Greensburg nurse was good listener, encouraged others
A registered nurse working at a local hospital, Mary Alice Fisher decided to become a school nurse so she went to college and graduated magna cum laude from Indiana University of Pennsylvania in 1967.
She then set her sights on becoming an elementary guidance counselor and earned a master's degree from the college while working as a junior high school nurse.
Along the way, Mrs. Fisher taught psychiatric nursing at Torrance State Hospital while raising three daughters and encouraging them to set their sights on college.
“She was very driven,” said her daughter Karen Petrarca.
Mary Alice (Casterwiler) Fisher, 87, of Greensburg died Friday, Feb. 23, 2018, at home. Born Oct. 14, 1930, in Latrobe, she was the daughter of the late Alex and Louise Hood Casterwiler.
She graduated from Latrobe High School in 1948 and St. Francis School of Nursing in Pittsburgh in 1951.
Mrs. Fisher was a school nurse for the Greater Latrobe School District from 1968 to 1972 and an elementary counselor for the district until 1980. She and her husband then moved to New York where she worked as a counselor for the Brittonkill School District until she retired in 1993.
“Mom was a very good listener,” said her daughter Kathy Hunter. “People would pick up on that and share whatever was on their minds.”
Mrs. Fisher didn't give advice so much as let people figure things out and encourage them, she said. One example is that she encouraged a hospice aide who started taking care of her in January to start taking classes to pursue a nursing degree.
“She said she wanted to be a nurse but had doubts,” Hunter said. Her mother told the woman she would make a great nurse.
“Mom connected with her,” she said.
Mrs. Fisher was a member of Charter Oak United Method Church and the Order of the Eastern Star. She was a spiritual person who read the Bible on a regular basis, Petrarca said. When someone fell ill, she was the one who took care of them.
“She lived her life as a Christian,” she said.
Mrs. Fisher also enjoyed the arts and considered them to be a part of their education, she said. They all played musical instruments and their mother took them to IUP for lessons on Tuesdays and they played in the Johnstown Youth Orchestra on Saturdays.
“She wanted her girls to be well rounded, and making sure that we all had an education after high school was really important to her,” she said.
Mrs. Fisher is survived by her husband of 65 years, Curtis A. Fisher; three daughters: Kristen Hauger and husband, Jeff, of Latrobe; Kathy Hunter and husband, Tom, of Unity; Karen Petrarca and husband, Pat, of Laughlintown; three grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren.
The memorial service will be private. Burial will be in Fairmont Cemetery in Cook.
Frederick Funeral Home Inc. in Latrobe is handling arrangements.