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Ethel Gay PotochniakSeptember 2, 1928 ~ April 3, 2017 (age 88)
Ethel Potochniak, 88, of Shady Grove died quietly in the company of loved ones Monday night at Indiana Regional Medical Center. Born on September 2, 1928 to Hulda Layman, Ethel is preceded in death by her mother and six sisters; Ruth Clark, Stella Dias, Irene Hill, Dot Johnston, Edith Penrose, and Eva Penrose. She is also preceded in death by her late husband, Steve Potochniak, and son James. Having first caught his eye at the age of 11 when performing with a singing group in Shady Grove, Ethel and Steve eloped to Winchester, VA on January 26, 1944 when she was 15. Four years her senior, Steve left for service in the Navy shortly following their nuptials for a "long hard drag" of two years; each day of which he would send her numbered letters and a stick of chewing gum.
A life-time lover and performer of music, Ethel made a professional recording of her original music in 2009 entitled My Life in Song. Throughout her life, Ethel performed at local churches, parties, weddings, and senior centers. Ethel attended Germany United Methodist Church where she often combined her passion of music with her love of God. Immediate family cite Ethel's song Getting Old as a favorite, "I wasn't promised a life of ease; I learned very early I had to work to eat. It made me strong; it didn't make me weak, and I'll keep working until my Lord says sleep."
Ethel is survived by her son Donald Potochniak and wife Jane, daughter Patricia and husband John Terry McGinnis; grandchildren Michael (Lisa) Potochniak, Sherri (Jim) Hall, Terry (Lisa) McGinnis, Bethany (Ken) McAfoos, Megan (Donny) Swanson, Danielle (Corey) Kovalcik, Gwen Reisinger,and April (Matt) Smith; as well as 14 great-grandchildren and two great-great-grandchildren.
Family and friends will be received at Bowser Funeral Home in Homer City on Thursday from 2 to 4 and 6 to 8 pm. Funeral Services will be held on Friday beginning at 2:00 pm. Ethel will be laid to rest alongside her husband, Steve, in Germany Lutheran Cemetery, New Florence.