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Ex-YWCA chief upbeat in face of illness

| Saturday, Dec. 14, 2013, 6:25 p.m.
SUBMITTED BY JUSTIN MERRIMAN
Janice A. Merriman

Janice Merriman always remained positive, even as she battled breast cancer, her family and friends recalled.

“What she endured for the past three years, I don't know anybody who could have kept a smile on her face like she did,” said her daughter, Jana Merriman of Greensburg. “She kept fighting. She was the strongest person I know fighting this battle.”

Janice A. Merriman, 57, of South Greensburg, died Friday, Dec. 13, 2013, in Excela Health Westmoreland Hospital.

She graduated from Greensburg Salem High School in 1974, received an associate degree from Westmoreland County Community College and worked for 20 years in the insurance industry. She was a member of First Evangelical Lutheran Church of Greensburg.

“She was the best mom in the world,” Jana Merriman said. “She was the best grandmother in the world. She was the best wife in the world.

“She would do anything for her family and friends. She was our rock. She made everybody and anyone feel welcome in our home,” she added.

Neighbor and friend Bernadette Deutsch sometimes took Mrs. Merriman to her chemotherapy treatments at UPMC CancerCenter at Magee-Womens Hospital. Deutsch, likewise, recalled how upbeat her friend remained, despite her cancer battle or going for treatment. Mrs. Merriman took baked items for those at the center.

“They all knew her. They all knew her by name,” Deutsch said.

“She was probably the most selfless person I know. She was always positive, and she always made everyone feel so important. My two daughters love her dearly,” she added.

Mrs. Merriman was an active member of the YWCA in Greensburg and served as the group's president from June 2012 to June 2013.

Bonnie Lewis, former YWCA executive director, recalled Mrs. Merriman's positive attitude.

“She was never down,” Lewis said. “She always saw the good in everybody. You couldn't help but love her.”

Lewis said she knew Mrs. Merriman was the perfect person to serve as board president as Lewis prepared to retire.

“I knew she would be there to help the next president — and she was — despite going through a serious illness,” Lewis said. “She never let that get in the way. We loved her dearly.”

“Whatever she did — a job or a pro-ject — she put everything into it,” Jana Merriman added.

In addition to her mother, Mary Jane (Johns) Masilli, of Greensburg, Mrs. Merriman is survived by her husband, Mark J. Merriman; a son, Justin M. Merriman, of Oakmont, and his fiancee, Stephanie Strasburg; a daughter, Jana Merriman, of Greensburg; a grandson, Madden Louis Merriman, and his mother, Melissa Merriman, of Greensburg; and a sister, Dr. Terri (Dr. David) Plundo, of Waukee, Iowa.

Friends will be received from 3 to 8 p.m. Monday in Leo M. Bacha Funeral Home, 516 Stanton at Green streets, Greensburg.

A funeral service will begin at 11 a.m. Tuesday in the funeral home with the Rev. Robert A. Free officiating. Interment will follow in Twin Valley Memorial Park.

Bob Stiles is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-836-6622 or bstiles@tribweb.com.

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