CHESTER - Julia A. Glass, 86, a lifelong Chester resident, passed away peacefully at her home with family at her side on Monday, March 3, 2014. A devout Catholic who cherished her religion, family and friends, Mrs. Glass was a courageous, inspirational 25-year breast cancer survivor who successfully overcame a 1998 colon cancer challenge only to succumb 16 years later to an aggressive pancreatic cancer diagnosed June 2013. She was an independent, physically active and well-read widow whose spirited determination and inward/outward beauty spanned time. An avid West Virginia "Mountaineer" who loved West Virginia and WVU football - especially when they were winning - she cherished her visits with her children, grandchildren and Raleigh, N.C., great-granddaughter Violet.
A first-generation American born on Jan. 19, 1928, Mrs. Glass was the daughter of the late Sophie Sagan Smusz and Anthony Smusz who immigrated to America through Ellis Island from Poland. She was the seventh of eight children, all of whom are now deceased, with the exception of the youngest, John J. Smusz of Chester.
Mrs. Glass was preceded in death by her husband Theodore D. "Ted" Glass, with whom she celebrated 51 years of marriage and raised five children. An Andre Rieu fan who enjoyed "Big Band" music from the war years and dancing wedding polkas, she had numerous travel adventures including favorite trips to New York, N.Y.; Washington, D.C.; Williamsburg, Va.; the Greenbrier Hotel & Resort in Lewisburg, W.Va.; the Grand Canyon in Arizona; Fort Lauderdale, St. Augustine and Orlando, Florida; and the Carolinas.
She was an 86-year member of the Sacred Heart Catholic Church where she was baptized, confirmed and married. She had actively served its Sacred Heart Ladies Guild as past president and as a parish volunteer for church hall dinners, holiday celebrations, clothes closet donations, food bank collections and Meals on Wheels. Many admired her for her honesty, generosity, kindness and rock solid faith. She was an early member of the Chester Junior Women's Club and participated as a member of the Parent Teacher's Association and the Oak Glen High School Football Mother's Club.
She is cherished for her dedication to her family and for her loving support of her children's academic pursuits and athletic, cheerleading and extracurricular club activities. She was the "stay-at-home mom homemaker extraordinaire" who canned fresh picked vegetables, made delectable strawberry jam and chocolate fudge, baked dozens of scrumptious Christmas cookies from scratch and made savory cabbage rolls, chili and chicken soup - all the while carrying the "spirit of Christmas" in her heart throughout the year. She always thought of others and how she could help them in their time of need.
A 1945 Chester High School graduate, prom queen, member of the high school band and "Spring Fever" class play lead actress, Mrs. Glass was one of the last three surviving members of her 1945 graduation class. Prior to becoming a homemaker, she was employed by the former Chester A & P grocery store and by the National Church Supply Co at its early Carolina Avenue location. She later obtained her nurse's aide certificate. Her chocolate fudge candy making skills and love of chocolate led her to a part-time position at the Baker's Dream Shop.
Mrs. Glass was often interviewed by writers who were researching Chester history background information for their fiction and non-fiction books. She also enjoyed serving the city of Chester during election years by working over a 20-year time span at Chester's voting/election stations.
She leaves her five children including three daughters: her Chester caregiver, Patricia Glass of Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; Realtor Peggy Glass of Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.; and Mary Glass, Atty. of Charleston, W.Va.; and two sons: Michael (Sandra) Glass, Atty. of Upper St. Clair, Pa.; and business executive David (Charlotte) Glass of St. Augustine, Fla. She is also survived by four grandchildren: Brittany (Chris) Thomas of Raleigh, N.C., and great-grandchild Violet Thomas; Julia (Michael) Gropper of Jacksonville, Fla.; Christopher Glass of St. Augustine, Fla.; and Patrick Glass of Pittsburgh. Additional family members include sister-in-law Saundra (Jerry) McCuen of Auburn, Ga., and numerous nieces, nephews and cousins.
Family members who predeceased Mrs. Glass include her sisters Anne (Andy) Blaner, Bernice Smusz, Mildred Smusz and Mary (George) Macey and her brothers Joe (Doris) Smusz and Stanley (Nell) Smusz.
Visitation will be held for family and friends at Arner Funeral Home in Chester on Friday, March 7, from 2-4 and 6-8 p.m. All are invited to attend the 7:30 p.m. Liturgy of the Word Service following visitation conducted by the Rev. Eric B. Antwi.
The Rev. Father Eric Antwi will preside for a Mass of Christian Funeral on Saturday, March 8, at 11 a.m. the Sacred Heart Church where church members will recite the Rosary in Julia's memory at 10:30 a.m. Burial will take place at Mill Creek Hill Cemetery next to Theodore D. Glass at the Glass family cemetery plot. Friends and family are invited to meet immediately following the burial services to celebrate Julia Glass' life at a commemorative dinner prepared by the Sacred Heart Ladies Guild in the Sacred Heart Catholic Center located behind the Sacred Heart Catholic Church at 418 4th St., Chester, W.Va.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations in Julia Glass' name may be made to the Sacred Heart Catholic Church or to the Sacred Heart Ladies Guild in Chester, W.Va., or to Valley Hospice Foundation.
Julia Glass' family appreciates the loving support given to her by the Valley Hospice staff, the Sacred Heart Church membership, the Sacred Heart Ladies Guild, Cathy Glass, Anthony and Michelle Bernardi, Bob and Janice Anderson, Dorothy Blaner, Steve Fineman, Doris Whittaker, and Leslie Stroud.
You may view this memorial and send condolences at www.arnerfuneralchapel.com