Patricia B. Salai, of Hunker, was born July 2, 1955, in Wheeling, W.Va., to Bernard W. Baltz and Dorothy Siburt Baltz. Patti passed away Monday, Nov. 23, 2020, due to COVID complications. She was 65 and died at Westmoreland Hospital. Patti attended John Marshall High School, where she was an excellent student, who had a natural ability to build lifetime friendships by being a caring, thoughtful, selfless friend to many of all ages. She was active in a broad spectrum of extra-curricular activities including her favorite of being an accomplished musician (on trumpet) in the JMHS band and the Wheeling "Junior Symphony". After graduation, Patti began her professional career as a diploma nurse from Wheeling Hospital, and then went to WVU for her bachelor of science of nursing, graduating in 1976. She continued working while obtaining her master's degree, also from WVU as a nurse practioner and clinical nurse specialist in 1985. She began her nephrology NP career at WVU. She left there in 1987 and moved to Pittsburgh to work at the VA Medical Center in the dialysis unit where, she dedicated the next 30 years of her career providing excellent care to our nation's heroes as an NP/CNS until her retirement in July of 2017. Her specialty was in nephrology where she initiated numerous programs that enhanced the health of veteran's with kidney disease. She was an active member of the American Nephrology Nursing Association (ANNA), holding many leadership positions in the local, regional and national chapters of the organization. She was the founding member and first president of the Three Rivers Chapter. Her peers state "She was a dynamic nursing leader who made things happen by being a risk taker while working tirelessly and building teams of knowledgeable workers. Patti's influence on expanding the role of nephrology nursing will be missed. She was a leader in an environment and at a time when we needed brave, skilled and professional nurses to show us the way." Patti was a prolific nurse educator and scholar, publishing many articles in the Nephrology Nursing Journal and medical texts. She received numerous national awards and was sought after by "headhunters", even after retirement, for her knowledge and expertise in her field. On a personal note, Patti loved to go "crafty junk shopping" with her friends, antique stores and shopping for "hidden treasures" often to resell. She loved her two "fleatique stores" and finding and making items to stock them. She also loved making jewelry and re-purposing items. She loved going to the beach with her friends. Most of all she loved her son, Alex, who was the light of her life. She loved watching him grow into a God-centered young man, playing in-line and ice hockey and watching "The Office" with him. Unfortunately she will not be here to see him graduate and follow in her foot steps as a nurse. She was a dear friend to many, a caring nurse, a great wife, and an even better mother, and is already sorely missed. She now resides with the rest of the angels. "Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints," (Psalm 116:15). Patti was a breast cancer survivor. She is survived by her loving husband, Thomas A. Salai, a son, Alex N. Salai, of Hunker, brother, Neal Baltz and wife, Julie, of Palatine, Ill., two nephews, Josh Baltz and wife, Chana, of Geneva, Ill., and David Baltz, of Naperville, Ill., a niece, Claire Baltz, of Lombard, Ill.; and a great-niece, Raelyn. Friends will be received from 3 to 9 p.m. Friday, Nov. 27, 2020, at the C. RICHARD McCAULEY FUNERAL HOME INC., Youngwood. Additional visitation will be held from 10 to 11 a.m. Saturday in Heritage Baptist Church, Jeannette, at which time there will be a funeral service. Interment will follow at Greenridge Memorial Park. Thanks to the dedicated and professional staff at The Excela/ Westmoreland ICU for their love, patience and care of Patti during her month long stay there.
Published in Tribune Review from Nov. 25 to Nov. 28, 2020.