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Nurse devoted to family, work, hospital

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Mary Janet (Gregorius) Demarest, 85, of Natrona Heights, passed away Tuesday, May 21, 2013, in her home with the loving support of family and friends.

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The loss of her mother to lung cancer while a young teenager led Mary Janet Demarest to pursue nursing as a career.

“Her mother was a nurse,” said John Demarest, her son.

She also became involved with the American Cancer Society, helping to coordinate fashion show events for its Four Corners Unit.

Mary Janet Gregorius Demarest of Natrona Heights died on Tuesday, May 21, 2013. She was 85.

Mrs. Demarest was a graduate of Seton Hill Academy and University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing. She became a nursing instructor, eventually overseeing infection control at Allegheny Valley Hospital.

Her work in the hospital led her to interact with employees from food service to the surgical unit, her son said.

“She knew everyone. She was quite recognized in the hospital. Quite frequently when we were out in recent years she ran into someone who knew her,” Demarest said.

His mother went into the work force at a time when many women stayed at home, Demarest said.

“My sisters and I learned to cook very well. Mom preferred not to cook. She was always amazed when we were able to prepare anything elaborate,” he said.

Grandson Christopher Maloney recalled Mrs. Demarest's home as the family gathering place for reunions and holidays.

Her home was close to Allegheny Valley Hospital, he said.

“Even after she retired, she would walk there to volunteer in the gift shop. She was always a very caring and empathetic person,” Maloney said.

“The thing I remember most about her, that I will always remember, was she was just so wise. She gave great advice. She was a good listener,” he said. “Everybody kind of looked to her for support. She was very good in that role.”

Mrs. Demarest was preceded in death by her husband, Henry M. Demarest. Surviving her are four children, John Demarest, Barbara Demarest, Mary F. McGuire and Margaret Maloney; and three grandchildren.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 11 a.m. Friday in Our Lady of the Most Blessed Sacrament Church, 1526 Union Ave., Natrona Heights. Burial will be in Mt. Airy Cemetery, Natrona Heights.

Memorial contributions in memory of Mrs. Demarest may be made to Forbes Hospice, 4800 Friendship Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15224 or the Allegheny-Kiski Health Foundation, 1 Acee Drive, Suite 1, Natrona Heights, PA 15065.

Mary Pickels is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-836-5401 or mpickels@tribweb.com.

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