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1931 Joan 2010

Joan A Dutka

August 3, 1931 — June 25, 2010

Joan A. (Murphy) Dutka, Olyphant, died June 25 at Allied Services Skilled Nursing Center after a brief illness.  She was the widow of the late Atty. Joseph F. Dutka who passed away in 1988 after practicing law in Olyphant for 36 years. Born in Scranton, she was the daughter of the late Michael Murphy, a Scranton police officer, and wife Anne Gaughan. Joan, a Registered Nurse, was a proud graduate of Holy Rosary High School and St. Mary School of Nursing, Scranton. She also had a career as a real estate agent.  She was a member of St. Michael the Archangel Church, Olyphant, and founded its first Junior Catholic Daughters chapter. Joan’s passion was public service.  She was elected to Olyphant Borough Council and served from 1980 to 1988.  With her late husband, she organized the Committee of Olyphant Residents and Taxpayers, a citizens’ advocacy group.  In the 1990’s, she organized the campaign to dredge Lackawanna River to ease seasonal flooding in the Mid-Valley.  When the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers started the project in 2002, she was awarded a “Golden Shovel” for her determined efforts. She served for 24 years as a founding member, trustee, and treasurer for the Valley Community Library, Peckville.  She was the driving force behind the 2003 construction of the new library and created several innovative fund-raisers, including “On the Wall, Off the Wall,” a literary contest. Joan also volunteered tirelessly for local and national charitable organizations, running successful fund campaigns for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Memphis, Lackawanna United Way, and the American Heart Association. She was co-leader of Girl Scouts of America Chapter 192, volunteer with the American Red Cross Blood Mobile, and founding member of the Lackawanna County Lawyer’s Wives Association. For her volunteer work, Joan was commissioned in the Honorable Order of Kentucky Colonels in 2009.  She had a legendary reputation as a gracious hostess with a warm, open manner and a sharp intellect. Her legacy lives on in her family: Eileen Demko and husband Nicholas, Webster, NY; Joseph, Olyphant, with whom Joan lived; Matthew and wife Linda Kleha, Edinboro; Maria Mansell and husband Patrick, State College; and ten grandchildren who will miss her story-telling and the chocolates always available in her kitchen’s “goodie drawer.” Joan will be greatly missed by her siblings:  Jerome Murphy and wife Sabina, Jermyn; Marie Brennan, Flourtown;  Ellen Preiss, Arvada, CO; Therese Kueny and husband Jacques, Plymouth Meeting; Frances Carlson and  husband G. William, Ocean City, MD; sister-in-law Barbara Murphy, Wilmington, DE; and her nieces and nephews and their families.  She is preceded in death by her brother Joseph Murphy, and her brothers-in-law John Brennan and Richard Preiss. Funeral Services will be held at 9AM on Tuesday at Hudak-O’Shea Funeral Home, 115 Garfield Avenue, Olyphant.  Mass of Christian burial will follow at 9:30AM at Holy Cross Parish at St. Patrick’s Church, 200 Delaware Avenue, Olyphant.  Rev. Richard J. Cirba, pastor of SS. Cyril & Methodius & St. Stanislaus Parishes, Hazleton, will officiate. Interment will follow at St. Michael the Archangel Cemetery, Blakely. Friends may call on Monday from 2 to 4 & 6 to8PM at the funeral home.  Memorial contributions may be made to Valley Community Library, 739 River St., Peckville, PA. For directions or on-line condolences, please visit www.hudak-osheafuneralhome.com.
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