Cover photo for Judith G. Spitale's Obituary
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1939 Judith 2020

Judith G. Spitale

April 1, 1939 — March 1, 2020

Judith G. Spitale, 80 years old, of Exeter (formerly of Forty Fort) died on 3/1/20. She was able to remain in her home until her peaceful and dignified death with her family and loved ones by her side. She was raised in the ‘Toy Town’ section of West Wyoming. She was the daughter of the late Harland Geer and Lillian VanDermark Geer. She was preceded in death in December of 2013 by her husband of almost 51 years, Charles J. Spitale.
She was a graduate of West Wyoming High School. She received her nursing diploma from Nesbitt Hospital (1962), her bachelor’s in nursing from Wilkes College (1963), her master’s degree in Community Health Nursing from College Misericordia (1986), and was just shy of her doctorate in Nursing Education from Widner University (1992) when she shifted her career focus from nursing education back to her other true love and passion: hospice care.
On 6/22/1972, the day the Agnes flood hit Wyoming Valley, Judy had an experience that launched a lifetime passion for improving end-of-life care. As she was evacuating a bedbound patient from Nesbitt Hospital to a shelter at College Misericordia, she noticed that the woman was overcome with joy. When Judy asked her why she was smiling on such a devastating day, the woman responded that when she was admitted to the hospital, she believed she would die without ever feeling the sunshine on her face or the gentle summer breeze again. For Judy, this experience began a journey of many decades of conceptualizing and actualizing competent, compassionate, and holistic end-of-life care. It is impossible to imagine the number of people—patients, families, students, caregivers, nurses, etc—that Judy has touched and enriched during her years at Hospice St. John, Hospice Community Care, LCCC, and College Misericordia. She retired from Hospice Community Care as the Vice-President of Patient Services in 2004. But, as it was her nature to teach, serve and love, Judy volunteered at the Wilkes-Barre Free Clinic from the time of her retirement until last year.
Judy is survived by her children: Sharon and her husband, Eric Corner of Buffalo, NY; Susan and her husband, Marc Stella of West Wyoming, PA; and Sara McNelis and her partner, Michael Grady of Forty Fort, PA. And her grandchildren: Timothy Corner; Rebecca (Corner) Bieber and her husband, Matt; Julianna Stella, Eden Stella, Calista Stella, and Nicole McNelis. In September 2019, Judy was blessed to meet her first great-grandchild, Molly Rose Bieber. She is also survived by two very special people in her family’s life: Mary Ellen and James Nawrocki of Swoyersville, PA.
Funeral services will be held on Friday at 10:30am from the Metcalfe Shaver Kopcza Funeral Home Inc 504 Wyoming Avenue Wyoming with a Requiem Mass at 11am at Grace Episcopal Church: 30 Butler St., Kingston, PA 18704 with the Father John F. Hartman officiating.
Relatives and friends may call on Thursday from 5pm to 8pm and Friday 10am to 10:30am at the Metcalfe-Shaver-Kopcza Funeral Home Inc. 504 Wyoming Ave., Wyoming, PA 18644
The family would like to thank, with the deepest gratitude, everyone at Hospice of the Sacred Heart for being with Judy (and us) through her end-of-life journey and gifting her with a most dignified and peaceful death. Also, thank you to Grizwald’s Home Care caregiver, Evelyn, who was by Judy’s side 24/7, like a guardian angel, for the last several weeks of her life. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Judith Geer Spitale Fund of the Luzerne Foundation, 34 S. River St., Wilkes-Barre, PA, 18702; the Wilkes-Barre Kiwanis Foundation, PO Box 1418, Wilkes-Barre, PA 18703-1418; or the Wilkes-Barre Free Clinic at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, 35 S. Franklin St., Wilkes-Barre, PA, 18701.
For more information or to send condolences please visit us at www.metcalfeshaver.com

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