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Skater embraced life with faith, tenacity

| Thursday, Oct. 4, 2012, 12:44 a.m.
OBIT, obits, Obituary: Arlene Moran, 80, formerly of Monreoville, was a former skater with the Ice Capades, mother of three, interior decorator and volunteer with the Gateway School District. She died Sunday. Courtesy photo.

Time and again, Arlene Moran picked herself up.

She tore a knee ligament as a young performer with the Ice Capades, then endured surgery and months of rehabilitation before going back on tour.

She lost one of her three sons in a murder, so she kept busy volunteering as an aide for autistic children in the Gateway School District. When she began losing her eyesight, she endured injections rather than give up her book clubs and bridge games.

“She didn't want to lose her sight,” said her son, Joe Moran of Hudson, Ohio. “She wanted to battle that like she'd battled all her life.”

Arlene V. Moran died Sunday, Sept. 30, 2012, of heart failure in her home in Murrysville. She was 80.

Growing up in Oakland and attending St. Paul Cathedral High School — now Oakland Catholic — Mrs. Moran gravitated toward the Ice Capades skating academy at Duquesne Gardens next to the school, said her sister, Wynette O'Connell.

Both girls were accepted into training, but only Arlene toured nationally for more than three years as part of the Ice Capades' chorus line, said O'Connell, of Indian Land, S.C.

It took reconnecting with her future husband, Joseph Moran, whom she knew as a teenager, to bring her back to Pittsburgh to stay.

“They were always in each other's hearts. ... Joe and Arlene were a team, it was never Joe without Arlene or Arlene without Joe,” said O'Connell.

In the 1960s, she and a friend started an interior decorating business, and the two dressed lobbies and did window treatments for several Downtown office buildings and Mt. Washington restaurants, her son said.

The family suffered a blow in 1993, when her son, John T. “Jack” Moran, was murdered in West Virginia.

“She decided she needed to occupy herself in doing something good, so she decided, at her age, to work with autistic children as a volunteer,” Joe Moran said.

In addition to her husband, sister and son, Joe, Mrs. Moran is survived by her son Jim, of Greensburg, and 10 grandchildren.

Visitation is 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 p.m. Thursday in Gene H. Corl Funeral Chapel on Northern Pike in Monroeville. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 10:30 a.m. Friday in North American Martyrs Church on Haymaker Road, with interment to follow.

Matthew Santoni is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-380-5625 or msantoni@tribweb.com.

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