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Latrobe woman's passion was helping Pittsburgh's homeless

Mary Ann Thomas
| Sunday, Dec. 17, 2017, 10:57 p.m.
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Helping to bake pumpkin rolls to raise money to buy food and clothing for the homeless was among the passions of Lisa Kay McMaster Burns, 64, of Latrobe, who died of cancer Friday at her home.

“She was a very loving and compassionate person who was honest and didn't put on airs,” said her husband of 21 years, James Burns.

Born in Pontiac, Mich., Mrs. Burns was the daughter of the late Byron D. “Bud” McMaster Jr. and Ernestine Fetter McMaster.

Earlier in her life, Mrs. Burns worked as a maid at the Rolling Rock Club in Ligonier Township, where she met Bob Hope and told stories of a few ghosts, her husband said.

Among the visitors to the private club, Mrs. Burns remembered the Arab sheiks visiting in the summer and how she would have to light a fireplace because they were cold, according to her husband.

Her passion for cats and helping the homeless in Pittsburgh marked her later life, according to family.

She was active with Love Abounds, a ministry to the homeless associated with her church, Light on the Hill Outreach in Donegal.

Mrs. Burns helped her older sister, Alice Roadman of Stahlstown, make food to raise money to pay for the supplies of clothes and food for the homeless in Pittsburgh.

“She would stay overnight a few nights a week so we could make candy, fudge and pumpkin rolls to make the money to buy socks and shoes,” Roadman said.

Once a month, Mrs. Burns would visit the homeless under the Boulevard of the Allies bridge, and she had a few of them she liked to catch up with regularly, according to her family.

“She was a very kind and loving and a giving person,” Roadman said of her “baby sister,” the youngest of five children.

“People say that kind of thing, but I know with Lisa, it's very true.”

In addition to her husband and sister, Mrs. Burns is survived by sister Brenda Stouffer of Latrobe and brother Barry McMaster of Champion.

Mrs. Burns' funeral will be held at the J. Paul McCracken Funeral Chapel Inc. in Ligonier at 11 a.m. Monday with the Rev. Ben Wiltrout officiating. Burial will follow in the Stahlstown Cemetery.

Memorial contributions can be sent to Love Abounds, 396 Calvary Church Road, Acme.

Mary Ann Thomas is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 724-226-4691, mthomas@tribweb.com or via Twitter @MaThomas_Trib.

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