We are deeply sorry for your loss - the staff at Wolfe Memorial
Kate McClure Spencer Straccia, of Greensburg, passed away on Saturday, May 14th, 2022, shortly after her 45th birthday. It is impossible to articulate all of the many accomplishments that she achieved, or the lives of those she touched. This is an irony that Kate--a lover of literary prose, a voracious reader and a career Librarian at the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh--would have appreciated. Kate was a private person and a self-described introvert, with a keen intellect and a quick wit. Regardless of the situation, Kate could always see the humor, and loved to make people laugh. She was an exemplary daughter and sister, and a best friend to all that knew her. Innately generous, she never hesitated to give of herself to family and friends whenever and wherever it was needed. Always kind hearted, one of Kate’s great passions was animal rescue and welfare. She was heavily focused on finding homes for abandoned animals, and caring for special needs pets--even adopting several herself to ensure they received the best care possible. Those who were lucky enough to know her can attest to these simple truths of her life--one that was all too brief. For those that wish they knew Kate better, we can offer a few glimpses into her well-lived life. Kate was born in Pittsburgh on April 27th, 1977. She attended Valley School of Ligonier through 9th grade, and then graduated from The Ellis School in Shadyside, where she made lifelong and cherished friendships. In 1996, Kate was invited to be part of the Cinderella Ball, a longstanding Pittsburgh tradition, the oldest charity event in the city, and one of the longest-running debutante balls in America. It was during this event that Kate--who never sought to be the center of attention--was honored to be selected as Cinderella for that year. Upon graduation from Ellis, Kate attended Sweet Briar College in Virginia. Her interest in literature, and her love of travel, afforded her a scholarship to study at Oxford University in England--an opportunity that she viewed as the happiest time of her life. During her time at Oxford, Kate and a group of her friends, who jokingly called themselves the SAT Club, travelled extensively throughout England and Scotland. After graduation, Kate returned home to Pittsburgh and started her nearly 20-year career with the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, beginning with a role cataloging microfiche, followed by a reference desk position. She gained her Masters in Library Science from University of Pittsburgh, and was promoted to a Senior Librarian--her dream job--where she was able to manage her own book collection, as well as help procure and care for literary works. Along the way she developed meaningful friendships, and made a difference in countless lives. In 2014, Kate was initially diagnosed with Brain Cancer. Although it was a terrifying prospect, Kate faced the challenge head-on, and under the expert care of her team of medical professionals and surgeons at the Hillman Cancer Center, she achieved 7 years of remission. When the Cancer unexpectedly returned in 2021, Kate proved herself to be a true warrior once more as she re-learned how to walk, while continuing her Cancer fight. If sheer force of will had been enough, she would have won that fight. While these are brief moments of an all-too-brief life, we hope that they can convey what a special person Kate was, and how much she will be missed. For those of us that loved Kate--and continue to love her--we can say we have not lost Kate but gained a lifetime of cherished memories. The only thing taken from us was more time. While we will carry these memories, and many others, in our hearts we can’t help but feel that the world is a little less bright without her in it.
Kate was preceded in death by grandparents, William and Kathleen McClure, Peter and Betty Straccia, and her father, Gerald Alan Straccia. She is survived by her mother, Kathy McClure Straccia, her sister Molly McClure Straccia, brother-in-law Christian Wuerth, her cousins Dennis Lauria, Sandy Lauria and their children, Lucia Lauria-Gabbard, James Lauria, and Salvatore Lauria, Dean Lauria and his daughter Julia Lauria, Ryan Gabbard, and other members of the Lauria and Condeluci families, Barbara and John Young and their children Nathan Young, William Young, Kathryn Young, as well as Kristin Young and Kaitlyn Johnson, Lynn Schleihauf and her children Jason Schleihauf and Stephanie Schleihauf, Nancy and Bill Ferguson, Becky Barry-Eisen and Alison Eisen-Mastopietro, Dr. Kathleen Barry, and other members of the Barry Family. Close friends Amy Kozusko, Genny Kozusko, Mike Marcus, John Dallas, Dwain Irvin, Tara Walsh, Jen Walsh, Richard Kaplan, and other members of her Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh family, Dr. Jan Drappatz, and Ashley Pritchard also mourn her passing, along with countless others.
While we will mourn the time that we did not get to spend with Kate, we invite you to celebrate her life and her memory. A viewing will be held Monday, May 23rd from 2-4PM and 6-8PM at Wolfe Memorial, LLC, 3604 Greensburg Pike, Pittsburgh, PA 15221. A memorial service is scheduled for Wednesday, May 25th at 1PM at Eastminster Presbyterian Church, 250 N. Highland Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15206.