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Psychologist’s compassion buoyed students, friends

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Frances L. Bucciarelli, 65, of Greensburg, died Wednesday, Nov. 19, 2014.

Fran Bucciarelli was an “instrument of peace,” helping everyone she could in her personal life and professional capacity as a school psychologist.

Ms. Frances L. Bucciarelli, 65, of Greensburg, died Wednesday, Nov. 19, 2014, of pancreatic cancer.

Ms. Bucciarelli, a graduate of Greensburg Central Catholic High School in 1966 and Seton Hill College in 1970, spent much of her career as a psychologist with Norwin School District, helping students with special needs. “She never belittled anybody. She never made anyone feel they were not important. From the first person she saw in the day, to the last person she saw at night,” said Lucy Nye, Ms. Bucciarelli’s friend and former co-worker.

Diane Wiley, another close friend and co-worker, described Ms. Bucciarelli as a passionate, creative problem-solver with “a great sense of justice,” who always took a child’s problems seriously.

“She would speak to their needs, and then also speak to what could be done on behalf of the child,” and help the child reach his or her full potential, Wiley said.

“She was an only child, who became a parent to every child she met, even if they were a grown-up,” Wiley said.

Ms. Bucciarelli kept up a wide range of hobbies and interests. She loved technology, and if a friend’s computer broke down, Ms. Bucciarelli would always know what parts to buy and how to fix it.

She enjoyed studying medicine, nature and architecture, and loved caring for her dog, Teddy.

Her skills as a counselor extended beyond the school, Nye remembered.

“She would never say, ‘You don’t look so good, is something wrong?’ She would never say that,” Nye said. “But she would sit down and talk with you, and all of a sudden you would feel much better.”

Even while struggling with cancer in the hospital, Nye said, Ms. Bucciarelli would always ask her friends and family about their lives, instead of focusing on her own problems.

Her life was best described by the Prayer of St. Francis, Nye said, which she embodied her whole life.

“Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace,” the prayer begins. “Where there is hatred, let me sow love.”

“She really was an instrument of peace,” Nye said.

Ms. Bucciarelli is survived by her aunt, Theresa Ereditario, uncles Clo Angelicchio and Charles Bucciarelli, and numerous cousins.

Prayers will be held at 9:30 a.m. Saturday in Leo M. Bacha Funeral Home, Southwest Greensburg, followed by a funeral Mass at 10 a.m. in St. Paul Parish, 820 Carbon Road in Carbon.

Jacob Tierney is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-836-6646 or [email protected].

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