Maria Elizabeth (Bajus) Heddleston, 42, is now with the Lord, after her 7-year battle of stage four breast cancer, on January 22, 2018 in Pittsburgh, PA.
Maria was born August 28, 1975 in Pittsburgh, PA to Donald and Mary Louise Bajus. She was a 1993 graduate of Steel Valley High School and received her Bachelor’s Degree from Edinboro University in 1997. She also earned a Master’s of Education from Slippery Rock in 2003. In 2008, she became a National Board Certified Teacher and recently became recertified in December of 2017. She was very active in St. John’s Byzantine Catholic Church in Munhall. Maria married Brian Heddleston in November of 2001.
Mrs. (Bajus) Heddleston began teaching for Steel Valley, Park Elementary in 1998. She started her career as a 2nd grade teacher and turned her passion for reading into a Reading Specialist for grades K-3. She was also involved in school musicals, PTO, and volunteered her time a program called, “Big Box of Books”. This program put books in the hands of 100’s children in the community. In 2012, Maria was selected as a Pink Power Mom. This national award, through Kids II, was given to 8 women for their service to their community and bringing awareness to breast cancer. She was always there to help a child learn or provide comfort to a mother diagnosed with cancer.
Maria’s biggest accomplishment and duty she cherished the most, was being a mom. She loved her two sons, John (12) and Nathan (8) more than anything. Through all her treatments, she attended as many soccer, baseball, golf, and basketball games as possible. She was always there cheering them on and encouraging her boys to “get up”, if they were knocked down. Something she lived by daily.
Maria is preceded in death by her grandparents John “Brown” and Louise Bajus, and Stephen “Pete” and Mary Barczy. Maria is survived by her husband, Brian; sons John and Nathan; Parents Donald and Mary Louise Bajus; brother John; and several nieces and nephews. Maria had very special relationships with her Aunts, Uncles and Cousins; Barbara Longstreth, Catherine McGee, George Fatula, Donald Fetzko and their families respectably. She will also be missed by many other friends, family, in-laws, colleagues and students.
Friends and family will be received on Wednesday January 24, 2018, from 4-8 P.M. and Thursday from 2-8 P.M. in the William S. Skovranko Memorial Home Inc., Richford and Commonwealth Ave., Duquesne. A Blessing in the Memorial Home on Friday at 9:30 A.M. followed by Liturgy of Christian Burial at 10 A.M. in St John Byzantine Cathedral, Munhall. urial will follow in SS. Peter and Paul Byzantine Catholic Cemetery, West Mifflin.
In lieu of flowers, please send donations to John and Nathan Heddleston, PO Box 3094, Munhall, PA 15120, so a 529 College Fund can be started for her sons.
Panachida services will be held on Thursday at 7 P.M. in the Memorial Home.
Originally published January 23, 2018.