Mary Louise Brannan, 87, of Ebensburg, was the epitome of a strong, independent woman. She did things her way, on her terms, including up until the time of her passing on Sept. 9, 2018. Born Jan. 21, 1931, in Hastings. Daughter of the late Cosmos and Anna (Strassler) Elder. Preceded in death by husband, Gerald (Jerry), on Dec. 30, 1989. Survived by brother Richard (Rosemary) Elder, Hastings; sister Sandy (Jack) Baran, Wilmington, Del.; close cousin Bob Ladenberger, Hastings; daughters Carolyn Ann (Terry) Kirsch, Carlisle, Pa., and Jo-Ann (Ron) Stempka, Ebensburg; grandchildren Nicholas (Katy) Kirsch, Carlisle, Pa.; Jay Stempka, Ebensburg; Marc Stempka, Danville, Pa.; Jacob (Kerri) Kirsch, Parma, Ohio; and Greta Stempka, Virginia Beach, Va.; and many nieces and nephews. Mary Lou was a 1949 graduate of Hastings High School and a 1952 graduate of Miner's Hospital School of Nursing, Spangler. She started her nursing career at Miner's Hospital, where she worked from 1952 to 1955. Mary Lou married Jerry on June 11, 1955, at St. Bernard's Church, Hastings. Jerry's career took them to Erie, where Mary Lou worked at Zem Zem Hospital for Children from 1955 to 1959. In 1959 the family moved to Murrysville and then to Ebensburg in 1964. In 1965 Mary Lou returned to Miner's, where she worked until 1968. She continued her nursing career at Dr. Robert and Scott Magley's practice in Ebensburg, becoming known as Doctor Mary Lou, until retiring in 2002. Mary Lou served as an EMT and was on the board of the Ebensburg Area Ambulance Association from 1972 to 1976. From 1970 through 1979 'Mrs. B' was also heavily involved with the Cambria Cadets Drum & Bugle Corps, alongside her husband and her daughters. She was a longtime member Holy Name Roman Catholic Church, where she served as a eucharistic minister, and a member of Catholic Daughters of America. Mary Lou enjoyed traveling, visiting locations around the world and across the country, and was an avid knitter and reader. She loved spending time with family at 'the farm' by Cresson Lake. She absolutely adored her grandchildren. A two-time breast cancer survivor, she didn't let much slow her down, remaining independent and living at home, a home that for decades hosted family holiday meals. She was always ready and willing to provide guidance and advice on any number of life's topics and was also a fantastic listener, something greatly appreciated by her grandchildren. She enjoyed her time in card clubs, having lunches with friends and her retired nursing classmates, and maintained her active lifestyle as long as possible. At her request, there will be no viewing. Friends are welcome to gather with the family at 9:30 a.m. on Sat. Oct. 6 in the narthex of Holy Name Catholic Church, Ebensburg, to remember, with pleasure, Mary Lou's life. Mass of Christian Burial will follow at 10:30 a.m. Msgr. David Lockard, celebrant. Arrangements handled by Askew-Houser Funeral Home, Ebensburg. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Mary Lou's memory to Dauntless Fire Company, Ebensburg, the Ebensburg Area Ambulance Association or Ebensburg-Cambria Free Public Library.
Published on September 11, 2018