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Trailblazing detective became bank fraud expert

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By Jerry Vondas
Saturday, Dec. 1, 2012, 7:04 p.m.
 

When Mary Eichinger joined Mt. Lebanon's police department in 1981, she made history as the department's first sworn female police officer.

“She was a trailblazer who fit into the job,” said Susan Morgans, a spokeswoman for the municipality,

“She was a tough person, who nobody would mess with. Most of all, she had the respect of her fellow officers.”

Mary Kay Eichinger of Mt. Lebanon, a former Mt. Lebanon police officer who earned the International Association of Financial Crime Investigator's “Officer of the Year” in 2002, died of cancer on Thursday, Nov. 29, 2012, in the Greenery Special Care Center in Canonsburg. She was 56.

Ms. Eichinger earned the respect of citizens for her compassion and willingness to lend a helping hand, said her sister, Barbara Eichinger of Mt. Lebanon.

That concern and compassion for others resonated with her love of animals to the extent that she would adopt a dog or a cat that was considered not adoptable, Eichinger said.

“And if that dog or cat needed surgery, my sister would have it done,” Eichinger added.

Officer Eichinger was promoted to the rank of senior police officer. As a detective for the Mt. Lebanon Police Department, she handled bank fraud cases, which earned her the Officer of the Year award, said her sister, an accountant.

“When Mary retired from the police department in 2003, she became a bank fraud investigator for Dollar and Citizens banks.”

Born in Harrisburg and raised in Mt. Lebanon since the age of 9, Mary Eichinger was one of two children of CPA Donald J. Eichinger and his wife, Kay Romansky Eichinger.

In 1974, after graduating from Mt. Lebanon High School, where she was a member of the swim team, she attended the University of Pittsburgh, before becoming an emergency medical technician for Mt. Lebanon.

Barbara Eichinger said her sister was talented as an artist.

“She was very good with oils and in painting flowers,” her sister said.

Friends will be received from 4 to 7 p.m. Monday in Laughlin Memorial Chapel, 222 Washington Road, Mt. Lebanon, with a Police Association Tribute at 7 p.m.

Services will be conducted at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday in the Mausoleum Chapel of Mt. Lebanon Cemetery.

Jerry Vondas is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7823 or jvondas@tribweb.com.

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