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‘She was my role model’: Mother of state Sen. Lisa Boscola dies

Lisa Boscola and her mother, Anna Stofko
Lisa Boscola
State Sen. Lisa Boscola, left, and her mother Anna Stofko. Stofko, 86, died Monday, June 17, 2024, at Saucon Valley Manor in Hellertown. Boscola said her mother had a tremendous influence on her life. “If it wasn’t for her I wouldn't be a state senator,” Boscola said.

BETHLEHEM, Pa. — Anna Stofko, a lifelong Bethlehem Democrat whose involvement in local politics sparked her daughter’s career in the state Legislature, died Monday at age 86.

Stofko – the mother of state Sen. Lisa Boscola, D-Northampton/Lehigh — instilled in her family the characteristic of giving back to the community, Boscola said Wednesday.

“If it wasn’t for her I wouldn't be a state senator,” she said. “She was always active and volunteering — in politics, in civic life. She never stopped. She was my role model.”

For decades Stofko, the wife of a steelworker at Bethlehem Steel, served on the Northampton County Democratic Committee and Pennsylvania Democratic State Committee.

She belonged to the Bethlehem Garden Club and was a longtime volunteer for Musikfest and the Zoellner Arts Center.

Boscola said she often tagged along as a girl to her mother’s political functions and League of Women Voters meetings. In 1994, Boscola was 32 and working as deputy court administrator for Northampton County when she decided to run for an open state House seat.

She said her mother knocked on thousands of doors and introduced her to many people leading up to the Democratic primary against longtime county councilman Ladd Siftar Jr.

“She was go, go, go,” said Boscola, who served two terms in the state House and is in her seventh term in the Senate. “It was an uphill battle but she was constantly out there in the primary.

“I learned that hard work pays off. You just have to get out there. That’s what I did and so did my mom, my dad and my husband. We did it as a team.”

“I’m completely my mom. Everybody sees it. Everybody says it. I’m going to miss her so much.”
State Sen. Lisa Boscola, D-Northampton/Lehigh

Stofko graduated from the old Bethlehem High School in 1955. More than 20 years later she earned an accounting certificate from Northampton Community College. She worked 25 years as an accountant for Northampton County and became a diehard supporter of NCC.

“Because she received her accounting certificate from NCC she kept giving back to the college and served on the alumni association for 25 years. She never forgot her roots at NCC for helping raise her family up,” Boscola said.

“I was the first one to to go to college because my father and mother dedicated themselves to working hard and saving up and getting their kids to college,” she said. “She was full of life in everything she did. She went to 17, 18 countries in traveling the world and never stopped, and I would say was a political pioneer.”

'A political family'

Stofko counted among her favorites the late Mayor Paul Marcincin, late state Sen. Jeanette Reibman and late Lt. Gov. Catherine Baker Knoll, who served in the Rendell administration. National political figures she adored included John F. Kennedy Jr., Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, Boscola said.

“We were a political family,” Boscola said, “but she also had us involved in the community. She had me on various campaigns just volunteering. That’s how I got started.”

Stofko had been in ill health recently and died at Saucon Valley Manor in Hellertown.

Besides Boscola and her husband Edward, she is survived by her son, Will Power, and wife Rachel, of Freemansburg; and two grandsons. A son, David Lee Stofko, died in 2002.

Boscola said she’s comforted by the memories and legacy left by the family matriarch.

“Everybody says ‘You’re just like your mom.’ She always said I have a funnier sense of humor than her but she was funny on her own,” Boscola said. “I’m completely my mom. Everybody sees it. Everybody says it. I’m going to miss her so much.”

Funeral services

Calling hours are 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday at Cantelmi Long Funeral Home, 500 Linden St., Bethlehem.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 11 a.m. Friday at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Church, 3219 Santee Road, Bethlehem Township.

Burial will be at Holy Saviour Cemetery.

According to her obituary, memorial contributions may be made in Stofko’s name to the Northampton Community College Foundation, 3835 Green Pond Road, Bethlehem, PA 18020; or at www.northampton.edu/online-giving.