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Obituary Stories

Nurse from Greensburg always savored the journey

Jamie Martines
| Saturday, Dec. 9, 2017, 11:00 p.m.

It started as a simple trip to Allentown to visit relatives. But as the rain fell in Harrisburg, the trains were halted.

The tracks were too wet to travel, Ellen Daugherty recalled, thinking back to the trip she took with her mother, Joyce Sproch, in the late 1950s.

As the hours passed, her mother grew impatient. She knew their relatives would be worried. So they hopped on a small charter plane.

“She loved the experience of getting there,” her daughter said.

Family members described her as fearless and adventurous.

Joyce Lorraine Sproch, formerly of Greensburg, died Wednesday, Nov. 29, 2017, at Lafayette Manor in Uniontown. She was 97.

Born in Allentown on Aug. 21, 1920, she was the daughter of the late George W. and Lucy (Schuon) Rose.

She lived a full life, traveling the country and the world.

“She felt that the way to get to know people in the world is if you go there,” her daughter said, adding that her mother always looked forward to the journey as much as the destination. Bumps along the road — like the impromptu plane ride from Harrisburg to Allentown — were part of the adventure.

Mrs. Sproch counted France, Germany and Italy among her favorite places to visit and enjoyed spending cold winters in the Caribbean and Florida.

Her love of exploration and learning continued into her 70s. Mrs. Sproch took classes in computers and writing at local colleges and continued to write poetry.

She passed on her love of music to her children and was an organist at Saint Vincent Basilica. She also sang in the choir.

A devoted wife and mother, the world traveler was happiest when spending time with her family and friends and entertaining in her home, her daughter said.

Holidays were lively, and there were always visitors. Mrs. Sproch did not like letting anyone spend Thanksgiving or Christmas alone.

“We just didn't know who was going to show up,” her daughter said.

She was a quiet force in the community whose first concern was everyone's health. She was “an old-fashioned nurse” who always made sure those around her were cared for.

“If you were sick and you needed a nurse, you needed my mother,” she said.

Mrs. Sproch was a graduate of the Jefferson Medical College Nursing School class of 1942. She worked as a private duty nurse and was a longtime volunteer for the Red Cross and local clinics.

“She was strong, she had strong opinions, but she had such a wonderful way of working with people. And she understood the meaning of forgiveness,” said Patrick Daugherty, Mrs. Sproch's son-in-law.

She married her late husband, Tom, an Army doctor, after he graduated from Jefferson. The couple later settled in Latrobe, his hometown.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Dr. Thomas M. Sproch Sr.; a daughter, Carol Sproch; a brother, John (Jack) H. Rose; and niece, Joy (Rose) Inselmini.

She is survived by three children: Mary Rodkey, Ellen Daugherty and Thomas Sproch Jr.; four grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.

Friends will be received from 4 to 8 p.m. Sunday in Hartman-Graziano Funeral Home, 1500 Ligonier St., Latrobe. A funeral Mass will be celebrated 10 a.m. Monday in Saint Vincent Basilica, 300 Fraser Purchase Road, Latrobe. Please meet at the basilica. Interment will be in Saint Vincent Cemetery.

Memorial dontations may be made to the American Heart Association at or to the Salvation Army, 1420 Ridge Ave, Latrobe.

Jamie Martines is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at, 724-850-2867 or via Twitter @Jamie_Martines.

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