Gail Britanik

Obituary of Gail C Britanik

Gail C. Britanik,

Of Forest Hills, On Tuesday, July 12, 2022. Beloved wife of James Ruck; sister of Sharon Wulf, M. Patricia (Michael) Shehorn, and Thomas (Shelley) Britanik.  After high school Gail entered the Sisters of Charity of Seton Hill. She taught in elementary, middle and high schools in Pittsburgh and Tucson. She also did vocations work, helping young women discern their calling. In 1982 she withdrew from the community for personal reasons. In Tucson she connected with peace and justice activists, and soon accepted their offer to head the Presenté Center, working for immigrants in the 1980's Sanctuary Movement, for the poor, and against nuclear weapons. Returning to Pittsburgh in 1987, she served on staff at the Thomas Merton Center, focusing especially on justice issues for Central America. Gail returned to school to become certified as a teacher of English to speakers of other languages. She brought her creativity, welcoming spirit and passion for justice to her teaching of foreign students at Pitt, La Roche, Duquesne and Carnegie Mellon. After retiring, even as Alzheimer's disease eroded her capabilities, she was an active volunteer at Forbes Hospice, Jubilee Kitchen, the Allegheny County Jail, and in various activities of her beloved St. James Parish.

As the disease progressed, she had to withdraw from each of these commitments. But through it all, her deepest spirit remained. Even as the disease destroyed her mind and the ability to live independently, her smile remained. At the nursing home, nurses, aides and other staff continually tried to connect with her eyes to ignite her smile. When they were successful, everyone was gratified.

 

From her time as a Sister of Charity, Gail was known for her warm, welcoming and cooperative spirit, her passion for what she considered important, and especially her engaging smile. This person-centered spirit was her hallmark. Family and friends were of great value. Gail was ever a hostess, inviting them to her home regularly. When something needed to be done, she was there with a helping hand. She grew as a strong woman of great courage. When she sensed the need, she jumped right in without counting the cost beforehand. She has been a passionate woman of Faith, knowing God as friend and His mercy, and trusting that, with it, she could somehow succeed, even in dealing with Alzheimer's. This was evident in her rescue of immigrants at Tucson's bus station, in speaking and acting to challenge injustice, in welcoming Antonio into our home, in supporting her parents in their final years, in all her endeavors, including accepting Alzheimer's but not letting it destroy her spirit.

 

Friends received 2-4 & 6-8 p.m. Tuesday at the Thomas L. Nied Funeral Home, Inc. 7441 Washington Street Swissvale, PA. Mass of Christian Burial, in the St. James Roman Catholic Church, St Mary Magdalene Parish on Wednesday 10 a.m.  Memorial contributions may be made in Gail's name to Elizabeth Seton Center 1900 Pioneer Avenue Pittsburgh, PA 15226. www.niedfuneralhome.com

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Tuesday
19
July

Visitation at Funeral Home

2:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Tuesday, July 19, 2022
Thomas L. Nied Funeral Home, Inc.
7441 Washington St.
Swissvale, Pennsylvania, United States
Tuesday
19
July

Visitation

6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Tuesday, July 19, 2022
Thomas L. Nied Funeral Home, Inc.
7441 Washington St.
Swissvale, Pennsylvania, United States
Wednesday
20
July

Mass

10:00 am
Wednesday, July 20, 2022
St. James Church
718 Franklin Avenue
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States
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