Penn Hills crossing guard's compassion extended to elder care
Dora Fuller's concern for the safety of the children in the Penn Hills School District resonated beyond the confines of the municipality.
Often, the former students she was responsible for during her 48 years as a school crossing guard — at Frankstown Road and Orchard Drive or Frankstown Road and Harvard Drive — would seek her out when they were visiting to say hello, said her daughter, Elizabeth Schuster.
"Although many of these young people had gone on to college and successful careers throughout the country, they never forgot her," said Schuster, a resident of Williamsburg, Mass.
Dora Maize Fuller of Penn Hills died on Wednesday, April 27, 2011, in Mulberry Square Elder Care & Rehabilitation Center in Punxsutawney, Jefferson County. She was 101.
Caring for people of all ages and persuasions was very important to a woman who throughout her long life worked hard to raise her children, made time for her church and community and was always ready to lend a hand to someone who was ailing or down-and-out.
In later years, she took several practical nursing classes, which helped her to care for elderly people confined to their own homes.
"She was also handy with homemade remedies," said her granddaughter, Resa Ike of Horsehead, N.Y. "I got a bee sting right under my nose. She had me place an onion on the sting. I had tears in my eyes from the onion, but it worked."
Born and raised in Troutville, Clearfield County, Dora Syphirt was the daughter of farmer George Washington Syphirt and his wife, Katherine Lott Syphirt.
As a teenager, Dora Syphirt opted to drop out of school and baby-sit for her sisters who were employed in professional offices in Pittsburgh.
In 1929, Dora Maize Syphirt married LeRoy Fuller, a resident of Reynoldsville, Jefferson, who was attending Carnegie Institute of Technology, now Carnegie Mellon University, and was employed by Westinghouse Electric Corp. in East Pittsburgh.
Mrs. Fuller, along with her husband, built a home on Orchard Drive in Penn Hills, using some material taken from an abandoned mansion.
"It was my mother's job to drive the nails," said her daughter. "She was good and fast and got the job done."
The Fullers were founders and members of the Mt. Hope Community Church in Penn Hills, where they served as deacons and Mrs. Fuller as church secretary.
"We all attended Sunday school and sang in the choir," said Schuster.
When she started as a crossing guard 48 years ago, she earned 50 cents an hour, her daughter said.
In addition to her daughter, Elizabeth, Mrs. Fuller is survived by her brother, Homer Syphirt of Ohio; four grandchildren, Rona vonMering, Lea Foti, Beth Williams, Resa Ike and nine great-grandchildren.
She was preceded in death by her husband, LeRoy, in 1986, a daughter, Bonnie Lea Fuller and a son, Henry Fuller.
Friends received in Mt. Hope Community Church, 12106 Frankstown Road, from 10 a.m. Monday to the time of the service at 11 a.m., followed burial in Mt. Hope Cemetery, Penn Hills.
Arrangements by the William F. Gross Funeral Home Ltd., Penn Hills.