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1595 West 38TH St.
Erie, PA 16508
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Joan Rita Leach Manuella

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Joan Rita Leach Manuella Obituary

Joan Rita Leach Manuella, age 79, of Camp Hill, Pennsylvania, was welcomed into heaven's gates by her Savior, Jesus Christ, surrounded by her loving family, and in the warm embrace of her two children, on May 1, 2014, the feast of St. Joseph the Worker. Born on August 1, 1934, in Erie, Pennsylvania, she was the youngest daughter of James "Ditty" and Marie "Mooma" (Greulich) Leach.

Joan was preceded in death by her husband and best friend, Joseph M. Manuella.

Joan attended St. Andrew's Grade School, where she proudly achieved academic status and "skipped" the 5th grade. Following elementary school, Joan attended Villa Maria Academy for Girls, and again achieved high academic achievement.

Joan began her long career as a labor union secretary at age sixteen. She became an administrative assistant for the AFL-CIO, and retired from the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), Chapter 13, Harrisburg, PA., on October 31, 1994.

By far, Joan's greatest love was for her two children, who she sacrificed much for during their growing years. She is in their hearts "forever and a day." Her perseverance, strength, fortitude, and amazing sense of humor were admired by many as she faced many challenges from childhood, to adulthood, and into her senior years.

Joan was a member of the Church of the Good Shepherd, Camp Hill, PA., and a former member of St. Jude the Apostle Church, Erie, PA. She was a member of the Elks Club, West Shore, PA #2257, and Di's Angels of Hope, Harrisburg, PA, as a survivor and supporter in the fight against breast cancer.

Joan is survived by her two children Diane (Dehnert) Kovac, of Mechanicsburg, Pa., and James Dehnert of Middletown, Pa. Additionally, son-in-law, Paul Kovac, and daughter-in-law, Denise (Wilson) Dehnert; grandson, Eric Kovac and his wife Kelly (Zavertnik) Kovac of Camp Hill, Pa.; granddaughters Angelique Kovac and Hope Dehnert; and great-grandson, Brayan Kovac, who enriched the last years of her life. She is also survived by beloved sisters, Marilyn Carnes and Susan Tann, both of Erie, Pa.; many nieces and nephews, and friends from near and far.

Friends may call at the Brugger Funeral Home & Crematory, 1595 West 38th Street, Erie, Pa., on Wednesday, May 7, 2014, from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., and may attend a prayer service there on Thursday at 10:15 a.m., followed by a Funeral Mass at St. Jude the Apostle Church at 11 a.m., 2801 W. 6th Street, Erie, Pa. Interment will be in Calvary Cemetery. Condolences and photos may be sent at www.bruggerfuneralhomes.com.

A memorial service will be held at Messiah Lifeways, Mechanicsburg, Pa., at the convenience of the family.

Memorial contributions may be made to the / Di's Angels of Hope, Harrisburg, Pa., The Lewy Body Dementia Association, Lilburn, Ga., or Messiah Lifeways, Mechanicsburg, Pa., in lieu of flowers.

Diane and Jim wish to thank the wonderful caregivers at Messiah Lifeways, Mechanicsburg, Pa. for their care, concern, friendship, and love for their mom over the past 16 months.

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Published in the Erie Times-News from May 6 to May 7, 2014
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