"If anyone knows me they know I am a strong woman, but here is a little history.
"I graduated from high school in 1967, that same week I started in the mill in the business planning department, I started running a multilith machine. In 1969 the consent decree was passed and women could apply for non traditional jobs in the plant. I was the first woman awarded the job as a laborer. To my chagrin, the men were not happy to have me. My first job....clean out the railroad cars. I had a ladder to climb in, once inside I had no way out. Oh, and by the way, no bathroom. I also held a job as the acid tester, still no bathroom and no other women.
"Then in my spare time I would go sit with the shearman, where I would train myself to be the first female shearman on the pickle line. When I got the chance I signed a bid for that job. Still no bathroom. I had a crew of rag tags, but we started to make great bonuses. All of a sudden men started to ask to be on my crew.
A few women got hired, I got an asbestos filled locker room, and the bathroom was a long walk from where my job was. I used to lecture everyday...do your job, do the best you can. I used to wait till the end of my shift, and I would pull myself up the steps to my car in tears, because I felt I had to do more, do it better, work harder to prove women could do this.
In 1977 I got my hand caught in the scrap choppers, took 3 fingers right off, got them put back on, never got full use of them.
In the 1980's I gave up the pickle line job and started to run overhead crane loading steel on the trucks and railroad cars. And if I say so myself, I was pretty good at that.
I had a long career with US STEEL. I retired in 2000 with 33 years and a great pension. Since this time I have been a bartender, a self-taught artist, which I used as therapy for my hand injury, owned an art studio, and taught classes for Paint, Laugh, Party (a business I started from scratch).
No one gave me anything, I never complained, I had to put up with nasty language, and horrible graffiti, all so I could make good money.
At the age of 60, got my motorcycle license and bought my first bike. Wrecked it and rebuilt it myself over the winter of 2010. Now I own two more bikes.
I am 68 years old and I am in the fight of my life, Ovarian Cancer, a rare form called MMMT. As I said I am a fighter. I will fight till I have nothing left.
I will always do it my way........ "
Sadly, she lost her battle early in the morning on June 13, 2017, surrounded by family, despite her amazing will to live and her determination to fight and beat this horrific disease. This is just a little history about Deb from Deb herself. She was the glue that binds us all together. She was loved far and wide. She will be greatly and sadly missed. She has become our Angel and will watch over her husband of 46 (nearing 47) years, Kenneth Hromanik and her 2 daughters and their families. Kristin Prezel with her husband Tim Prezel and children Taylor and Taron Prezel (2 of Deb's grandchildren.) Kerri Parrott with her husband Matt Parrott and their child Rhone Parrott (the third of Deb's grandchildren.) Debbie is also survived by her sister Claudia Pollick and husband Raymond of Elizabeth and brother Edward Zidek of Perryopolis. She will be welcomed into heaven by her Father, Edward T. Zidek and Mother, Isabel (Kaminski) Zidek
Respecting her wishes, no funeral or viewing are planned. She was a "no fuss" kind of girl. Arrangements are by the Gilbert Funeral Home and Crematory, Inc. 6028 Smithfield Street, Boston, Elizabeth, Township. (412) 751-5000 Drew J. Gilbert, Director. In lieu of flowers, donations can be sent to the GoFundMe account that we set up for her to help with the ongoing medical bills and other needs that our father is left with. https://www.gofundme.com/MMMTSucks Condolences may be made at Gilbertfuneralhomeandcrematory.com
Originally published June 17, 2017.