Writer, Poet, Artist, Ann Walko, a life-long resident of Wall, PA, passed away Sunday, February 10, 2013. Ann would have been 105 years of age on March 6. She was preceded in death by her husband of 72 years, John F., Sr. in February 2007; son, George in 1943; granddaughter, Laurel Zaks in 2008; her sister, Mary Smalgio; and brothers, George Betz and Michael Betz. Ann is survived by her children, Maryanne (Arnold) Zaks, John F., Jr. (JoAnn Richard) and Margaret Susan (Allen) Miller; her sisters, Susan Halavan and Helen Charnes Schaefer; she is also survived by eight grandchildren, 17 great- grandchildren, numerous nieces and nephews, brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law. Creative by nature, Ann's passion was poetry and writing. Ann had a neighborhood local column "Around Home" in the WESTINGHOUSE VALLEY NEWS through the 1940s. She went on to win a writing award from the ATLANTIC MONTHLY magazine. She was a past president of the Pittsburgh Poetry Society. Ann also authored two books, "Eternal Memory" and a collection of her poems titled "Everyday a Celebration" and followed with extensive work on a collection of old Slovak songs With Mr. Jerry Jumba until her passing. Ann also taught herself how to play piano and was an accomplished artist resulting in numerous oil paintings that are proudly displayed by her children and others. An amateur playwright, her "Women's Lib" skit was featured at the Warhol Museum in 2004. As part of her civic interests, she served on the school board as a representative from Wall on the creation of what became the East Allegheny School District. Many remember her as a friendly face at the gift shop in Forbes Regional Hospital for more than 25 years. While the secretary for the Political Science Department at the University of Pittsburgh, she began monitoring college classes and after acquiring her GED actually started classes for formal credits. After 13 years of part time schooling, Ann graduated with honors at the age of 63. Being an independent woman, Ann got her driver's license at the age of 63 and drove safely for 36 years. Ann also taught Slovak classes to friends and parishioners at the Holy Trinity Church in Wall. She held creative writing classes for seniors at the Human Service Center in Turtle Creek where many of her students were decades younger than she. Her acquaintances in the literary field included Poet, Robert Frost and Russian Author, Boris Pasternak. Ann loved company, always had a positive outlook and will be missed by her many friends and family. The family would like to thank all of those who aided and comforted Ann since her husband's passing. Friends and family will be received on Wednesday, February 13, 2013 from 2:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m. at ALFIERI FUNERAL HOME, INC., 201 Marguerite Ave., Wilmerding, PA 15148 (412) 824-4332. Panachida Service on Wednesday at 3:00 p.m. Additional visitation on Thursday from 9:00 a.m. until time of service at 10:00 a.m.
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Published in Pittsburgh Post-Gazette from Feb. 12 to Feb. 13, 2013