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Social worker's love encompassed patients, family

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Janice Marie Pope of Versailles Borough died Sunday, March 24, 2013, at home. She was 70.

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Tuesday, March 26, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

Janice Pope offered candy and hugs to every patient who went through her family therapy office in White Oak.

“When they left that office, they felt different,” said Alison Barnett, a psychiatrist who began working with Mrs. Pope, a social worker, in 1995. “Janice was that different kind of caring person. ... She took emergency calls, took calls on the weekend. She was a phenomenal human being.”

Janice Marie Pope of Versailles Borough died Sunday, March 24, 2013, at home. She was 70.

Mrs. Pope held bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of Pittsburgh and had a special interest in educating and protecting children from sexual abuse.

She became fast friends with Barnett after they began working together in Alma Illery Health Center in Homewood.

“We came together and hit it off right away,” Barnett said.

She was close to her only sister, Loretta Ferry, a former emergency room nurse.

In fact, they lived next door.

“Our parents died very young. ... We just couldn't be away from each other,” Ferry said. “We were only sisters.”

Besides, Ferry said, they “only had to walk next door for the holidays.”

When Mrs. Pope opened her private practice, she and her husband of 51 years, Sidney R. Pope, remodeled the office to make it comfortable and cozy. Their efforts were not lost on her patients.

“They just loved that office,” Barnett said.

It was a special place where her sister handed out “humor and sympathy,” Ferry said.

Mrs. Pope, who also worked as a hypnotherapist, was an adjunct professor at the south campus of Community College of Allegheny County and a practicum adviser for the University of Pittsburgh.

She enjoyed spending time with her family — camping in the mountains, riding ATVs, boating and traveling with her husband and her grandson, Darren.

Mrs. Pope was preceded in death by her parents, Walter J. and Cecilia (Gabauer) Galeza.

In addition to her husband and sister, she is survived by sons Dean, of Elizabeth; David, of Mt. Pleasant; and Dale, whose address the family did not have. Also surviving are four grandchildren and several nieces and nephews.

Friends will be received from 7 to 9 p.m. Tuesday and 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 p.m. Wednesday in Willig Funeral Home and Cremation Service, 220 Ninth St., McKeesport. A blessing service will be held at 10 a.m. Thursday in the funeral home chapel, with the Rev. Vincent Velas officiating. Committal service will follow in Mt. Vernon Cemetery.

Craig Smith is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-380-5646 or

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