Helen Wayda McAndrew, 86, of Laflin, passed away unexpectedly on Tuesday, November 23, 2021. She and her husband, Joseph McAndrew, celebrated their 63rd wedding anniversary on July 26, 2021.
Helen was a daughter of the late Paul and Anna Poplawski Wayda. She was born in Scranton. At the beginning of World War II the family moved to Brooklyn, NY where her father began working as a supervisor at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. The family returned to West Scranton after the war to take care of her father's elderly mother.
She attended grade 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 the Lackawanna Business College.
She then worked as a type setter and typist for the Partridge Wirth Company in Scranton until 1967. She expressed a long time dream of becoming a teacher. And so at the tender age of 32 she enrolled at Marywood College where she earned a BS degree in early childhood education. She went on to earn 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 which was opening for someone to establish an integrated preschool program for the Scranton State School for the Deaf. She was chosen and went on to establish a popular and successful program which she conducted until her retirement 24 years later.
In 1951 she met her future husband while on a class trip to Harvey's Lake. Joe was not a classmate but attended with a friend who was in the class. They dated for a few years and 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 the borough events including serving as Treasurer of the Women's Club and originating their newsletter "LOLA". She was also very active in St. Maria Goretti Parish events including fund raising for their new church. Helen and Joe loved to travel, especially cruises. They sailed on approximately 43 cruises including trips to the Baltic, Mediterranean, Rome, Norway, Normandy and St. Petersburg Russia. Helen loved jigsaw puzzles, word search and was an avid reader.
In addition to her husband, she is survived by brother-in-law, Jack Albert; sisters-in-law, Susan Armbruster and husband, Thomas, Diane Wilhelm and husband, Donald and Mary McAndrew; many 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 preceded in death by her parents, sisters, Mary Ann Wayda, Dorothy Albert, infant sister, Anna Wayda, brother, Joseph Wayda, brothers-in-law, Fr. Roy McAndrew, C.P., Paul McAndrew and sister-in-law, Mary Neary.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 10:00 A.M. on Monday, November 29, 2021 in St. Maria Goretti Church, 42 Redwood Drive., Laflin, to be celebrated by Fr. Seth Wasnock, Pastor. Interment will be in SS. Peter and Paul Cemetery, Taylor.
The Parish Rosary Group will recite the rosary at 9:30 A.M. in the church.
Relatives and friends may pay their respects on Sunday afternoon from 1:00 to 4:00 PM at Baloga Funeral Home, Inc. 1201 Main Street, Pittston (Port Griffith) and Monday morning at the church from 9:00AM until the time of the mass.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to St. Maria Goretti Church, 42 Redwood Drive Laflin, PA 18702 or to St. Vincent DePaul Kitchen P.O. Box 1088 Wilkes-Barre, PA 18703.