Spirit of adventure fueled life outdoors
When Sharon (Visnic) Shivetts was a student at the University of Pittsburgh, she went to the window one day hoping to catch a glimpse of her mom, Delores Visnic.
“I remember hanging out of my dorm room window, cheering her on as she ran down Fifth Avenue,” Shivetts said. “She just looked up and pumped her fist in the air.”
Mrs. Visnic was running the Pittsburgh marathon, the high point of a journey that began when she started a running group with some of the other women in her neighborhood.
She was a runner, world-traveler and animal lover, who rarely went inside when she could avoid it.
Delores S. Visnic, 83, of Greensburg, died Friday, Jan. 26, 2018.
She was born April 9, 1934, in Jeannette, a daughter of the late Stanley and Sally Reimer Wojcik, who immigrated to the United States from Poland.
Mrs. Visnic dropped out of high school to help support her parents and five siblings.
Years later, she made sure her three children got the college education she did not.
“It just shows what an intelligent, selfless woman she was,” said her son, Christopher Visnic.
After the death of her husband, George Visnic, she took a job at the switchboard at the Westmoreland County Courthouse.
Though she worked in an office, she never stayed cooped up for long.
“From the moment she woke up until the moment she would go to bed, she was outside,” Shivetts said.
Even when she was in her 80s, Mrs. Visnic would mow her neighbors' lawns. It gave her an excuse to be outdoors longer.
She owned several dogs throughout her life and earned a reputation as the woman to go to when neighbors needed a dogsitter.
She traveled to Europe, Central America and South America. During a visit to Peru with her sons, she decided to summit Huayna Picchu, a mountain that overlooks the ancient Incan city of Machu Picchu.
Christopher was 19. Frequent rainstorms had coated the mountain in mud.
“I couldn't make it up. I was terrified. I made it a quarter of the way up, I was on my hands and knees,” he said. “My mother, she made it to the top. That's who she was. She loved life, she loved challenges.”
She is survived by her children, Mark Visnic, of Allison Park, Sharon Shivetts, of Unity Township, and Christopher Visnic and his wife Joanna, of Sewickley; and six grandchildren.
A funeral Mass will be celebrated at 10 a.m. Tuesday at Saint Vincent Basilica in Unity Township with internment to follow in Greensburg Catholic Cemetery.