Nurse embraced life with tireless enthusiasm
By Bill Zlatos
Published: Friday, March 22, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
Patty Wallisch, a nurse in the Steel Valley School District, could always tell when there was a math test: the school would be stricken with the flu.
“She always knew who was faking it, and off they would go back to class,” said her daughter, Anne Brucker of Bethel Park. “She sent them back with a cough drop. They thought they could pull one over on her.”
Patricia L. Wallisch of Baldwin Borough died Monday, March 18, 2013, of kidney failure at her home. She was 86.
She was born to Loretta and Francis Young in Patton in Cambria County. Her father was a banker, and her mother was a homemaker. During the Depression, the family marked a tree in front of their house to let the hungry know they could knock on the door and ask for food.
Mrs. Wallisch became a nurse in Mercy Hospital, where she cared for a woman suffering from a heart condition. The grateful son brought the nurses on the floor a Whitman's Sampler. Thinking they were for her, Mrs. Wallisch took the chocolates home.
The mistake turned into a marriage. The man who brought the candy, Frederick “Fred” Wallisch, became her husband of 62 years.
Her daughter, Mary Mandradjieff of Whitehall once remarked to her how lucky she was that all her children grew up to be so good.
“ ‘Luck had nothing to do with it,' ” Mrs. Wallisch answered.
Mrs. Wallisch was generous in hugs but skimpy on praise, Brucker said.
“You never got (recognition) on the refrigerator unless you did something on the national or international level,” she said.
Mrs. Wallisch was a nurse in U.S. Steel Corp. in Homestead, Eldercrest Nursing Center in Munhall, Steel Valley and other institutions.
She was a 5-foot dynamo who claimed she was 5-foot-4. She favored hats, especially red ones, and scarves that stood out with her white hair and sparkling blue eyes.
She enjoyed celebrating Groundhog Day in Punxsutawney and swimming in the Monongahela River on Polar Bear Day. She spent 11 years getting a bachelor's degree in education from the University of Pittsburgh. She finished when she was 65.
In addition to her husband, Fred, and daughters, Anne and Mary, she is survived by her sons, Mike Wallisch of Scott and Kent Wallisch of Whitehall; daughters, Joan Seidel of Whitehall and Ruth Wallisch of Baldwin; brothers, Bill Young of Cheswick and Dick Young of York; sisters, Mary Kay Baker of Navarre, Ohio, Carol Petrunyak of Derry and Janet Newcamp of Erie; 10 grandchildren; and one great-grandson.
Friends will be received from 5 to 8 p.m. Friday in Cieslak and Tatko Funeral Home, 2935 Brownsville Road, Brentwood. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 10 a.m. Saturday in St. Gabriel of the Sorrowful Virgin Church in Whitehall.
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