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Obituary Stories

Counselor poured energy into all aspects of her life

Patrick Varine
| Thursday, June 2, 2016, 11:00 p.m.
Nancy L. Oyler of Mt. Lebanon died suddenly Sunday, May 29, 2016, at the family’s cottage at Conneaut Lake. She was 85.
Nancy L. Oyler of Mt. Lebanon died suddenly Sunday, May 29, 2016, at the family’s cottage at Conneaut Lake. She was 85.

Nancy Oyler was fiercely devoted to her family, the symphony and the Pittsburgh Penguins.

“She was the world's greatest mom, and all of us kids are just trying to be one-tenth as good of a parent as she and my dad were,” said her son, John V. Oyler of Beijing.

Nancy L. Oyler of Mt. Lebanon died suddenly Sunday, May 29, 2016, at the family's cottage at Conneaut Lake. She was 85.

Mrs. Oyler was born Oct. 7, 1930, in Grove City. She received an associate degree from Grove City College and a master of education degree in rehabilitation counseling from the University of Pittsburgh.

She worked until the early 1960s at the Greater Pittsburgh Guild for the Blind as an intake specialist before leaving to raise three children.

“During the time she wasn't working, she was very active in the PTA and also as a volunteer in our kids' schools and swim club,” said her husband, John, who is a columnist for the Tribune-Review.

Her husband and son said Mrs. Oyler was extremely skilled at all manner of arts and crafts.

“She painted; she did reupholstering; she did pottery,” her son said. “When I'm in Beijing, I drink coffee every day from ceramics that she made for me.”

Mrs. Oyler took up painting when one of the family's many pets died.

“She started when one of our boxers died,” her husband said. “She was very upset about it, and she gathered up all the photos we had and painted it. From there, she went on to paint landscapes and other things.”

The Oylers had season tickets for many years to both the Pittsburgh Symphony and the Penguins.

Mrs. Oyler was a devoted nature lover.

“She was crazy about animals,” her husband said. “We've had six different dogs, as well as cats. And a big thing at Conneaut Lake was going over to Pymatuning and seeing the baby geese, which we did the other night.”

Nineteen years after leaving the Guild for the Blind, Mrs. Oyler returned to the same job, as well as that of a counselor, at the renamed Blind and Vision Rehabilitation Services of Pittsburgh.

She retired in 2005.

“She was very patient and always willing to listen,” said Martha Burgoon, a former co-worker. “She was very friendly and always wanted to help as best she could.”

Co-worker Spero Pipakis had known Mrs. Oyler since the late 1970s.

“She was innovative and compassionate,” Pipakis said. “She really cared about her work, so much so that people in the field would actually ask to work with her. They'd say ‘Where's Nancy? We really like working with her.' ”

Her son said Mrs. Oyler was always there for people, most of all her children.

“She was a wonderful, caring woman who lived her life in a way that many people would be proud of,” he said.

Mrs. Oyler is survived by her husband of 52 years, John F. Oyler; daughters Elizabeth and husband Michael Finke and Sara Oyler-McCance and husband Jim; son John and wife Victoria Pan; and five grandchildren.

Visitation will be from 4 to 7 p.m. Friday in Laughlin Memorial Chapel, 222 Washington Road in Mt. Lebanon. A memorial service will be at 10:30 a.m. Saturday in the chapel, with burial to follow in Mt. Lebanon Cemetery.

Memorial donations may be made to a nonprofit organization of one's choice. Mrs. Oyler was a regular contributor to more than 40 nonprofits.

Patrick Varine is a staff writer for the Tribune-Review. He can be reached at 724-850-2862 or pvarine@tribweb.com.

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