Greensburg Catholic schoolteacher was keen on Irish heritage
St. Patrick’s Day was one of Mary McCloskey’s favorite times of the year.
The holiday allowed her to share her love of her Irish heritage with the elementary students she taught for nearly four decades at what is now Greensburg’s Catholic Aquinas Academy.
“She would make a big fuss in the classroom,” with appropriately-themed projects and even a play, her nephew, Dan Hudock, recalled.
“She enjoyed anything related to Ireland,” he said. Before marrying into another Irish family, “She grew up living with a 100 percent Irish grandmother and mother.”
She took many trips to Ireland with family, making tracings of ancestor’s headstones, niece Carol Palcic said, adding, “Her house had little reminders of Ireland everywhere.”
That included Gaelic crosses, wool sweaters and an Irish harp she purchased. “She learned to play it a little bit,” Hudock said. “That was her big splurge.”
Mary R. “Bobbie” McCloskey of Greensburg died Thursday, March 21, 2019. She was 82.
Born in Hershey, she was a daughter of the late Rebecca (Burke) Hudock and Maj. Andrew J. Hudock, who served with Pennsylvania State Police Troop A in Greensburg.
Growing up near the Greensburg state police barracks, which once was equipped with stables, Mrs. McCloskey enjoyed riding horses. A thrill for her in her younger days was playing the part of “Miss Liberty” in one of the charity rodeos the police staged in Latrobe, her niece said.
A devout lifelong member of Blessed Sacrament Cathedral in Greensburg, Mrs. McCloskey graduated from St. Xavier’s Academy in 1954 and from Seton Hill College in 1958.
During her career teaching at the academy, “She left a tremendous impression on the students,” said Palcic, who studied under her aunt as a fourth-grader. “She was very disciplined, but she had a kinder, gentler side.”
Mrs. McCloskey enjoyed painting with watercolors and applied an artistic approach to the dioramas and other projects she assigned to her students. “They always had a creative twist to them,” Palcic said.
Gifted in Spanish and a life-long lover of books, including such classics as Jane Austen’s “Sense and Sensibility,” she was a natural to take on the additional role of school librarian.
“Whenever you came to visit, she’d always have a book on the end table she was reading,” Palcic said, noting she regularly met with a group of like-minded friends at a local bookstore.
Mrs. McCloskey also enjoyed spending time with her nieces and nephews, raising two miniature schnauzers and attending concerts on the Diamond in Ligonier.
In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her husband of more than 30 years, Thomas P. McCloskey, and three siblings. She is survived by her brother, John S. Hudock and his wife, Joanne, of Greensburg, a sister-in-law, Myrna McCloskey; numerous nieces and nephews.
Friends and family will be received from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday in the Leo M. Bacha Funeral Home, 516 Stanton St., Greensburg. Prayers will begin at 9 a.m. Wednesday at the funeral home, followed by a funeral Mass at 9:30 a.m. in Blessed Sacrament Cathedral, Greensburg.
Interment will follow in Greensburg Catholic Cemetery.
Memorial donations may be made to Aquinas Academy, 340 N. Main St., Greensburg, PA 15601.
Jeff Himler is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jeff at 724-836-6622, [email protected] or via Twitter .