- On April 9, 2021
- 3 Comments
Mern Guest, born Mary Martha Klein, of McMurray, PA, and Stone Harbor, New Jersey, was welcomed into heaven on a purple cloud on Tuesday, April 6, 2021 at the age of 93. Mern, the eldest of four daughters, was born in Pittsburgh, PA to Elsie Bruene and Sylvester J. Klein. She attended St. George’s Elementary and High Schools and the Art Institute of Pittsburgh. A talented artist, Mern worked as a fashion illustrator and secretary before her marriage. In 1951 she married Charles E. Guest and they had six children together. Mern’s unwavering focus in life was her family. Through her children’s elementary school, St. Bernard’s in Mt. Lebanon, she first became involved in charitable work. She subsequently spent many years contributing her time, energy and enthusiasm to St. Lucy’s Auxiliary and its annual gala fundraising event, The Medallion Ball, The Pittsburgh Guild for the Blind, The Ladies of Charity, and others.
Mern was a Pittsburgher through and through and was the epitome of a gregarious people person. She was the link in her family that maintained connections with her cousins, aunts and uncles, and she carried the sense of kinship to the next generations with her interest in and thoughtful generosity to her children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, and their children. Into her last decade she was still lunching with friends from elementary school. Mern also had an uncanny propensity for running into people she knew from other times in her life wherever she went, and she loved to share the stories of people she met with her family. She delighted in the holidays and made sure to turn them into lasting memories for her children.
There is no doubt that Mern left an impression. At one point, in a moment of midlife liberation, she decided she would only ever wear her favorite color, purple, and she subsequently became known to all as ‘the purple lady’ or ‘Aunt Purple.’ For over forty years, she hosted family and friends at her beach home in Stone Harbor and was never happier than when she was looking at the water from her deck with a book in hand and a glass of wine nearby. Mern also had an adventurous streak and a love of travel. She loved exploring new countries and took many trips on her own where she would then meet a new best friend. She thoroughly enjoyed such daredevil activities as hot air ballooning, parasailing, and ziplining (at 83!).
Mern supported the arts, attending plays and musical performances, and was a longtime Jeopardy fan, a voracious reader and a fun-loving player of games and puzzles (jigsaw and crossword) until the last weeks of her life.
Mern is predeceased by her son, Gregory, her sister Elsie (Sis) Clayton, and is survived by her children, Amy Malone (Joe), Maryellen Stanko (Greg), Lara (Joe Milne), Stephen (Amy), and David (Lisa), and her grandchildren Peter, Kathryn, Meagan, Jennifer, Jacob, Sophie, Andrew, Brenden, Dylan and Joelle. She is also survived by her sisters Joyce Bell and Joan Swick, and many nieces, nephews, great nieces and great nephews. She leaves behind countless friends far and wide, who will look to heaven when they see the color purple and say ‘Hi, Mern!’
Due to Covid-19, a Catholic Mass and memorial service will take place for Mern at a later date. Donations may be sent to St. Lucy’s Auxiliary or the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of Western PA.