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Westmoreland columnist delivered 'backyard fence' news

| Wednesday, June 11, 2008

For more than a quarter-century, Westmoreland County residents enjoyed reading Barbara Srdoch's weekly newspaper column, "Over the Backyard Fence."

In her column -- which ran in the former Standard-Observer, Tribune-Review and former Penn-Trafford News -- Mrs. Srdoch wrote tidbits on events in the communities, including births, marriages, social and school activities, Scouting news and Little League scores.

Barbara P. Srdoch of Level Green died Sunday, June 8, 2008, in her home. She was 80.

"Mom began her writing career when she wrote a column for her high school newspaper," said Dave Srdoch of Level Green.

He recalled how his mother would sit at their dining room table and go through the notes she had accumulated throughout the week and then begin typing on an old standard typewriter.

"And then it was up to one of us to deliver her column to the editors when it was finished," Dave Srdoch said.

He said that his mother, when approached by the Tribune-Review circulation manager who was seeking carriers, recruited him and his brother, Rick.

In 1947, after graduation from Westinghouse Memorial High School in Wilmerding -- where she played the piano and sang for school events -- Mrs. Srdoch was employed as a secretary for Westinghouse Airbrake Corp. in Wilmerding.

"My parents, who both had Croatian backgrounds, met at a Croatian dance," Dave Srdoch said. "They were married in 1951.

"Dad, who was born in Croatia, was a U.S. Army officer during World War II who was in charge of an artillery unit in Hawaii protecting Pearl Harbor."

He said that "as much as my mother enjoyed her journalistic career, she was truly a mother at heart. When other mothers sighed with relief when their children went off to school in the morning, Mom was sad.

"She'd perk up when we returned from school. She also involved herself in our activities, including the years Rick and I were in Scouting and our sister, Diane, was active with the Brownies."

Born and raised in Wilmerding, Mrs. Srdoch was one of three children of Joseph and Mary Bukovac Prementine.

"My mother always enjoyed attending musical events," her son said. "When she was still in high school, she often had the opportunity to attend concerts in the Stanley Theater in Pittsburgh.

"And when the British music invasion was going strong in the '60s, Mom was right there with us, listening to the recordings of the Dave Clark Five and the Beatles."

In addition to her son Dave, Mrs. Srdoch is survived by her husband, Rudy Srdoch; daughter, Dianne Hyland of Harrison City; son, Rick Srdoch of North Huntingdon; four grandchildren; and a brother, Joseph Prementine of Trafford.

She was preceded in death by a sister, Josephine Eskievich.

Friends will be received from 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 p.m. today in the John M. Dobrinick Funeral Home, 702 Seventh St., Trafford.

A funeral Mass will be celebrated at 10:30 a.m. Thursday in St. Regis Church, Trafford. Interment will follow in New St. Joseph Cemetery, North Versailles.

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