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Obituary Stories

Ligonier woman traveled world, connected with animals

Renatta Signorini
| Sunday, Nov. 18, 2018, 11:45 p.m.
Joan C. Tressler of Ligonier died from cancer Friday, Nov. 16, 2018 in the Bethlen Home. She was 75.
Joan C. Tressler of Ligonier died from cancer Friday, Nov. 16, 2018 in the Bethlen Home. She was 75.

Joan Tressler left the curtains off a large window at her home so she could watch the birds.

But the most important bird was inside her house: Spike, the cockatiel, lived into his 30s because of Mrs. Tressler’s love.

“She cared for him so well,” said daughter Lynne Murphy of Florida. “In the end, she was giving him special medicine for arthritis.”

An independent, organized world traveler and lover of animals, Joan C. Tressler of Ligonier died from cancer Friday, Nov. 16, 2018 in the Bethlen Home. She was 75.

Mrs. Tressler was born Nov. 26, 1942 to the late William and Violet Casper. An eastern Pennsylvania native, she started her career as a home economics teacher and hospital dietician.

She later earned a master’s degree while her two daughters were in school and worked with school districts’ food services programs around the country before ending her career in 2009 with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s child nutrition division, her daughters said.

“She liked working with people,” Murphy said. “I think she really felt she could have a large impact.”

Mrs. Tressler and her late husband, John, who died in 1992, lived all over the country, from Pennsylvania to Delaware, Massachusetts, Oklahoma and Virginia.

Mrs. Tressler’s vacation destinations abroad included South Africa, Japan, Hong Kong and Amsterdam.

“She traveled the world so much and just did so much with her job,” daughter Anne Garrison said, adding that traveling was what “made her life complete.”

It was during some of those far-away trips that Mrs. Tressler made the connection with winged creatures there and at home. She bought field guides and set her garden up in a way that attracted birds, Murphy said.

Mrs. Tressler most recently lived in North Carolina until earlier this year when she and her cats, Gypsy and Misty, moved to Ligonier with Garrison’s family.

Friends and family described Mrs. Tressler as a bubbly, sweet person who took a genuine interest in the lives of others. She was devoted to grandson Laken Garrison, 7. He called her his “best friend.”

“He just loved her, and he was always making beautiful artwork for her,” Murphy said.

Mrs. Tressler was predeceased by her husband, a granddaughter, Autumn Garrison, and three siblings.

She is survived by her daughters, their husbands and her grandson.

Visitation will be held 6 to 8 p.m. Monday at the J. Paul McCracken Funeral Chapel Inc., 144 E. Main St., Ligonier. A funeral Mass will be celebrated at 10 a.m. Tuesday in Holy Trinity Catholic Church led by the Rev. John Foriska.

Interment will be in Oak Hill Cemetery, Fredericksburg, Va.

Memorial contributions can be made to the Eastern Bluebird Rescue Group, 126 Newell Farms Road, Warrington, NC 27589.

Renatta Signorini is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Renatta at 724-837-5374, rsignorini@tribweb.com or via Twitter @byrenatta.

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