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Woman, 101, always amazed family and friends

| Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2003

Whether working with her husband in politics, raising her children or maintaining her own career at a time when it was unusual for women to be in the workplace, Marcella Happ spent the better part of a century amazing everyone around her.

"She did everything wrong. She smoked, she drank, she ate bacon, everything they tell you not to do," said her daughter, Martha Preston. "But she managed to maintain her own. She was just a marvel of a person."

Marcella M. Happ, of Ross, died Sunday, Feb. 9, 2003. She was 101.

Mrs. Happ was born Jan. 24, 1902, in Ross, and lived to see 18 U.S. presidents in office.

In 1925 she married Frank Happ, who was active in Pennsylvania politics. He served as the head of the state's Securities Commission, assistant to the state treasurer and chairman of the Ross Township Democratic Party.

Mrs. Happ never attended school beyond the eighth grade, but she was savvy enough to serve as a campaign manager, adviser and supporter for her husband.

"She and my father would travel all over going to banking conventions and political meetings," Preston said. "For a woman with an eighth-grade education, she held her own. She could talk with the bankers about money. She could debate politics. She taught herself so much."

Mrs. Happ found time for a career of her own, working in the Allegheny County Prothonotary's Office in the 1940s and '50s.

Despite her heavy workload, Mrs. Happ always made time for her family, which totaled three children, 18 grandchildren and 39 great-grandchildren.

"She took care of us kids and supported our dad," Preston said. "It was a busy life and she was always a loving mother, grandmother and great-grandmother. She had a great life."

Mrs. Happ is survived by two sons, Frank N. Happ Jr., of Bradford Woods, and Dr. Richard A. Happ, of Trafford; a daughter, Martha Jeanne Preston, of Kinnelon, N.J.; a sister, Effie Miles, of Baltimore, Md.; 18 grandchildren and 39 great-grandchildren.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Frank N. Happ Sr.; three brothers, Vincent, Bernard and Clement Loeffler; and a sister, Marie Faulahaber.

Visitation will be held from 7 to 9 p.m. today and 2 to 4 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. Wednesday at the Lawrence T. Miller Funeral Home Inc., 460 Lincoln Ave., Bellevue. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 9 a.m. Thursday in the Assumption Church of Bellevue, 45 N. Sprague Ave. Entombment will follow in Christ Our Redeemer Cemetery, Ross.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Assumption Church Centennial Campaign, 45 N. Sprague Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15202.

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