Longtime volunteer Stiltenpole energizes Excela Frick Hospital
The small gold pin on her blue smock reads 8,000 volunteer hours, a number Mary Lou Stiltenpole has since exceeded at Excela Frick Hospital's hospitality shop.
During a break from taking orders, pouring coffee and busing tables, Stiltenpole, 89, said she began volunteering at Frick in 1977.
“We closed the store in May 1977, and I came here in September 1977,” she recalled.
Nevin's Market, which she and her late husband, Nevin, opened in Scottdale in 1955, was referred to by many as “Mary Lou's,” she said.
Students ending their day at the former Southmoreland Junior High School or heading to nearby Loucks Park regularly dropped by to purchase snacks or use the phone, Stiltenpole said.
“They would call their mothers and say, ‘I'm ready to come home. Come get me.' I knew every kid in Scottdale,” she said.
A lifelong Scottdale resident, she followed several friends' leads in volunteering at Frick.
“For many years, I took a shopping cart around,” she said.
She wheeled her mobile shop full of treats, magazines and baby clothes around to patients' rooms on several floors.
“We had a maternity ward at that time. I could do $100 in sales in five hours,” she said.
Stiltenpole volunteers at the hospital one day a week.
Former store customers, now adults, often recognize her.
“I meet a lot of nice people,” she said.
And she flirts with a few of them.
Nodding at two men seated nearby, Stiltenpole smiled.
“I get to talk to the good-looking guys,” she said, earning a couple of blushing smiles in return.
Gary Moidel, Frick food and nutrition services manager, said Stiltenpole organizes supplies, stocks shelves and answers the phone.
“We love having her energy and efforts in the shop,” he said.
Her supervisor, Debby Keslar, moved from Texas to Scottdale with her husband, Jerry, in 1974.
Keslar said Stiltenpole, a friend of her husband's family, was the first person she met after moving to Scottdale.
A Navy veteran, Jerry Keslar served in the Vietnam War. He often thought of Stiltenpole while overseas, she said.
“In bad situations, you think of happy times. For him, it was Mary Lou and her store,” Keslar said.
“I'm in charge of all of the buying here. But Mary Lou knows so much about candy and dealing with sales reps. ... She keeps them on their toes. She will tell me, ‘That won't sell, Debby. Don't even bother.' And I trust her,” Keslar said.
An active member of Mount Pleasant's Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, Stiltenpole enjoys gardening, reading, playing bridge and baking.
“When you get to be my age, you don't have a lot of friends that are healthy. So I take a couple of muffins here and a couple of muffins there,” she said.
Stiltenpole has no plans to retire from her volunteer position.
“When I can't drive, that's when I won't be here,” she said.
Mary Pickels is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-836-5401 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
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.
- Pittsburgh man pleads guilty in Monessen shooting
- Trick-or-treat in Mt. Pleasant set for Sunday
- Kin of 2013 DUI crash victim in Hempfield lose young family in fire
- North Huntingdon church shaken by youth pastor’s child porn rap
- Hempfield killer Stahl ordered to pay for slain wife’s funeral
- Westmoreland group gets pet oxygen masks for area fire departments
- East Huntingdon man, 91, finds 2nd career as a woodworker
- Mt. Pleasant residents voice support for Zilli as borough police chief
- Westmoreland prison online visit program delayed again
- DNA evidence in alleged June 2013 rape leads to Latrobe man’s arrest
- Education issues highlight 57th House District race