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Sad News for Election Integrity: Demodonkey's Mother

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MaggieTheVoter Donating Member (28 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-29-11 08:35 PM
Original message
Sad News for Election Integrity: Demodonkey's Mother
Edited on Mon Aug-29-11 09:04 PM by MaggieTheVoter
I am a long time lurker, new member, from Pennsylvania. Please forgive me for any cross postings, but many of you may know demodonkey (Marybeth) of VotePA, and in case you did not hear, I am very sad to say that she lost her beloved mother earlier this month. I am posting this with her permission.

Merle Kuznik succumbed to the results of a tragic accident and was laid to rest a little over a week ago. She was a wonderful and wise woman whose many years as a poll worker and voting rights advocate were a true inspiration not only to her daughter, Marybeth, but to all of us who were lucky enough to know her. Her support was crucial to VotePA.

Merle Smith Kuznik

Merle Smith Kuznik, 93, died August 12, 2011 at Westmoreland Hospital in Greensburg PA following a tragic accident at home a week earlier. Nicknamed "Duz" (who does everything) by family and friends, Merle led an active life that centered around her church and faith, her involvement in her community, and her love of children whom she believed represent our future.

Born March 25, 1918 in Port Vue PA, Merle was the daughter of the late Charles S. and Sarah Ann (Crouch) Smith. She was a graduate of McKeesport High School, in the top ten of her 1936 class. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Education from Slippery Rock State Teachers College (Slippery Rock University) and a Master of Education from the University of Pittsburgh. Merle retired in 1982 from a career in Elementary Education that spanned 42 years in the Liberty Boro and Penn-Trafford schools, during which she taught every grade from kindergarten through seventh. For several years she was a faculty member at Slippery Rock where taught in the Education Department's Lab School.

(snip)

After retirement from teaching, Merle helped her daughter Marybeth organize SchoolTime Theatre, the first Actors' Equity Theater for Young Audiences in Pennsylvania. This troupe presented educational plays written by Merle and Marybeth for children in schools throughout Western and Central Pennsylvania, and performed off-Broadway in New York City. In May 1992, Merle was honored by WQED with the CNG VITA Award for her volunteer in the arts work as Producer of SchoolTime Theatre.

Merle believed deeply in Civics Education, and cared about the right of every citizen to participate in our democracy by voting. With nearly 30 years as a precinct Judge of Elections, at the time of her death Merle was still working at her poll in Penn Township every election day. She was an instrumental member and strong supporter of VotePA, the statewide organization dedicated to voting rights and the use of verifiable and accessible voting systems. On July 4 of this year Merle participated with VotePA in a voting rights rally in Franklin, Venango County. (SEE PICTURE AT BEGINNING OF POST)

(snip)

Here is her full obituary: http://tinyurl.com/MerleK


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MADem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-29-11 08:39 PM
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1. What a beautiful woman. I wish her family the best in this tough time. NT
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brooklyn297 Donating Member (27 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-05-11 11:00 PM
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13. +1
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RKP5637 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-29-11 08:42 PM
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2. Thanks for posting! What a trooper! We need more! A very gallant and
inspiring person!
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Mnemosyne Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-29-11 09:18 PM
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3. I was born on her fortieth birthday! What a lady; what an amazing life!
Edited on Mon Aug-29-11 09:21 PM by Mnemosyne
Rest in Peace...and thanks. :toast:

My deepest sympathies, Marybeth. :hug:
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Starry Messenger Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-29-11 09:18 PM
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4. k&r
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Peace Patriot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-29-11 09:42 PM
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5. Kudos and laurel wreaths to Merle Smith Kuznik for an awesome life!
:yourock: :applause: :bounce: O8) :hug: :grouphug: :hug: O8) :bounce: :applause: :yourock:

:wow: Out there with her ballot integrity sign at 93!!! :wow:

Love and strength to Demdonkey!

Peace :patriot:

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WillYourVoteBCounted Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-29-11 11:09 PM
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6. she was sweet, and very much loved and cared for by her daughter
I met Merle in DC, her daughter brought her to a voting event. (that is so cool)
Merle was a very sweet lady who enjoyed life.

She was frail, but at that age, thats normal.

I was impressed with the smile on her face, the glow in her cheeks.
She was well cared for, clean and dressed nicely, comfortably.

Her daughter pampered her and very dedicated to Merle.

Sadly Merle had a fall that ultimately caused her life story to come to an end.

Many elderly succumb after a fall. We wish it wouldn't happen, but ultimately,
it does happen in spite of our best efforts.

Sadly, I lost my mother in 2010, not long after a fall. :(
She was very frail too. I got very depressed for a long time afterwards, and lost my drive.

We do everything we can to take care of them, but there's no stopping time, no matter how sad we are to see them go.

In my opinion, there is no good death, at least not for most of us.

Merle had a good life, she made a great contribution to democracy, and she will be missed.

Her daughter continues the tradition of fighting for democracy.

Marybeth, I am sorry for your loss, I know that you did everything you could for your Mom,
and as a result, she had a much better life than most seniors can ever dream of.

Please accept my condolences and I will be thinking of you and yours.

Regards;
WYVBC
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Lugnut Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-30-11 12:14 AM
Response to Reply #6
7. I'm so sorry for your loss.
I, too, lost my mother on Christmas Day in 2010. She fell and broke her hip on Dec 1st then had her third stroke on Dec 7th. I miss her every day. She was an FDR Democrat who continued to vote by absentee ballot until she left us.
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MaggieTheVoter Donating Member (28 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-30-11 12:12 PM
Response to Reply #6
9. It wasn't exactly a simple fall...
Edited on Tue Aug-30-11 12:14 PM by MaggieTheVoter
...without going into every detail the accident was due to a bad shower chair, causing trauma to Merle's chest and heart. Marybeth was attending her at the time. She tried desperately to save her mother but wasn't able to stop what happened. It's really tough to witness someone you love go through something like that. Really tough.

We are doing all we can to help Marybeth and make it possible for her to continue the work she (and Merle) does for election integrity in PA. We appreciate everyone's help.

Thank you WYVBC (and everyone) for your kind words, recs, and support.
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WillYourVoteBCounted Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-30-11 10:57 PM
Response to Reply #9
10. exactly
there are no simple falls. Even when you are watching someone or even holding their arm.

Anyone who has met Marybeth or seen her with her mother saw that Marybeth took exceptional care of her mother.

I know this is very traumatic to Marybeth, she was very devoted to her Mom.
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Fly by night Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-30-11 09:40 AM
Response to Original message
8. Marybeth, so sorry to hear of your loss.
You (we) were blessed by your mother's long life, and lifelong devotion to children, the arts, and the democratic ideal.

A life well lived, and well worth living. My heart is with you now.
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AverageJoe90 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-31-11 12:04 PM
Response to Original message
11. R.I.P. Mrs. Kuznik.
You're in a much better place now. :)
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Yellow Horse Donating Member (462 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-31-11 11:45 PM
Response to Original message
12. Incredible life, incredible lady!
Merle's story is truly inspiring... :yourock:

Keep up the good work in Pennsylvania, demodonkey! Let us know if there is anything we can do to help.
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Divernan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-07-11 07:32 PM
Response to Original message
14. More impressive info from her full obituary. What a gal!
Edited on Wed Sep-07-11 07:32 PM by Divernan
Merle's strong belief in her community led her to serve as an Air Raid Warden in Port Vue during World War II, during which she treated the injured and helped with security after the major tornado in Port Vue and Dravosburg on June 23, 1944. Around the time of the war, Merle and her sister Myrtle founded the first Girl Scout troops in Liberty Boro. She later continued her scouting leadership in the Harrison City area. A 4-H leader for over 25 years, Merle and her husband were the founding Organizational Leaders of the very active Flour Bag Fort 4-H Horse Club.

With her late husband and son, and daughter Marybeth, Merle raised beef cattle and foundation Quarter Horses on their third-generation family farm in the Pleasant Valley area of Penn Township in Westmoreland County. The farm is approaching Century Farm status. She was a member of the Pennsylvania Palomino Exhibitors Association and a former Alternate National Director of the Palomino Horse Breeders of America.

After retirement from teaching, Merle helped her daughter Marybeth organize SchoolTime Theatre, the first Actors' Equity Theater for Young Audiences in Pennsylvania. This troupe presented educational plays written by Merle and Marybeth for children in schools throughout Western and Central Pennsylvania, and performed off-Broadway in New York City. In May 1992, Merle was honored by WQED with the CNG VITA Award for her volunteer in the arts work as Producer of SchoolTime Theatre.
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