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Isabelle Olah Horvath

June 17, 2015

Isabelle Olah Horvath

April 10, 1919 – June 17, 2015

Passed away peacefully in her home in Elysburg, Pennsylvania in the company of her daughter Veronica and sons Charlie and Ed. Isabelle was married to George J. Horvath on December 26, 1946 at St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Church in Berwick, PA.   Her husband, George, passed away June 15, 1983 eighteen months after they moved into a home they built in Elysburg.

Isabelle was the 8th of 9 children born to Julianna Vigh Olah and Antal Olah who immigrated to the United States from Hungary and made Berwick their home. She was a graduate of Berwick High School Class of 1937.  After her father was killed in a truck accident when she was 13, her older brothers Anthony Olah, Alexander Olah, William Olah and her sister Julia Olah Strait went to work and supported Isabelle, her mother, and younger brother Charles Olah. They made it possible for her to attend Bloomsburg University (Bloomsburg State Teachers College) as a commuting day student and graduate with a Bachelor Degree as a proud member of the Class of 1941.  She began work on a master’s degree program at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina and 20 years later resumed her studies and in 1966 she was conferred a Master of Arts degree by St. Joseph University, Philadelphia, PA. 

While Isabelle was a student at Bloomsburg, her sister Julie made a point of sending her five dollars of ”mad money” every month even though finances were tight to spend as she pleased. Many years later, Isabelle created an XX Club (Roman numeral for 20) and sent $20 every month to family members who were pursuing higher education, from her children and grandchildren to nieces and nephews, great nieces and nephews, and great great nieces.

Isabelle began her teaching career two months after she completed her bachelor’s degree.  She was certified to teach at both the secondary and elementary levels.   She first taught English and Latin at Berwick High School.  She moved and taught in schools in Philadelphia where her husband George was employed by the U.S. General Accounting Office (GAO).  They relocated to Harrisburg, PA following his reassignment by GAO. While living in Harrisburg, Isabelle taught at the elementary level while raising three children. The family relocated again for George’s work and lived in Upper Darby, PA where they resided for 25 years and raised their family. Isabelle taught 2nd, 5th, and 6th grades at Hillcrest Elementary School in Drexel Hill from 1957 until she retired from teaching in 1980. Many of her students and their parents considered her the teacher who got through to them and inspired them to consider learning as a fun and enriching experience.  Isabelle, Beverly Rorer, a spectacular science teacher, and a small group of volunteers began a tradition of taking about 45 6th grade girls on a weekend camping trip just before the end of the school year as a character and independence building opportunity.

Isabelle was a devout Roman Catholic and a regular practitioner and believer in the Resurrection of the Lord as demonstrated in her great faith, joy, and comfort in prayer. She was an active member of Queen of the Most Holy Rosary parish in Elysburg.  A member of the choir for many years and an active member of the Legion of Mary and the Good Samaritans, she considered her appointment to serve as a Eucharistic Minister for 20 years to be one of the greatest honors of her life.  She attended daily Mass right up until a few days before her death, led the praying of the Rosary for many years, and was a willing volunteer for many service activities, including Elysburg’s All Home Days and other community events.

She also served for a number of years on the Ralpho Township Library Board.  After her advanced loss of vision associated with macular degeneration made reading printed materials impossible, she continued to learn and broaden her experience by listening to hundreds of audio books for the blind under a Library of Congress program that is administered by the Philadelphia Library in the State of Pennsylvania. 

Isabelle enjoyed bowling, even though she never got very good at it, and participated in leagues while she lived in Drexel Hill and Elysburg. She was a lifelong blood donor to the American Red Cross and donated gallons of blood over the years to help others. An avid gardener, she loved tending her flowers and sharing them with friends and neighbors. Her greatest focus and joy, however, was her love for her family.

Isabelle encouraged lifelong learning and adventure and loved to travel around the U.S.A. and abroad. She made several trips to Hungary through the past 5 decades to visit relatives, including a trip in 2009 to celebrate her 90th birthday. She learned to speak fluent Hungarian from her immigrant parents and was the primary link, translator and Matriarch for several generations of family located in the U.S. and in Hungary.  In recent years, each Sunday morning at 9:00 years she had a treasured phone conversation in Hungarian with one of her two remaining cousins who lives in a small village in Hungary to share messages of love and share memories and songs they learned as children over 90 years ago. 

In addition to her daughter and two sons, Isabelle is survived by daughter Veronica Horvath Epley and sons Charles P. Horvath and Edward G. Horvath (Richard Neidich)in the U.S.A. cherished by grandson - Andrew Horvath (Samantha) and a Great Grandson Caleb Charles Horvath of Prescott, Arizona; Grandson Mark Horvath, Arlington, Virginia; Grandaughter Meredith Epley McWilliams (John), Houston, Texas; Grandaughter Caroline Epley Batka (Miroslav), Arlington, Virginia; Grandson Patrick Epley (Kelly) of Norman, Oklahoma; and step-Grandchildren Brian Epley (Tiffany), Falls Church, Virginia and Barbara Epley Squitieri (Tommy) of Warrenton, Virginia.  She is also survived by nephews Charles Olah of Edwardsville, Pennsylvania and Blaise Olah of Berwick, and several nieces: Louise Olah Lupton of Las Vegas, Nevada; Peg Olah of Wilkes Barre; Julie Olah Lynn of Berwick; Mary Horvath Murray of Union, West Virginia; and Elizabeth Horvath Ramsay (Charles) of Virginia, Minnesota. 

Already considered an angel by many who know her, and a role model for love, faith, family, and hope, Isabelle will also be missed by her friends, her Hungarian relatives, and her Great nephews and Great nieces, Great Great nieces and the newest member of the family one Great Great Great niece born a few days ago.

                           Relatives and friends are invited to attend a Mass of Christian Burial to be held Saturday, June 20, 2015 at The Queen of the Most Holy Rosary Catholic Church, 599 West Center Street, Elysburg, PA, at 11:00 AM with the Reverend Al Sceski as Celebrant. Friends may call at the viewing to be held Friday, June 19, 2015 from 5:00PM to 7:00PM at the church and also Saturday from 9:00AM-10:45AM at the church. Burial will be held in the family plot at St. Mary’s Cemetery in Berwick, PA at 3:00PM.

                           Memorial Contributions may be made in lieu of flowers to The Queen of the Most Holy Rosary Catholic Church in Isabelle’s name to improve handicap accessibility for the church.

                Arrangements are under the direction of Visneski Funeral Home, Inc., 10 West Mahoning Street, Danville, PA 17821. www.visneski.com


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