Retired Lt. Col. Sharlene (VanDyke) Loennig, 61, of Punxsutawney, formerly of Aliquippa, passed away after brave, courageous battle with cancer on Thursday, Feb. 27, 2014, at home surrounded by her family and friends.
She was born Nov. 17, 1952, in Rochester, Pa., a daughter of Lena (Ceccarelli) VanDyke and the late James Merritt VanDyke.
In addition to her father, she was preceded in death by her maternal grandparents, Lucia and Nazzareno Ceccarelli, and her paternal grandparents, Josephine and Merritt Howard Van Dyke.
She was a member of Ss. Cosmas and Damian Roman Catholic Church of Punxsutawney.
Sharlene graduated from Indiana Hospital School of Nursing in 1972 and enlisted in the United States Army.
She was stationed at Fitzsimons Army Medical Center in Colorado and Bassett Army Medical Center in Fairbanks, Alaska.
After leaving the Bassett Army Medical Center, she became a Certified School Nurse at Ryan Junior High (1977-1985), followed by Hutchison Career Center (1985-1991), Howard Luke Alternative School (1989-1991) and then Tanana Middle School (1991-1993).
In 1990, she was awarded School Nurse of the Year in the state of Alaska.
She was an adjunct faculty at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, where she taught Early Childhood Development.
Upon moving to Punxsutawney, she became the School Nurse at the Punxsutawney Area High School from 1993-2010. She was also a Registered Nurse at the Punxsutawney Area Hospital (1993-1997).
Upon leaving PAHS, she accepted the position of Occupational Health Nurse for the Federal Bureau of Investigation Seattle Division from 2010-2012, and later transferred to the Cleveland Division from 2012-2014.
In addition to her mother, Lena, Sharlene is survived by her loving husband, Mark Loennig; her cherished son, Tyler James Loennig, who she was extremely proud of; two sisters and a brother-in-law, Kate Rossi, Joan E. VanDyke and Joe Ferrara; a niece, Courtney (Rossi) Martin; her long-time treasured friend, who was also a fellow Army nurse, Shannon Downing; and many loving aunts, uncles, cousins and friends who Sharlene meant so much to.
Friends will be received from 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday, March 2, 2014, at Deeley Funeral Home, Punxsutawney.
A Mass of Christian burial will be held at 11 a.m. Monday, March 3, 2014, at Ss. Cosmas & Damian Church, with Msgr. Joseph J. Riccardo officiating.
Sharlene will be laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to U.P.M.C. Family House, 5245 Centre Ave., Shadyside, PA 15232 in memory of Sharlene.
Online condolences may be made at www.deeleyfuneralhome.com.