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Obituary Stories

Loyalhanna nurse served her country, community

Joe Napsha
| Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2019, 6:12 p.m.

Kathleen Michelle Rudy of Loyalhanna and her family believed in serving their country.

Her father served in World War II and her brother in the Vietnam War. She served with the Army’s 339th General Hospital Reserve Unit in Pittsburgh.

“Michelle was a really kind-hearted person,” said her brother, Paul Rudy of New Alexandria.

Ms. Rudy was a nurse. She took care of people, including her father and mother-in-law, Rudy said.

Sadly, her nursing career was cut short by the onset of Alzheimer’s in early 2011, just around the time Jeannette District Memorial Hospital was closing, Rudy said.

“It was like losing them (his sister) a little bit at a time,” he said of the progression of the disease.

Ms. Rudy, 64, died Friday, Feb. 1, 2019, as a result of complications from Alzheimer’s.

She was born Oct. 23, 1954, in Latrobe, a daughter of the late Michael Sr. and Margaret M. Kelly Rudy.

After graduating from Derry Area High School, she worked at McDonald’s and volunteered with the Derry ambulance service as an emergency medical technician, Rudy said. While studying medical terminology at Westmoreland County Community College, she was encouraged by her father to get training to become a licensed practical nurse at a Pittsburgh hospital, Rudy said.

Ms. Rudy joined the Army Reserves to become a nurse and worked at the Walter Reed National Medical Center in Bethesda, Md. She was sent to Honduras and Germany where she used her nursing skills during her two weeks of active duty with the Reserves, Rudy said. She was a staff sergeant in the Army Reserves and was on duty during Operation Desert Storm in 1991.

She was a nurse at Jeannette District Memorial Hospital and at Sunnyland Retirement Home, Unity. The symptoms of Alzheimer’s surfaced in 2011 when she needed assistance in completing a job applications at the time the Jeannette hospital was closing, Rudy said.

While battling Alzheimer’s, she helped to take care of her father, Rudy said, until she needed help herself. Her siblings, Michael Rudy Jr. of New Derry, a Vietnam War veteran, and Jacqueline Rudy of Bradenville, helped her while she fought the disease.

Ms. Rudy loved the outdoors. She loved going camping, boating and fishing with her boyfriend, Rudy said. They enjoyed taking their boat to Lake Erie and along the Allegheny River.

Ms. Rudy was preceded in death by her husband, Glenn Holler.

Among her other survivors is another sister, Yvonne Akrami of Plano, Texas.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 10 a.m. Wednesday at St. Rose Roman Catholic Church, Derry Township, with the Rev. Eric Dinga as celebrant. Interment will follow in St. Rose Cemetery.

The Blairsville Military Service Group will conduct military honors at the cemetery. The Matthew X. Merlin Funeral Home Inc., 529 N. Chestnut St., Derry, is in charge of the arrangements.

Memorial contributions may be made to Alzheimer’s Association, 225 N. Michigan Ave., Floor 17, Chicago, IL 60601.

Joe Napsha is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Joe at 724-836-5252 or jnapsha@tribweb.com.

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