Latrobe teacher led by example
Esther Pevarnik strived to set a good example in everything she did.
“She always said you have to act like a duck,” said her daughter, Amanda Coup. “Calm, cool and collected up top, but sometimes you had to paddle like hell underneath to make it work.”
The longtime school teacher held herself to a high standard, and helped others do the same.
“She was always trying to help those kids who were in need, or reach out to those kids who were struggling, to let them know somebody was there for them,” Coup said.
Esther (Ross) Howard Pevarnik, 77, of Gibsonia, formerly of Latrobe, died Saturday, Oct. 5, 2019 at The Arbors at Valencia.
She was born April 5, 1942, to the late Herman and Sophie Ross.
She taught English at Greater Latrobe School District and Greensburg Central Catholic.
“That was her whole life, everything she did, the way she acted, reflected on her classroom and the way she wanted to present herself to her classroom,” said her son, Joseph B. Howard.
She tried to instill character in her students.
“I remember on several occasions people coming up to her and saying ‘You had an impact on my life. You were hard on me, and that allowed me to excel, and gave me the motivation to do better,’” Howard said.
She always worked to further her own education.
In addition to teaching, Mrs. Pevarnik volunteered with Adelphoi, a Latrobe organization that provides services for at-risk youth, and was part of student assistance programs at her school.
“She just loved the community, she loved Latrobe,” Howard said.
She was “tough as nails,” according to Coup. That toughness allowed her to endure many difficult times in her life, including the early death of her first husband, Joseph F. Howard, who died at 36, and the loss of her daughter Courtney Reed, who died of cancer in 2012 at the age of 45.
She loved spending time with her family, and after dinner would ensure that her children stayed at the table long enough to chat about their day.
“That was what was most important to her,” Coup said.
Though she didn’t have many hobbies, she’s enjoyed decorating and redecorating her home.
She was a devout member of St. Vincent Basilica Parish, attending Mass almost daily.
Mrs. Pevarnik was preceded in death by her first husband, Joseph F. Howard; her second husband, James L. Pevarnik; and a daughter, Courtney Howard Reed.
She is survived by her daughter, Amanda M. Coup, and her husband, Kenneth, of Gibsonia; three sons, Joseph B. Howard, and his wife, Elizabeth, of Lexington, N.C., David J. Pevarnik, and his wife, Connie, of Lake Clarke Shores, Fla., and James F. Pevarnik, and his wife, Bobbi Jo, of Latrobe; 18 grandchildren; and one great-granddaughter.
Family and friends will be received from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Friday at the John J. Lopatich Funeral Home, 601 Weldon St., Latrobe.
A funeral Mass will be celebrated at 2 p.m. Friday at St. Vincent Basilica. Interment will follow at St. Vincent Cemetery.
Memorial contributions be made to the Carmelite Monastery, 5206 Center Drive, Latrobe, PA 15650.
Jacob Tierney is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jacob at 724-836-6646, [email protected] or via Twitter .