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Age, health didn't slow North Huntingdon volunteer efforts

| Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2012

Whether she was delivering Meals on Wheels or canvassing neighborhoods to collect money for the March of Dimes, American Cancer Society or American Red Cross, Elsie Steiner didn't let age or her health slow her down.

Mrs. Steiner was in her late 70s when she was diagnosed with breast cancer, but it didn't stop her from her helping others, said her son, Thomas Steiner of North Huntingdon, a counselor and professor at Westmoreland County Community College.

Her tenacity inspired her daughter, Janet Zidansek of Bloomfield, Mich., a breast cancer survivor, to become involved with the Beaumont Foundation Sharing & Caring in Royal Oak, Mich., which offers support and information for women with the disease.

Elsie M Steiner of North Huntingdon died on Sunday, Feb. 5, 2012, in Excela Health Westmoreland Hospital in Greensburg. She was 91.

"When we'd suggest to her to limit her commitments, she'd tell us it was her mission to help old people, even though she was one of them," her son said. "My mother also had a great work ethic. She often said that if you wanted a home of your own or wanted to send your children to college, you had to work for it."

Steiner recalled his mother's dedication to the Norwin High School band. He and his sister were band members.

When she was older, Mrs. Steiner, along with her daughter-in-law and granddaughter, helped organize Norwin Play It Forward, a charity that raises money to provide private music lessons for band members who have financial needs.

Born and raised in Evanstown in Westmoreland County, Elsie Resnick was one of seven children of coal miner Joseph Resnick and his wife, Annie Hlaston Resnick.

Like many people raised in a large family during the Depression, she went to work at an early age to help her family. In the ensuing years, she held a number of jobs, including baby-sitting for families in Wilkinsburg and working as a clerk at Mansmann's department store in East Liberty and Thrift Drug Store in Greensburg.

In 1947, she married Thomas Steiner, a World War II Navy veteran, who worked for 43 years for Westinghouse Electric Corp. "Whenever Dad could make the time from work, he'd help Mom with her volunteer efforts," said her son.

In addition to her son, Thomas, and daughter, Janet, Mrs. Steiner is survived by her daughter-in-law, Paula Steiner; son-in-law, Anton Zidansek; and granddaughter, Lauren Steiner.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Thomas H. Steiner; twin sister, Josephine Resnick; and siblings, Agnes Slippy, Anne Schuster, William Resnick, Joseph Resnick and Carl Resnik.

A funeral service will be at 11 a.m. today in First United Church of Christ in Irwin, with Pastor Nancy J. Mears officiating. Interment will follow in Penn-Lincoln Memorial Park in North Huntingdon.

Arrangements are being handled by the William Snyder Funeral Home in Irwin.

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