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‘Pierogi Queen’ from Herminie loved to cook and cater

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Grace Sabljak

It’s hard to find a more appropriate title for Grace Sabljak than “Pierogi Queen.”

She loved to cook, worked for a catering business in Madison, grilled steaks at the Madison Golf Club and joined other parishioners making pierogies they sold for her St. Edward Church and its school in Herminie.

“She loved to cook. My mother, grandmothers and aunts and the women of the church made hundreds of dozens of pierogies for the church and the school,” said her daughter, Shelly Keith.

Grace G. “Boots” Sabljak, 80, of Herminie died Thursday, June 21, 2018, in Excela Health Westmoreland, Greensburg, of respiratory problems.

She was born Sept. 15, 1937, in Wendel, daughter of the late John and Margaret Bizich Gabonay.

After graduating from Sewickley High School in the mid-1950s, she worked the cash register at a coal mine company store in Herminie.

It was there she met a butcher, Joseph L. Sabljak, and the couple married in 1959 at St. Edward Church. Since this was the days before catered weddings, the couple’s mothers made all of the food for the reception.

Mrs. Sabljak was a secretary at the Municipal Authority of Westmoreland County and West Penn Power Co. in Greensburg until 1961, when her oldest child, Shelly, was born. Then, she focused on being a homemaker.

She was involved with the St. Edward School in Herimine, working as the school librarian. She was active as well with the PTA, Keith said.

Mrs. Sabljak later worked for about 25 years at the Madison Foodarama, helping to cook for the catering business. That meant making food for weddings, golf outings and special events for the S.N.P.J. in Herminie.

Joseph Sabljak, also a Herminie resident, said she was so well known for dancing to the song “Y.M.C.A.” that when the song was played at wedding receptions, she would be called onstage to lead the dance movements.

She also worked at the Kavel Pharmacy in Herminie as a sales clerk until it closed in 1980s.

At church, she sang in the funeral choir, was a member of the Sunshine Club and the Altar Rosary Society. She was also part of the Christmas Decorating Committee and had her own special tree in the vestibule for the past 20 years.

She loved bingo, her children said. Her son said she knew his mother was feeling well if she went to the bingos at Herminie and Turkeytown, then went to church on Sundays.

In addition to her husband and children, she is survived by five grandsons.

Friends will be received from 2 to 8 p.m. Sunday at the Joseph W. Nickels Funeral Home Inc., 404 Sewickley Ave, Herminie. A funeral Mass will be celebrated at 10 a.m. Monday in St. Edward Church in Herminie. Interment will follow in Westmoreland County Memorial Park, Hempfield.

Memorial contributions may be made to Sewickley Township Ambulance, 2 Medic St., Herminie, PA 15637 or Herminie Volunteer Fire Department Station 15, 101 Sewickley Ave., Herminie, PA 15637.

Joe Napsha is a Tribune-Review staff writer.

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