Greensburg nurse spent almost 40 years helping deliver, caring for babies
Chances are, if you were born between 1944 and 1983 at Excela Health Westmoreland Hospital in Greensburg, Betty “Peeps” Kurtz cared for you, her daughter, Linda, said.
As a nurse at the hospital for 39 years, Betty Kurtz worked mainly in the newborn nursery during the night shift, caring for babies and their mothers after delivery. But Betty Kurtz didn’t know the extent of her impact as a nurse until February, when she met a women whose baby she helped deliver 70 years ago.
“After she delivered, a little nurse brought her a big dish of chocolate ice cream,” Linda Kurtz said of her mother’s roommate. “Yes, you guessed it, the nurse’s name was ‘Peeps’ one and the same … What a coincidence. Seventy years later to meet again as roommates in a nursing home.”
Mrs. Betty J. Kurtz, 100, of Greensburg died Saturday, Sept. 14, 2019.
Born in Ligonier Nov. 3, 1918, she was the daughter of Thomas E. and Edith Robinson Peoples.
Mrs. Kurtz met her late husband, Norman, through a friend. In a memoir book she kept, Mrs. Kurtz wrote, “He was 8 years older than me. Norm was a total opposite of me! He was very quiet and didn’t have too much to say. Norm was an artist. He painted oil paintings and drew pictures before we were married.”
After he passed away at an early age, Mrs. Kurtz raised their twin daughters while working full-time as a nurse.
“Cantankerous, strong willed, and one of a kind are words that others have used to describe her,” Linda Kurtz said. “She always was helping someone and was very giving. She rarely bought anything for herself and devoted herself to raising her twins.”
She added that her mother always said what was on her mind, never having a filter.
“You always knew where you stood with her. She was loved by many people,” Linda Kurtz said.
During her time as a nurse, Mrs. Kurtz came to be known as “Peeps,” a nickname derived from her maiden name Peoples. But throughout her life she also gained another nickname — “Beej.”
Linda Kurtz said she came up with the nickname after shortening Billy Jean to B.J., and eventually to “Beej.” She said she and her mother “became more like good friends than mother and daughter.”
In her free time, Mrs. Kurtz enjoyed painting and would help elderly neighbors with grocery shopping or driving them to appointments. At Christmastime she was known for her cookies, apricot rolls and nut rolls.
In addition to her husband, she was preceded in death by her brother, Dwight R. Peoples and three sisters, Anna Siard, Marjorie Peoples and Ruth McDowell.
In addition to Linda Kurtz, Mrs. Kurtz is survived by daughter, Leslie Harr of Stafford, Va.; three granddaughters; and three great-granddaughters.
Family and friends will be received from 9 to 11 a.m. Saturday in Harrold Zion Lutheran Church, 671 Baltzer Meyer Pike, Greensburg. A funeral service will be held immediately following the viewing in the church with Pastor John Smaligo officiating. Interment will follow in St. Clair Cemetery, Greensburg.
Memorial donations can be made to the Westmoreland County Humane Society or to the charity of one’s choice.
Megan Tomasic is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Megan at 724-850-1203, [email protected] or via Twitter .