BESSEMER, Pennsylvania (MyValleyTributes) – Rose Marie (Vlah) Potochnik, 92, of Bessemer, Pennsylvania, passed away peacefully in her sleep Sunday, November 6, 2022, at Masternick Memorial.
Rose, or Rosie as many called her, was born on September 24, 1930, in New Castle, Pennsylvania, a daughter of the late Louis and Amelia (Grbac) Vlah.
Rosie remembered her childhood fondly and often talked of rushing to get all of her chores done at home so she could go work on her grandmother’s farm, drive the tractor and drink beer after a hard day’s work.
She was a 1948 graduate of Bessemer High School, where she met the love of her life, Tony A. Potochnik, Jr. They were married on October 8, 1949, enjoyed 62 years together and raised six children. They saved diligently and as a young couple, built their house on 12th street by hand. Rosie always said, “I don’t know how we did it.”
Rosie exemplified hard work and could be seen working out in her yard and shoveling snow into her later years. She cleaned her house and garage from top to bottom every spring and fall. She also had a creative mind and was always working on projects or dreaming up how to fix things. She was a homemaker, world-class cook, loving mother (to all who knew her) and someone who was always willing to volunteer or lend a helping hand.
She also went to school to earn her LPN and worked as a rural mail carrier for Bessemer Post Office until her retirement. Many remember her as always having candy and presents to hand out on the route from her mail Jeep.
She also taught Sunday school for many years at St. Anthony’s Parish.
Rosie made life fun—she loved visiting with friends over a half a cup of coffee and a danish, watching the birds from her window, playing music and dancing in the kitchen and typing thoughtful personal letters on her typewriter with artwork and stickers for loved ones. She could sew and make any craft she envisioned, and her children and grandchildren always had the best hand-made Valentine’s Day boxes to take to school. Rosie adored polkas and loved to go to SNPJ to listen to polka bands and dance. She even taught herself to play the accordion and harmonica. Rosie created a world of make believe for her grandchildren to play in and was a joy for all to be around.
Of the many lives Rosie touched, none were luckier than her family for whom she sacrificed all. She was very close with her four sisters, Caroline, Wilma, Francie and Jeanie.
She and Tony made countless cross-country visits to see their children and enjoyed trips to Croatia, Canada, Mexico, Nevada, Florida and Arizona with them. They also loved to spend time at their daughter’s farm in Coudersport, Pennsylvania. Their children came “back home” every Labor Day for the Canfield Fair to a house packed to the brim with love and food. There was no better place to be than Rosie’s house, a.k.a. Grand Central Station.
Rose is survived by her children, Karen (Chuck) Musitano of Benton, Pennsylvania, Janet (David) Houk of Goose Creek, South Carolina, Anthony (Karen) Potochnik of New Middletown, Ohio, Suzanne (Steve) Fessler of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, Joanne (Lenny) Gravel of Mississauga, Ontario and Rosanne (Mark) Green of New Castle, Pennsylvania; 11 grandchildren, and eight great-grandchildren.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Tony Potochnik; her grandchildren, Kristen Joy and Aric Potochnik and her sisters, Caroline (Vlah) Tasota and Vivian Francis Vlah.
Calling hours will be held at Terry A. Cunningham Funeral Home in Bessemer, Pennsylvania on Thursday, November 10, 2022 from 5:00 – 7:00 p.m. with services held at the funeral home on Friday, November 11 at 11:00 a.m. with an hour visitation prior, 10:00 – 11:00 a.m.
A television tribute will air Tuesday, November 8 at the following approximate times: 7:10 a.m. on FOX, 12:22 p.m. on WKBN, 5:08 p.m. on MyYTV and 7:27 p.m. on WYTV.