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Greensburg nurse's compassion reflected in her work

Joe Napsha
| Friday, Oct. 27, 2017, 11:35 p.m.

Wanda Horvath's desire to help others came through in her work as a nurse — at Braddock General Hospital during World War II, for private duty patients, working the night shift caring for geriatric patients at Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic in Pittsburgh and as a volunteer for the Association of Retarded Citizens of Westmoreland.

"She had compassion. It was a calling for her. She loved being a professional woman," said daughter Renee E. Nickolas of Austin, Texas.

Wanda Horvath of Greensburg, formerly of North Huntingdon, died Sunday, Oct. 22, 2017, at home. She was 94.

She was born Dec. 19, 1922, in Derry, to the late George M. and Goldie Beck Kuhn.

When she was a child, the family moved to the Irwin area and she graduated from Norwin High School.

Mrs. Horvath went to nursing school under the tutelage of the nuns at Braddock General Hospital and graduated in 1943. As a young nurse, she oversaw patients in one of the hospital wards, her daughter said.

"She was fascinated with how the body works. She loved the science of it," her daughter said.

As a high school student, she dated fellow student George C. Horvath, who was two years older. He joined the Army Air Forces, and the couple wed in June 1944 in Syracuse, N.Y., where he was stationed.

Shortly after their marriage, he was sent overseas to fly from India over the infamous "Hump" — the eastern end of the Himalayan Mountains — to resupply Chinese soldiers, who were fighting Imperial Japanese forces.

The newlyweds, separated by war and half the world away from each other, wrote letters prolifically, her daughter said. The family still has a box of letters they wrote each other, almost on a daily basis, she said.

The letters were a testament to their love. The couple were married for 63 years. George Horvath died in 2007.

Mrs. Horvath was a member of Braddock Hospital Nurses Alumni Association and was a longtime volunteer and former board member of ARC Westmoreland. She was a former member of First United Methodist Church, Irwin.

In addition to daughter Renee Nickolas, Mrs. Horvath is survived by daughters Kaya "Denise" Jacolev of Seattle and Lisa Meri Horvath of Greensburg; five grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren.

A funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday at William Snyder Funeral Home, 521 Main St., Irwin. Interment will follow in Union Cemetery.

Memorials may be made to ARC Westmoreland, 316 Donohoe Road, Greensburg, PA 15601.

Joe Napsha is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-836-5252 or jnapsha@tribweb.com.

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