PITTSTON — Wilma (Drugach) Hurst entered eternal life when she passed away Tuesday, Sept. 2, 2014, at Wesley Village after a lengthy illness. A longtime resident of South Empire Street in Wilkes-Barre, she also resided at Brooks Estates for several years.
A daughter of the late Andrew and Mary (Timko) Drugach, she was born in Edwardsville on Dec. 23, 1930, and grew up on the West Side. She graduated from Luzerne High School in 1948, and was a 1952 graduate of the Wilkes-Barre General Hospital School of Nursing. As a registered nurse, she became a member of the hospital's first intravenous therapy team.
She married Carl F. Hurst Jr. in 1955 in Messiah Lutheran Church and moved to Wilkes-Barre. They were married for 51 years before his death in 2006.
Putting her nursing career on hold, she became a stay-at-home mom to four children and volunteered many hours to their school, church and community activities. As a member of Messiah and later as a charter member of Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, she taught Sunday school, directed vacation bible school, served on church council and various committees, coordinated the SHARE food program, served as a Thrivent representative and made hundreds of baptismal napkins for newborns.
Her creative talents were varied and freely shared, as she made everything from clothing and award-winning Halloween costumes for her children, knitted and crocheted hats and scarves for service projects, imaginative handcrafted gifts for family and friends and many crafts for many people and organizations.
She returned to nursing after her children were grown and was a nursing supervisor at Little Flower Manor before retiring in 1994. She was also a volunteer nurse for the Wilkes-Barre Free Clinic, an RSVP volunteer and a supporter of many charities.
Wilma lived an ordinary life in an extraordinary way. She had great strength of character, deep faith, uncommon generosity and true compassion. She was deeply devoted to her family and was an inspiration to them, especially as she cared for others with unceasing devotion and quiet resolve and as she endured her own illness. She taught values by example, through actions more than words, and practiced the concept of "paying it forward" long before it became a popular phrase. She gave of her time, talents and treasure freely and without thought of recognition. Even as she endured a difficult illness, she exhibited uncommon grace, great strength and deep faith, still thinking of others before herself.
In addition to her parents and husband, she was preceded in death by her daughter, Amy Hurst Ellis; her sisters, Shirley and Mary Ann; and her brother, Andrew.
She is survived by her three children, Wilma Gardner and her husband, Gary, Plains Township, Carl and his wife, Nancy, Plains Township, Ronald, Hanover; son-in-law, Joseph Ellis and his wife, Doreen, Bear Creek. She is also survived by eight grandchildren, Meghan Hurst Daney and her husband, Eric, Sarah Ellis, Ryan Hurst, Joey Ellis, Allison Hurst, Matthew Gardner, Katelyn Hurst and Veronica Hurst; sister-in-law, Peg Wyda; nieces, Margaret and Laura; and by numerous cousins.
The family thanks the staff of Wesley Village for the love, care and compassion they unfailingly showed our mother during her stay, as well as gratitude to the staff of Celtic Hospice and pastors Janell Wigen and Peter Kuritz of Good Shepherd Lutheran Church for their spiritual support.
Funeral services will be held at 9:30 a.m. Saturday from the Nat & Gawlas Funeral Home, 89 Park Ave., Wilkes-Barre, with a service to follow at 10 a.m. in Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, 190 S. Main St., Wilkes-Barre. The Rev. Peter Kuritz and the Rev. Janell Wigen will officiate. Interment will be in Mount Greenwood Cemetery, Shavertown. Friends may call from 5 to 8 p.m. Friday at the funeral home.
In lieu of flowers, donations made be made in Wilma's memory to Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, 190 S. Main St., Wilkes-Barre, PA 18701; or to Wesley Village, 209 Roberts Road, Pittston, PA 18640.
Online condolences may be sent by visiting Wilma's obituary at www.natandgawlasfuneralhome.com.
Thank you, Mom and Grammy, for being the person you were. You were so loved and will always be in our hearts.