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Kay Ann (Halbleib) Ropp Hamilton, 81, of Reedsville, passed away at 6:29 p.m., Tuesday, April 18, 2023, at her home.
Born Oct. 9, 1941, in Baltimore, Md., she was the daughter of the late Marie Emma (Beers) and Gilbert Richard Halbleib Sr.
In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her husband, J.C. Hamilton Jr., whom she married in 1977. J.C. devoted all that he had to Kay over almost 20 years of marriage before his passing in 1997. Also preceding her in death was a half-brother, David Halbleib.
Kay is survived by: greatly loved children, Susan Kay (Ropp) Button, of Reedsville, and Steven Walter Ropp, of Allen, Texas; grandchildren, Michelle Ann (Button) Volack (her soulmate) and Sean Patrick Ropp (her inspiration); and great-granddaughter, Rachel Kay Piazza (her future). Also surviving is half-brother, Gilbert Richard Halbleib Jr., of Reedsville, and a much-loved nephew, Rocky Agostino, of Erie.
At age 5, Kay and her parents moved to Erie. Kay graduated from Strong Vincent High School in 1960.
She served in the U.S. Air Force from 1960-1961 and was stationed at a Strategic Air Command (SAC) base during the Cuban missile crisis.
After military service, Kay married her first husband and moved to Oklahoma in 1961, where her children were born, and where she resided until 2001. She began her nursing career as a nurse’s aide at a hospital in Enid, Okla. Kay graduated from St. Mary’s Hospital School of Nursing in 1969 and worked as a registered nurse for many years. She received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English/Education from Phillips University in 1980 and taught English at Chisholm High School for a few years. In 1999, Kay earned Master of Science Degrees in Nursing at Northwestern University School of Nursing in Alva, Okla. and University of Oklahoma’s College of Nursing in Oklahoma City. She was a member of the Sigma Theta Tau sorority, the American Nurses Association (ANA), and was active in the Oklahoma Red Cross and Oklahoma Heart Association.
Kay returned to Pa. in 2001 upon accepting a position as Clinical Educator at Lewistown Hospital. She was promoted to Vice President of Nursing Services in 2003; to Senior Vice President of Patient Care Services in 2005; and lastly, to President/CEO in 2007. She retired in 2016 at age 75. Her singular most cherished achievement was her role as Founding Director of the Lewistown Hospital School of Nursing. She served on many local committees, remaining a community advocate all her life, and was a member of the American College of Healthcare Executives. Kay described her cherished nursing profession as “a sacred trust” and the “American Dream”.
She was a member of Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Lewistown.
Kay was the author of “Hamilton’s Pond”, a children’s story written to keep a promise to her late husband, J.C., who created the real Hamilton’s Pond in Enid, Okla. She also authored a fictional autobiography, “From Bedpans to Boardrooms”, which is about inspiring others to do the best they can and to never give up, which was her motto throughout her life.
A viewing will be held from 6 to 8 p.m., Monday, April 24, 2023, at Heller-Hoenstine Funeral Homes, Woodlawn, 200 North Main Street, Lewistown.
A Mass of Christian Burial will begin at 11 a.m., Tuesday, April 25, at Sacred Heart of Jesus Catholic Church, 106 North Dorcas Street, Lewistown, with Father William Weary officiating.
Interment will take place at Mountain Cemetery, Spring Mills, Pa.
Memorial contributions in Kay’s memory may be made to Geisinger-Lewistown Hospital School of Nursing, 400 Highland Ave., Extd, Lewistown, PA 17044.
Geisinger-Lewistown Hospital School of Nursing
400 Highland Ave., Extd, Lewistown PA 17044