Hard work, strong values kept Acme farmer going
Louise Mastowkski spent much of her life on her family's Acme farm, taking care of dairy cattle, crops, vegetables and flower beds.
But she used her phone and print media to stay tuned in to the news of her community and the world at large.
“She was a humble, very intelligent woman,” said her niece Cindy Frye of East Huntingdon. “She knew everything that went on in the neighborhood and around the country.
“She read the newspaper from the front to the back. Her memory was as sharp as a tack, even at 86.”
A faithful voter and committed Democrat, she took part in a 1994 rally for health care reform in Greensburg, where the key speaker was President Bill Clinton.
“If you talked politics with her, you were going to lose,” said friend Kylie Bryner of Connellsville, who learned to avoid such debates. “She was definitely straightforward with you. She was not going to beat around the bush.”
Louise Mastowski, 86, of Acme died Monday, Sept. 25, 2017, in Excela Health Latrobe Hospital, after battling pneumonia and suffering a heart attack.
Born in Acme on June 13, 1931, she was one of 10 children of the late Joseph and Frances Mastowski.
Ms. Mastowksi grew up helping her parents, Polish immigrants, run the dairy farm that has been in the family for more than a century. She eventually took over operation of the nearly 200-acre spread, with the help of some assistants, and cared for her aging mother and father until their deaths in the early 1980s.
With advancing age, Ms. Mastowski eventually gave up driving her Chevy truck, but she continued to grow vegetables and flowers after selling her cows about 10 years ago.
“She loved doing the gardening,” Bryner said. “She always had tomatoes, potatoes, onions, cucumbers and peppers. She loved cabbage and noodles. She would go grocery shopping once a year. Everything else she canned or froze.”
Insisting that other helpers use a riding mower, “she would push-mow her grass until she was 80,” said Bryner. “She was probably the hardest-working lady I ever met.”
Her niece credits her continued vigor to “hard manual labor, good morals and strong values.”
When she wasn't hard at work, Ms. Mastowski was “a fun-loving person. She just enjoyed life,” said Frye. She used to accompany a cousin to polka dances at such venues as Seven Springs Mountain Resort and Fiedor's Grove in Mt. Pleasant, her niece said. More recently, she listened to polka tunes on her radio.
Ms. Mastowski is survived by several nieces and nephews including her caretakers, Clarence Mastowski and his wife, Carol, of Connellsville, and Cindy Frye and her husband, Chuck, of East Huntingdon.
Friends will be received at Clyde Brooks Funeral Home, 146 Municipal Building Road, Melcroft, where prayers of transfer will be held at 9:30 a.m. Thursday. A funeral Mass will follow at 10 a.m. at St. Raymond's Roman Catholic Church, Donegal. Interment will be in St. Raymond's Cemetery, Champion.