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Businesswoman's work ethic led to success

| Saturday, Dec. 15, 2012, 8:22 p.m.

When it became necessary for Pat Illsley to support herself during a difficult period of her life, she enrolled in the Pittsburgh Barber School and at one time operated her own barbershop.

“My mother was an independent woman, who had a strong work ethic and never hesitated to go on her own after my parents were divorced,” said her daughter, Robin Anke of Greensburg.

Patricia A. Illsley of Mars, formerly of Hampton, died on Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2012, at UPMC Passavant in McCandless. She was 67.

“My mother, who had worked at Union National Bank upon graduating from Stowe High School in 1963, was the bookkeeper for their two shops, one in the Beaver Valley Mall and the other on Middle Road in Hampton,” her daughter added.

Mrs. Illsley and her husband Stephen Illsley divorced in 1990. She took over operation of the Middle Road shop, and Illsley kept the shop in the Beaver Valley Mall.

“Once they remarried in 1993, they both cut hair together at their Stephen's Barbershop on Middle Road,” said Robin Anke. “My mother loved children, especially her grandchildren. Her customers, who were primarily mothers and grandmothers, found a lot to talk about.”

Born and raised in McKees Rocks, Patricia O'Connor was one of three children in the family of James L. and Elizabeth Traynor O'Connor.

While visiting relatives in Camp Lejeune, N.C., in 1965 Patricia O'Connor met Stephen Illsley at a camp dance.

“Dad was a flat top barber, who gave the new recruits their military hair cuts.

“They were married a year later following Dad's discharge from the Marines,” said her daughter.” Dad worked for several area barbers, before he and my mother could afford to open their own places.”

Anke recalled how her mother, who experienced tough times when she was growing up in McKees Rocks, appreciated the value of a dollar.

“She never bought an item unless it was on sale,” her daughter said. “And if it was an item that she could give to relatives, friends or a family in need, she'd buy a dozen of the item and pass them out.”

Anke also recalled how much her parents, as members of the North Hills Historic Auto Club, enjoyed driving an old Cadillac that Illsley had restored.

“Mom just enjoyed the long rides,” her daughter added.

In addition to her daughter, Robin, she is survived by a son, Scott Illsley of Edinburg; five grandchildren; two great-grandchildren, and a sister, Kathryn Moody of Oakdale.

She was preceded in death by her brother, James O'Connor.

Friends will be received from 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 p.m. Sunday in McDonald-Aeberli Funeral Home Inc., 238 Crowe Ave., Mars.

Blessing services will be conducted at 10:30 a.m. Monday at the funeral home with the Rev. Charles Bober, pastor of St. Kilian Church, officiating.

Burial will be in the National Cemetery of the Alleghenies in Bridgeville.

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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