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Woman spurned illness in tireless service to others

| Monday, Dec. 10, 2012, 12:01 a.m.

Undaunted by congestive heart disease, Theresa White dedicated herself to driving shut-ins to doctor's appointments or the grocery store and to giving them Holy Communion.

“She refused to see herself as someone who was on the dole. She did for others in an effort to give back to the community all that she was receiving,” said her friend Mark Fey of North Versailles.

Theresa White of East McKeesport died of complications from congestive heart disease on Saturday, Dec. 8, 2012, in Forbes Regional Hospital in Monroeville. She was 61.

She was born Jan. 30, 1951, in Clarksburg, W.Va., to Robert and Mary Ann Reed. Her father was a steelworker, and her mother worked for G.C. Murphy Co. The family moved to the East End, and Ms. White attended Peabody High School.

She worked as a cashier and shelf stocker at Giant Eagle. She eventually rose to become chief teller until about 15 years ago, when she became disabled and had to quit.

That's when she decided to become a community resource.

“There were many people in the area who relied on her to get to the dentist,” Fey said.

She was a respite worker for Catholic Charities, giving family members a break from taking care of their loved ones. Fey recalled a man with Parkinson's disease whose wife was his sole caretaker.

“(Ms. White) was someone who would come and sit with this particular man so that his wife could leave the house for a few hours,” Fey said. “She did this for several people,” including those with Alzheimer's disease.

A eucharistic minister, she gave the sacrament to shut-ins on behalf of the Ladies of Charity of St. Robert Bellarmine Church. She sang in the choir and, drawing on her skill with numbers, coordinated the church's bingo games.

Ms. White was treasurer of the North Versailles Public Library, where she took care of accounts and read children's stories to youngsters.

Her sister, Pam Reed of Baldwin, described her as “fabulous, beautiful, sweet. She was always caring about other people.”

Ms. White enjoyed country and western dancing, playing cards and crocheting afghans and washcloths.

In addition to her sister and Fey, she is survived by many friends.

Visitation will be from 2 to 4 and 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday in James F. Kutch Funeral Home and Crematory, 433 Lincoln Highway, East McKeesport. Mass of Christian Burial will be at 10 a.m. Wednesday in St. Robert Bellarmine Church.

Bill Zlatos is a staff writerfor Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7828 or bzlatos@tribweb.com.

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