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Obituary Stories

Ligonier woman cared deeply for twin sister, family

Patrick Varine
| Friday, Dec. 14, 2018, 9:03 p.m.
Maryanne Wallace, 86, of Ligonier.
Submitted photo
Maryanne Wallace, 86, of Ligonier.

Every day, Maryanne Wallace would head out to visit her sister at the nursing home where she stayed.

“Her twin sister was born with cerebral palsy, and she went to see her and take care of her every day,” said Mrs. Wallace’s daughter, Janet Mattern of Ligonier.

As her Alzheimer’s disease progressed, Mrs. Wallace began staying at the same nursing home.

“My mom never would have dreamed that her sister would live to be 86 years old,” Mattern said. “The staff there said it was because of my mom’s care that her sister lived for so long.”

Maryanne W. Wallace of Ligonier died Monday, Dec. 10, 2018, of complications from Alzheimer’s. She was 86.

Mrs. Wallace was born Oct. 21, 1932, in Spangler, a daughter of the late John and Mary (Johnson) Ward. She grew up in Ebensberg and graduated from Ebensberg Cambria High School in 1951.

She met her future husband, John, while working at the Ross Mountain Club in Fairfield Township.

“My dad’s cousin worked there,” Mattern said. “She introduced them, and they dating for the next three years.”

The couple was married in February 1953. Afterward, both attended Penn State University.

“My dad was there for a year but couldn’t afford it, so he re-enlisted in the Army,” Mattern said. “He went to officer candidate school and then he came back and finished at Penn State.”

Mrs. Wallace worked at a local Dairy Queen, a local learning center and a few other jobs, but she spent much of her time caring for her home and five children.

“She’s one of those people who, if you couldn’t find something, would look relentlessly for it,” Mattern said. “She never thought of herself.”

Mrs. Wallace always wanted to know what her kids were up to, even after they were grown.

“She always checked in on us,” Mattern said. “She’d call me every Saturday to see how I was, and I know she did the same with my siblings.”

In her free time, Mrs. Wallace enjoyed knitting, crocheting, needlepoint and cross-stitching, and she loved mysteries, whether they came in the form of a book or TV show.

“She was generous, kind, selfless and amazing,” Mattern said.

Mrs. Wallace is survived by her husband of 65 years, Retired Army Lt. Col. John W. Wallace; five children, John (Joann) Wallace Jr. of Smithfield, Va., Gary (Kym) Wallace of Vero Beach, Fla., Kathryn (Jim) Tiberi of Ligonier, Janet (Kurt) Mattern of Ligonier and Patrick (Kim) Wallace of Ligonier; a sister, Marjorie Ward; a brother, Mitchel Ward; 14 grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren.

Family and friends will be reeived from 1 to 3 p.m. today, Saturday , at Snyder Funeral Home, 402 E. Church St. in Ligonier. A 3 p.m. funeral service will take place at the funeral home, followed by interment at Ligonier Valley Cemetery.

Memorial contributions can be made to Bethlen Home, 66 Carey School Road, Ligonier, PA 15658.

Patrick Varine is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Patrick at 724-850-2862, pvarine@tribweb.com or via Twitter @MurrysvilleStar.

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