Susan Pinal, a librarian at Oblock Junior High School in Plum, was scheduled to return to work today from maternity leave following the birth of her 4-month-old son, Michael. But instead, her family will be gathering at 10 a.m. at Our Lady of Joy Church for her funeral.
Mrs. Pinal, 36, who family members described as a devoted mother and teacher, died unexpectedly Thursday from a blood clot.
A native and resident of Plum, Mrs. Pinal earned a bachelor's degree in education from Westminster College in 1999, the same year she started her job as an English teacher at Plum Senior High School.
Family members said Mrs. Pinal was goal-oriented and constantly multitasking.
While working full time as a teacher, she earned two master's degrees -- one in English education from Duquesne University, the other in library science from the University of Pittsburgh.
While earning the library science degree, Mrs. Pinal was also planning her wedding to Rodolfo Pinal. The wedding took place just one month after she graduated.
Her love of books prompted her to pursue the library science degree, said her mother, Mary Clancy. It was that degree that led to her dream job of school librarian at Oblock Junior High.
"She was always interested in books and learning and the library, and she thought it was a great career path," Mrs. Clancy said, adding that as a student at Westminster her daughter worked in the campus library.
Mrs. Pinal was instilling that love of books in her children as well. Mrs. Clancy said her daughter often sat and read numerous books to her son, Daniel, 3.
"If Daniel wanted six or seven books, she read six or seven books," Mrs. Clancy said.
Mrs. Pinal's mother and husband said in addition to her work ethic, she was known for her positive attitude and effervescent smile.
Numerous students, both current and past, attended the Saturday and Sunday visitations for Mrs. Pinal, with many commenting on her positive outlook and concern for the students.
"They were just saying that she was fantastic, that she was happy, that she always had time for them if they needed extra help," Mrs. Clancy said.
In addition to her sons, husband and mother, Mrs. Pinal is survived by her father, Martin, of Plum.
Memorial contributions may be made for the children's education to the Susan A. Pinal Memorial Fund, c/o S&T Bank, 4385 Old William Penn Highway, Monroeville, PA 15146.
Mary Niederberger: firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-1590.