Joann Bernabei, Mom, Grandmother, Sister and friend, of Derry passed away on Tuesday, April 4, 2023, surrounded by her family and in the arms of our dear Lord.
Joann is survived by her daughter Nicole Doherty, son-in-law Nathan Doherty, granddaughter Sophia, grandson Maximilian, son Nate Bernabei, and beloved Shiatzu Billie Jean; Sister Maryann Kelly (Andrew), and brother Harry Smith Jr. She is preceded by husband Mario Bernabei, brother Fr. Thomas J. Smith, Sister-in Law Patricia Smith and parents Harry and Sophie Smith.
Joann was born in Latrobe on December 3, 1954 to Harry Smith Sr. and Sophie (Derito) Smith. She was an incredible cook, as she catered at Blairsville Italian Club for many years but took most pride in being a stay-at-home mom to her two children. She had been a member of the St. Joseph's Roman Catholic Church, The Altar Rosary Society, and the Ladies Auxiliary. In addition to her exquisite cooking skills, she was accomplished in painting ceramics, crafts and graced her home in beautiful decorations. Visiting her home during the holidays, one could attest to leaving full of cheer. In later years, she became ever-so fulfilled when her grandchildren were born. Joann embraced her name "Gug" as the grandchildren called her. They quickly became the most important part of her life. She saw her grandchildren almost daily, attended baseball and softball games, school plays and she loved to host the yearly Easter Egg Hunt at her house known as "Gug's House."
She was a devoted spouse, mother and friend to all. Joann enjoyed Danielle Steele novels, Broadway shows, praying the rosary daily and singing along to Cher and Neil Diamond. Cookies were a favorite of Gug. Growing up she was called "Cookie Jar" by her family. She was quick to tell you a funny story just to make you laugh. One of her favorite past times was talking on the phone. Sometimes for hours! Joann fought the repercussions of Multiple Sclerosis for many years, and in the end, MS got the best of her body. Though there were many hard days, she never stopped fighting back and having trust in the Lord. She will be deeply missed by her family, friends, and all who knew her. We can say confidently she will be greeted in Heaven by Jesus, Mary, and many who have passed with very welcoming arms. That is where we place our comfort in knowing she is safe, and out of pain and distress with those who have prayed for her time here on earth. Gug was a blessing to all of us.
Friends will be received Wednesday from 4-8pm in the McCabe Funeral Home, 300 W. Third Avenue, Derry. A funeral liturgy will be Thursday at 10am in St. Joseph Roman Catholic Church.
Interment will follow in the St. Joseph Church Cemetery.
The St. Joseph altar rosary society will recite the rosary Wednesday at 3:30pm in the funeral home.
Online condolences may be made to www.mccabefuneralhomespa.com.