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Sigrid K. Piroch

Updated: May 25

Sigrid K. Piroch, née Sample, aged 84, died peacefully Tuesday, May 21st after an illness. Born April 4, 1940, in West Hollywood, California, she was the daughter of orchestra conductor James W. Sample and Ernestine Sample, an artist.  In the days before the ultrasound, thinking she would be a boy, her parents had picked out the name Igor - composer Igor Stravinsky was a family friend. Thankfully she was a girl. She was named instead for the Swedish writer and Catholic convert, Sigrid Undset. Her maternal grandparents were Swedish immigrants and Sigrid converted to the Catholic faith at age 9, along with her parents. In the 1990s she became a Foxburg resident, and subsequently, 33 months ago, at The Caring Place.

Hailing from an artistic family, they moved often. Her Father conducted for many symphonies and orchestras here and abroad. He was resident conductor for the Erie Philharmonic for 14 years (1953-1967). She liked to travel, perhaps because she started young, attending eight different grade schools.              

A Social Work graduate of Marquette College in Milwaukee, she went on to earn her Master’s degree at Western University, now called Case Western Reserve. During her training, she spent a summer at Hamot Hospital in Erie where she met her future husband, also in training, Joseph G. Piroch, MD.  (Emlenton druggist Joseph A. Piroch was her future father-in-law.) The couple is pictured in the painted mural her mother, Ernestine, did for Hamot, last seen hanging in the hospital auditorium. She would go on to work for Catholic Charities in five cities and three states, placing children in adoption and doing other family counseling. Married in 1965 at St. Peter’s Cathedral in Erie, her husband enlisted for the Navy and they soon moved to the naval base in Pensacola, during the Vietnam War. It was here that her first child, a daughter Deborah, was born. Relocating to Meadville, Pennsylvania in 1969, they became parents to sons Joseph Braden and Gregory Lawrence.

As her children grew, she discovered the joy of working in the arts and became an internationally known weaver. She liked what she was called in Australia, “a weaver’s weaver.” Sigrid desktop published her first book in 1991, “Design Challenges-Works of Elmer Wallace Hickman.” Her best-known book is “The Magic of Handweaving-The Basics and Beyond,” which can be found online. Her work has been featured in over 70 publications, and she has taught in the U.S.A., Canada, Slovakia, Germany, Sweden, Australia, Tasmania, and New Zealand. As a guest of the Ambassador and his wife to Thailand and Laos, she lectured and taught for organizations there on a State Department tour. She founded the NW Pennsylvania Spinners and Weavers Guild and served many other organizations, including the Complex Weavers Guild, running many study groups, and Convergence. For some years she had a working studio where she wove and taught her apprentices in Emlenton, Pennsylvania.

She will mostly be remembered by her family as a loving wife, mother, and grandmother. Her greatest pride was being wife of 47 years, parent to three, grandparent to nine, and great-grandmother to three (one in utero). These are grandchildren Theresa, Joseph, Maura, Anastasia, Lauren, Andrew, Alana, Xavier, and Olivia and great-grandchildren Gregory Joseph and Anthony. She also leaves behind daughters-in-law Jessica and Christen and grandson-in-law Peter Cermak. We are especially grateful to her caregivers Margaret and Rachel Jurysta.

  Preceded in death by her brother James William Anderson Sample (1972), and her husband, Joseph Gregory Piroch, MD (2012), as well as her parents, she will be laid to rest in Emlenton at St. Michael’s Cemetery.

The funeral Mass will be Saturday, May 25, 2024 at Queen of the Holy Rosary Church (FSSP) in Vienna, Ohio, 291 Scoville Drive, at 2 PM. An interment will follow afterward. All are welcome to attend.

Her great longing was for prayers after her passing, so please continue to offer your own for her soul and her family’s consolation. Cards to: The Pirochs, PO Box 308, Foxburg, PA 16036.

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