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Obituaries » Pearl G. Srebro

Pearl G. Srebro

February 9, 2021

Service Date:

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Friends and family may call on Friday, February 12, 2021, from 5 to 8 pm.m at the Frank T. Mazur Funeral Home, Inc., 601 Dundaff St., Dickson City.  A mass of Christian Burial will be offered on Saturday at 9:30 a.m. in St. Mary’s Visitation Church, Dickson City.  All are welcome.  A slideshow summarizing her life is available at the funeral home website.  A celebration of her life will be held in Dickson City in the future when conditions permit.  Please register with the funeral home or website below if you would like to be included on the notification list.

In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to your favorite charity, church, or the Wounded Warriors Foundation in her memory.  Better yet, find someone in need and do something kind for them.  It’s what she would do, and would be a fitting tribute to her life.  Condolences may be left at the Frank T. Mazur Funeral Home website or at pearl.srebro.family@gmail.com.

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If there are angels that walk the earth, Pearl G. Srebro, born Apolonia Kobierecki, was one of them.

Pearl was born on October 22, 1929, in Dickson City, Pennsylvania, and died on February 9, 2021, in Oak Ridge, North Carolina.  She was the only daughter and youngest child of the late John P. and Margaret Kunikowski Kobierecki who were Polish immigrants.  Her parents and five beloved brothers, Stanley, Felix, Chester, Joseph, and John predeceased her.  She graduated from Dickson City High School in 1947 and Saint Mary’s Hospital College of Nursing in Brooklyn, New York, in 1951.  She was married to Peter E. Srebro, also of Dickson City, in 1952.  Pete served in the U.S. Army during WWII and the Korean War.  He retired from military service as a master sergeant in 1960 and was a real estate developer in Spring Lake and Fayetteville, North Carolina.  He died on March 23, 2000.  The couple made their home in Spring Lake and later in Fayetteville, and raised their three children there.

She is survived by her sons James (Linda Erwin) of Napa, California, and Ronald (Sharon Handy) of Oak Ridge, North Carolina, and daughter Barbara McIntosh of Greensboro, North Carolina, as well as her five grandchildren:  Steven McIntosh, Michael (Carrie Ridgley), Laura (Michael Knapp), Andrew, and Christopher McIntosh, a great-granddaughter, Clara, as well as multiple nieces and nephews.  Nothing meant more to her than her family.

Pearl worked for more than 30 years as a nurse at Womack Army Hospital.  When intensive care units were being developed in the early 1960s, she was recruited to be one of the first intensive care unit nurses and ultimately became a head nurse.  She was frequently selected for special duty and counted among her patients 5-star General George C. Marshall, who also served as Secretary of Defense and Secretary of State.  She always had a special love and devotion for military servicemen and women, especially for those wounded in battle.  She was the recipient of many awards and citations, and when she retired in 1985, the commanding officer of the nursing corps said she was “an angel of the 82nd,” referring to the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg.  Former patients and their families easily recognized her.  For decades after her retirement, they would stop to thank her – in the grocery store, at the mall, or in a restaurant – it didn’t matter; they remembered that she made a difference in their lives, or the life of a loved one, and wanted to say so.

Pearl was an understated, private, and kind person who tried to see the best in everyone.  When she could do something to help, she did so instinctively, usually behind the scenes or anonymously.  She was the consummate support person for her family, patients, friends, and the causes she loved.  Long before there was hospice care, she felt that no one should die alone, and no one did on her watch even if it meant that she had to stay late or come in early.

Pearl was devoted to her Catholic Faith and was an active member and benefactor of Saint Ann’s Parish in Fayetteville, and was a member of the Pennybyrn Retirement Community in High Point, North Carolina, where she lived for five years prior to her death.  She remained a life-long member and benefactor of Saint Mary’s Visitation Church in Dickson City, Pennsylvania, where she was baptized, received first Holy Communion, was confirmed in the Catholic Faith, married, and will receive a mass of Christian burial.

As she got older and more limited in her ability to live independently, she would repeat stories in the course of conversation.  And what did she recount most frequently?  Those times that were formative in her life – the simple way of life in Dickson City, growing up with her loving and hard-working parents and her five brothers who were all very special to her, and her sister-in-law, Sophie (Srebro) Begey who was as close to her in temperament and spirit as a sister.  She would speak of her devotion to her faith that centered around Saint Mary’s Church and School.  She had a special place in her heart for the Bernardine Franciscan nuns who taught in Dickson City and also in Saint Mary’s Hospital in Brooklyn where she attended nursing school.

Although she frequently said how much she loved being a nurse, the nursing profession, and her patients, she was above all devoted to her family.  She liked to recount the adventures and challenges of a young bride and mother who left all that she knew and relocated to a small town in the rural south.  She told the best stories about her beloved husband, Pete, who was very different than her in many ways. She always found a way to keep him centered, and lovingly cared for him as his health declined.  But what she talked about most were the times that she spent with her children and grandchildren – the trips to Pennsylvania, Nay Aug Park and Rocky Glen picking them up from school and going for a snack and an hour at the park or playground, and the summertime trips to Waldo’s beach or White Lake.   She loved those times the most.  She would say, “it was a lot of fun,” but we all knew it was the fun we had, and that she made possible, that mattered most to her.

She could appear to be naive because she was by nature non-judgmental and non-confrontational.  However, she had a keen intellect and could easily stand her ground when she had to.  She appreciated the complexity of life and the tradeoffs we all make, but always chose to see the good in people – to put their strengths above their weakness, and to support them the best way she could.   She did not try to change people by telling them what to do, but showing them by her example what to do.  Her approach to life was one we could all learn from.  It was a life well-lived in the service of others.

She walked the many steps of her life believing in the plan that God had for her and those she loved.  She knew that life’s challenges could be difficult, but she always remained confident in faith that “things would work out.”  She truly made the best of what she was given – she was a good steward of the talents that were given to her by her creator, and they were multiplied many-fold in her acts of kindness and generosity.  Her earthly journey is now complete, but her spirit lives on in us – all of us who knew her and loved her, until we meet again.  The meaning of her life can be summarized in the words of Maya Angelou: “A great soul serves everyone all the time.  A great soul never dies.  It brings us together again and again.”

Pearl’s family would like to recognize and thank her caregivers who lovingly cared for her as her ability to care for herself declined.  Words cannot express our appreciation to Andrea Messina, Ana Lorente, and Nela Dominguez for their kindness and professionalism.  They truly became part of our family during one of the most difficult times of our lives and made mom’s last days comfortable, secure, and dignified.  In much the same way that a younger Pearl Srebro treated her patients and their families, their dedication sets the standard for compassion and respect.  We will always be grateful to them.

Her funeral, memorial service, and entombment will be limited due to the Covid-19 pandemic.  Those interested in attending can check with the funeral home for details and social distancing requirements.  All are welcome.  A slideshow summarizing her life is available at the funeral home website.  A celebration of her life will be held in Dickson City in the future when conditions permit.  Please register with the funeral home or website below if you would like to be included on the notification list.

In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to your favorite charity, church, or the Wounded Warriors Foundation in her memory.  Better yet, find someone in need and do something kind for them.  It’s what she would do, and would be a fitting tribute to her life.  Condolences may be left at the Frank T. Mazur Funeral Home website or at pearl.srebro.family@gmail.com.