AUSTINTOWN, Ohio (MyValleyTributes) – Joan Gwendolyn “Gwen” Pierce, of Austintown, passed away peacefully at home on Sunday, September 11, 2022 surrounded by her family, after a long battle with multiple myeloma. 

Gwen was born on April 7, 1942, to Michael and Julia (Hruska) Tovarnak.

She grew up in the Lansingville neighborhood of Youngstown, later moving to the west side and graduating from Chaney High School in 1960. 

Gwen married the love of her life, Frank, on August 15, 1964.

Prior to that, she worked at Grant’s Department Store, where she met Donna Bertilacci, who would eventually become her in-law. She then worked as a teller at Dollar Bank before transitioning to homemaker after she and Frank started their family. She returned to the workforce as a cook for the Austintown School system. Gwen was later promoted to cafeteria manager at Lynn-Kirk Elementary School, where she took great pride in cooking for the students and staff. Gwen retired in 1996 to help care for her grandchildren. 

Gwen was a lifelong member of St. John Evangelical Lutheran Church, where she served as treasurer for many years. 

Gwen enjoyed cooking, baking and sewing. She was a talented seamstress who made Halloween costumes for her grandchildren and countless quilts.

Gwen is survived by her husband, Frank, of 58 years. She also leaves behind her sons, Michael (Rhonda Berlin) of Cleveland and Scott (Connie Bertilacci) of Austintown. She will be missed dearly by her treasured grandchildren, Scott, Sierra (Jantzen Wells), Grace and Sean. Gwen was a devoted sister to her brother, Dennis of Lewisville, Texas and aunt to many nieces and nephews, as well as a loving sister-in-law to Lilly of Niles and Jimmy of Girard. 

The family would like to thank The Blood and Cancer Center of Boardman, Glow Girls and Hospice of the Valley for their care and support. 

In honor of Gwen’s brave fight with cancer over the last 17 years, the family asks that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the Hospice of the Valley or the American Cancer Society in her name. 

Visitation for Gwen will be held Sunday, September 18, 2022, from 2:00 – 3:00 p.m., followed by a Memorial Service at 3:00 p.m., at Lane Family Funeral Homes, Austintown Chapel, 5797 Mahoning Avenue, Youngstown, Ohio 44515. 

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A television tribute will air Thursday, September 15 at the following approximate times: 5:17 a.m. on WKBN, 8:39 a.m. on FOX, 5:21 p.m. on WYTV and 6:35 p.m. on MyYTV.