death by his parents and his brother-in-law, Peter Tierney.
Memorial donations in Leo’s name may be made to St. Mark’s Episcopal Church.