Helen Wayda McAndrew, 86, of Laflin, passed away suddenly on Tuesday, November 23, 2021. She and her husband, Joseph McAndrew, celebrated their 63rd wedding anniversary on July 26.
Helen was the daughter of the late Paul and Anna Poplawski Wayda. She was born in Scranton. At the start of World War II, the family moved to Brooklyn, NY, where his father began working as a supervisor at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. The family returned to West Scranton after the war to care for their father’s elderly mother.
She attended elementary school at Ss. Peter and Paul School in West Scranton and graduated from St. Ann’s Monastery High School in 1953. She continued her education at Lackawanna Business College.
She then worked as a composer and typist for the Partridge Wirth Company in Scranton until 1967. She expressed a long-held dream of becoming a teacher. And so, at the age of 32, she enrolled in Marywood College where she obtained a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education. She then obtained a master’s degree. Helen worked as a substitute teacher for the Wilkes-Barre area school district for a time and applied for a position open to someone to establish an integrated preschool program for the Scranton State School for the Deaf. She was chosen and put together a popular and successful program which she led until her retirement 24 years later.
In 1951, she met her future husband on a school trip to Harvey’s Lake. Joe was not a classmate but was with a friend who was in the class. They dated for a few years and got married in 1958 at Ss. Peter and Paul Church in West Scranton. They resided in Tripps Park, Scranton until 1971 when they bought a house in Laflin where Helen became active in Borough events including as Treasurer of the Women’s Club and the originator of their newsletter “LOLA”. She was also very active in the events of St. Maria Goretti Parish, including fundraising for their new church. Helen and Joe loved to travel, especially cruises. They have taken around 43 cruises, including trips to the Baltic, Mediterranean, Rome, Norway, Normandy and St. Petersburg, Russia. Helen enjoyed puzzles, word searches, and was an avid reader.
Besides her husband, she is survived by her brother-in-law, Jack Albert; sisters-in-law, Susan Armbruster and husband, Thomas; Diane Wilhelm and her husband, Donald; and Mary McAndrew; several nephews and nieces, grand-nephews and grand-nieces, whom she loved and who loved her.
Helen was the last member of the Wayda family. She was predeceased by her parents, her sisters, Mary Ann Wayda; Dorothée Albert; little sister, Anna Wayda; brother, Joseph Wayda; brothers-in-law, the Reverend Roy McAndrew, PC; Paul McAndrew; and her sister-in-law, Mary Neary.
A Christian funeral mass will be held at 10 am Monday at St. Maria Goretti Church, 42 Redwood Drive, Laflin, and will be celebrated by Rev. Seth Wasnock, Pastor. Interment will be in the Ss. Peter and Paul Cemetery, Taylor. The parish group of the rosary will recite the rosary at 9:30 am in the church. Parents and friends can pay their respects from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday afternoon at Baloga Funeral Home Inc. 1201 Main St., Pittston (Port Griffith) and from 9 a.m. until service time Monday at church .
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to St. Maria Goretti Church, 42 Redwood Drive Laflin, PA 18702 or St. Vincent DePaul Kitchen PO Box 1088 Wilkes-Barre, PA 18703.
For instructions or to send your condolences, please visit www.balogafuneralhome.com.
Posted by Citizens Voice on November 25, 2021.