Veronica Pitoniak, R.N., 89, of Jessup, died peacefully Friday surrounded by her family after a brief illness. Her husband of 63 years, Michael E., died on Dec. 2, 2011.
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She was the daughter of the late Michael and Veronica Gorel Cholish, Jessup. She was educated at St. Michael's School, Jessup, and St. Patrick's School, Olyphant. She graduated from Temple University's School of Nursing with her R.N. degree.
Her nursing career was a source of personal pride and included work in Minnesota, the Navajo Indian Reservation in New Mexico and Temple University Hospital. She returned to Jessup to care for her ailing father, at which time she met her husband. Locally, she worked at Hahnemann Hospital, leaving to raise her four children. When she returned to her nursing career, she was head nurse of the pediatric unit at St. Joseph's Hospital for 30 years.
She was a lifelong and active member of St. Michael's Church, Jessup, where she was a lector and adult altar server. She was president of Altar and Rosary Society and member of St. Monica's Guild. Her life in faith culminated with a pilgrimage to Fatima. She helped organize the Quilter's Club and participated in making afghans and quilts for many years for the annual Quilt Bingo. She volunteered for the local Bread Basket organization and for school vision screenings.
Veronica belonged to the Mid Valley Women's Club and the Over Fifty Club, where she acted as president, vice president, secretary and treasurer over the years. She especially enjoyed organizing their outings.
Her years as a Gramma were her most cherished. She looked forward to daily trips to Kids Korner and spending summers at Moosic Lakes. She was an avid reader, visiting the local library weekly. She was a wonderful cook and baker, specializing in Slovak recipes and treats for all to enjoy. Upon losing her husband, Veronica resided at Forest City Personal Care and developed close comforting friendships.
She is survived by a son, Michael J. Pitoniak and wife, Sharon, Dunmore; three daughters, Ann Marie McDonald and husband, Patrick, Scranton; Theresa Haggerty, Jessup; and Joanne Sterchak, Forest City; nine grandchildren, Joseph McDonald, California; Matthew McDonald and wife, Emily, Scranton; David McDonald and wife, Sara, Scranton; Rebecca Kashinski and husband, David, New York; Dana Barrett and husband, Michael, Dunmore; Erin Srebro and husband, Robert, Jessup; Sarah Haggerty, Jessup; Michael Andrew Sterchak, Hoboken; and Stephanie Sterchak, Mechanicsburg; two great-grandsons, Andrew and Benjamin McDonald, Scranton; a brother, Michael Colis, Taylor; two sisters, Genevieve Kowalchik, Jessup; and Pauline Hallisky, Olyphant; two sisters-in-law, Verna Zuklie and Rose Marie Skurja, both of Connecticut; several nieces and nephews.
She was also preceded in death by two sons-in-law, Neil T. Haggerty and Dr. Michael T. Stechak; a great-grandson, Ethan McDonald; a brother, Bernard; and several brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law.
The funeral will Monday with Mass at 9:30 a.m. in St. Michael's Church, Jessup. Those attending are asked to go directly to the church. Interment will take place at St. Michael's Cemetery, Jessup.
Friends may call today from 3 to 5 p.m. at the Louis M. Margotta Funeral Home, 511 Church St., Jessup, PA 18434. For directions or online condolences, visit www.mar gottafuneralhomes.com.
Published in Scranton Times on Nov. 18, 2012