After a long and fulfilling life, Mardelle Fish met her maker on Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2019.
Mardelle Eve Fish was born on Nov. 27, 1920, in Indiana, to Walter C. and Margaret (Allsip) Fish.
At the request of her father, who operated a successful business in Indiana, she attended Indiana State Teachers College (now Indiana University of Pennsylvania) and graduated in 1942 with a degree in business education.
It was her father’s hope that she would eventually help run the family business. Mardelle worked in the office of R&P Coal Company for a few years and later taught business for several years at the high school level. However, in 1953, shortly after her father’s untimely death, she returned to ISTC and completed the requirements for certification as a teacher at the elementary school level. Additional graduate work was completed at the University of Pittsburgh in 1955.
Although Mardelle greatly admired her father and wanted to please him, her desire was always to teach young children. It was her belief that children should always be encouraged to follow their own dreams.
Mardelle taught more than 30 years at both the elementary and high school levels in Vandergrift and Indiana. She retired in June 1984 after teaching more than 26 years at Ben Franklin Elementary School in Indiana. She loved her kindergarten and first-grade students and kept mementos of their work for the rest of her life. She was very proud of her work teaching young children to read, a personal pleasure of her own that she developed at a very early age.
Mardelle had a long and productive life that was filled with many blessings. A devotion to bridge kept her mind active. She did not stop playing bridge until a few years before her death. Her love of reading was lifelong. At age 92, while sitting on the examination table in her physician’s office, she referenced an article she had recently read in the Harvard Women’s Health Watch that she thought might have a bearing on her health. A love of sports and physical activity led to years of swimming, golfing, skating, bowling and other activities that kept her healthy and active, belying her actual age.
A love of travel broadened her interest in history and other cultures. She traveled extensively during summer vacations and after her retirement. A love of people resulted in an extensive network of friends. At various times during her life she volunteered with many organizations, including the Red Cross and The Salvation Army. She was active for many years in the Business and Professional Woman and earned certification as a literacy tutor after her retirement.
During World War II she was a volunteer at the Indiana Hospital, where she was able to meet and talk with Jimmy Stewart when he visited his mother during her illnesses. She was an accomplished pianist/organist.
Mardelle was a member of Zion Lutheran Church for more than 90 years and attended services regularly, until her health made attendance impossible. As her circle of friends naturally declined, she created a new circle of friends/family at the Indiana Senior Center. She was a regular for lunch for over 30 years and could not say enough about how welcoming the staff, volunteers and other seniors were to her. Bridge and the senior center gave enduring pleasure and meaning to her life in retirement. Her last few years were made more bearable by the devoted care of Ruby Tabacsko, now retired from VNA (we should all be lucky enough to have a Ruby in our lives) and the staff at Indian Haven.
Mardelle never married, but she nurtured countless children. She is survived by two sisters-in law, Genevieve (Robert) Fish and Roberta (Walter) Fish Fisher, both of Indiana; Jean Parker of Brookville, widow of her only cousin; six nieces; one nephew; two great-nieces; nine great-nephews; several great-great-nieces/ nephews; and a longtime close friend and bridge partner, Wayne Davis, of Indiana. She was preceded in death by her parents; brothers Walter L. Fish and Robert E. Fish; only cousin Earl M. (Jack) Parker, of Brookville; one nephew, Donald R. Fish; and one great-nephew, Joshua Fish.
Arrangements will be private. If you knew and admired Mardelle, honor her memory by reading a book to a child. If you did not know her, read a book to a child anyway.
Robinson-Lytle Inc. is in charge of arrangements.