Lena Palmarella O’Toole

We are sad to announce the loss of one of our founders Lena Palmarella O’Toole.

We are grateful to her for her contribution to the community and her love and support of Candlelight even after her retirement.

This is just a portion of her obituary. To view in full please visit

In 1969, Lena participated in the creation of Delaware’s first dinner theater – Candlelight Music Dinner Theatre in Ardentown− with her husband and his partner, Julian Borris and wife Annabelle. Lena was Board Secretary and office manager for 31 years until Lena & John’s retirement in 2000. Actors and audience members remember her hospitality, enthusiasm, and steady hand in managing reservations, finances, as well as a few notable on-stage appearances, and even assistant directing a few productions over the years.

She is survived by her daughters Kathleen (spouse: John Ruthrauff), Laura (spouse: Stephen Meade), a son Michael O’Toole and her beloved grandson, Christian D. Meade, many nieces and nephews and loving friends. Besides her beloved husband John, Lena was predeceased by her dear son Kevin (2018). The family would like to especially thank the many caregivers and generous friends who surrounded Lena with love and support in recent years.

Though Lena loved flowers, she requested that any memorial contributions be sent to Faithful Friends or Compassionate Care Hospice who assisted her in John’s care and also cared for Lena in her last days, and to The Candlelight Theatre (now a non-profit).

For online condolences visit: www. mccreyandharra.com

If you are contributing to The Candlelight Theatre in Lena’s name, please send a check to the theatre with a notation that it is in her memory or call the theater to donate by credit card 302-475-2313.

The Candlelight Theatre 2208 Millers Road, Ardentown, DE 19810