Share This Page

Former Norwin Star reporter Brokenbek passes away

| Wednesday, Dec. 26, 2012, 8:58 p.m.

Former Norwin Star reporter Michelle Brokenbek was passionate about writing for local community newspapers.

“She was very active and knew a lot of people in the community,” said photographer Lillian DeDominic, who worked with Brokenbek for about 20 years.

“She had a big heart and really cared about people and the newspaper.”

Brokenbek, 61, of North Huntingdon, died at home Sunday, Dec. 16, 2012, after a long battle with cancer.

She retired from Trib Total Media, which owns the Norwin Star, in 2008 after she found out she was sick.

Brokenbek took pride in fashioning feature stories about people in the community. She wrote for and was a copy editor for several weekly community newspapers in addition to the Norwin Star as part of the Gateway Newspapers group. She was known for her sharp eye for detail ­— and she didn't shy away from arguing about a point of style or grammar.

DeDominic, of Monroeville, described Brokenbek as “the ultimate professional.” Brokenbek also served as a mentor to young reporters, she said.

Former Gateway Newspapers sportswriter Eric Poole of Ellport said Brokenbek took him and others under her wing to help them develop their skills as reporters.

“In a room full of journalism neophytes, Michelle was like a second mother to a lot of us,” Poole said.

But Brokenbek always made sure that her family was her priority, DeDominic said.

“Family was always a major part of her life,” DeDominic said. “She always put them first, especially when her kids were growing up.”

Brokenbek is survived by her husband, Duane Brokenbek; her children, Leah Leber and her husband, Ben; Marc Brokenbek, and his wife, Leighann; Seth Brokenbek and his wife, Jill; and Shana Tokarski and her husband, Marc; and grandchildren Isaac and Cianna Brokenbek, Brooks Tokarski, and Jayna and Alanna Leber.

Services were handled by the James W. Shirley Funeral Home in North Huntingdon. Interment took place at Elrod Cemetery in McKeesport. In lieu of flowers or donations, Michelle had asked those willing to make a contribution to take an old friend to dinner instead.

Brad Pedersen is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 8626, or bpedersen@tribweb.com.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.