Octogenarian has worked in various spots at Westmoreland County Courthouse for over 30 years
Myrna McCloskey is a familiar figure in the halls of the Westmoreland County Courthouse.
McCloskey, who seems to be on a first-name basis with everyone she passes, has worked there for decades.
The admitted shopaholic's stylish appearance makes her a true “fashionista,” said Kristina Rugh, an administrative aide for county Commissioner Tyler Courtney.
“Nobody believes she is the age she is,” Rugh said.
McCloskey, 80, tried retiring more than 10 years ago. After the death of her husband, David McCloskey, she returned to work, assigned to different offices on a part-time, as-needed basis.
“I started in 1979 as a secretary in the (former) public information office. I was filling in for someone on leave. I didn't know anything about politics. I was told, ‘We need you for three months.' She (the employee on leave) never came back. I never left,” McCloskey said, laughing.
She began her secretarial career with the Elliott Co. in Jeannette, staying for six years.
“I graduated from Jeannette High School with the Class of 1951 on a Friday, and I went to work on Monday,” McCloskey said.
Her engagement announcement was met with a pink slip, common for the times.
“I got married, and I had to leave. We were so stupid, we said, ‘Thank you,' and left,” McCloskey said.
The newlyweds settled in Hempfield's West Point, where she still resides.
“We had a starter home. It was small, and I filled it with (five) children,” she said.
As the last one entered school, she took a secretarial position with Austin Powder Co. on Pellis Road.
McCloskey went on an interview for what she thought was a cosmetics company. “It was explosives,” she said.
After working in a real estate office, she moved to the courthouse, where her career for the past 35 years has included posts in the now-closed media relations and information and referral departments.
“I'm the only survivor. They were stuck with me,” McClo-skey said.
Soon after her arrival, workers at the Westmoreland Manor county nursing home went on strike.
Courthouse staff rotated assignments at the Hempfield facility, performing previously unimaginable duties.
“I went from putting out information to putting out bedpans,” McCloskey said.
She worked with the Secret Service during a county visit from then-President Jimmy Carter and coordinated a Billy Graham trip during Operation Desert Storm.
McCloskey has long worked on the courthouse's ceremonial events, from swearing-in ceremonies for judges to naturalization services for new citizens.
She and Al Dettore, with whom McCloskey formerly worked in media relations, started a “take your child to work” event for county employees. “She's such a good liaison between myself and working with the other departments when it comes to ‘Child Government Day,' ” said Vera Spina, county chief clerk.
McCloskey remains a stalwart supporter of Jeannette. “In its heyday, there was nothing better,” she said.
She spends free time on movie and dinner outings, often with high school friends.
“The only reason I don't have a computer at home is I do not want to stay home,” she joked.
Her duties include conducting courthouse tours for school children and other visitors.
The four-story, granite building and its marble interior will be featured on the Pennsylvania Cable Network in 2015 as part of a series featuring county courthouses from across the state.
McCloskey will escort the camera crews.
Deborah Waller, the county's human resources associate director, said McCloskey's experience as an employee, and knowledge of courthouse and county history, is invaluable.
“She's a star, and she doesn't want to be. That's Myrna,” Waller said, laughing.
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.
- Acme man’s ephemeral sculptures appear to defy laws of physics
- A family’s flag flies again in Mt. Pleasant
- Hempfield train crash search called off; no evidence found
- Westmoreland used car dealers indicted in fraud
- Motorcyclist killed after striking pole in Penn Township
- Online donors help Hempfield teen whose wallet was stolen
- Numerous Westmoreland communities to observe Memorial Day
- Westmoreland County Blind Association building brimming with activity
- Youngwood veteran officially joins the Class of 1945
- Defense for Irwin man charged in fatal wreck seeks expert to aid in his defense
- ‘Dope sick’ man in custody in Mt. Pleasant stick-up