Annette Laurie NITKO, 56, formerly of Harrison Valley, PA, died July 17, 2019.
Annette was born to Gerald and Donna (Miller) Kibbe in Wellsboro, PA on March 28, 1963. She grew up in a small town of Harrison Valley, PA in a loving family. At 3 1/2 years old, she started school at the Scranton State School for the Deaf. Even at a young age, other students looked up to her. After graduating from high school, she went to the National Technical Institute for the Deaf. She thrived there as a student, a dancer, a performer, and member of the Delta Alpha Sigma Sorority. It was there that she met Tony Nitko. That relationship blossomed into 30 beautiful years of happy marriage. They raised two handsome and wonderful sons, Chad and Blake, who are their pride and joy. Beside motherhood, Annette continued to make an impact in the community. Annette served many years at Western Pennsylvania School for the Deaf and Arizona Schools for the Deaf and Blind as a teacher’s assistant. She also taught Kindergarten for two years at Laurent Clerc Elementary School. She also taught sign language at Pima Community College in Tucson, Arizona. In South Dakota, she was the interpreting quality assurance officer at Communication Services for the Deaf. After being diagnosed with breast cancer the first time in 2005, she faced an uphill battle because of the lack of communication access to cancer support. She was determined to ensure other deaf and hard of hearing individuals had access, support and a sense of understanding of their diagnosis. Eventually, the family relocated to St. Louis and she began working at Deaf Empowerment Awareness Foundation, Inc. (DEAF, Inc.). Here is where she formed Pink Wings of Hope, a support group for deaf and hard of hearing individuals fighting cancer. Over the next 10 years, she gave personal support to hundreds of deaf and hard of hearing people all over United States . Although, she was facing another battle with cancer herself, she continued to actively support the healing of others. She impacted many lives that were previously unknown to us. Recently, she was awarded "2019 Lifetime Achievement Award" from the state of Missouri for her work within the deaf and hard of hearing community. On July 17, 2019, she was granted her wings, becoming a shining example among the angels.
Beside her husband Tony, she is survived by her two sons Chad and Blake and Blake’s wife, Sara (Blick); and her parents, Gerald & Donna (Miller) Kibbe. She also leaves behind four siblings Brad Kibbe & his wife Brenda, Cindy (Kibbe) North & her husband Scott, Doug Kibbe & his wife Tammie and Melanie (Kibbe) Norwood & her husband Bryan, countless nephews and nieces and extended family. In her departure, she is welcomed by her brothers David & Christopher Kibbe, niece Megan North, nephew Jesse Beyer, her grandparents Kenneth & Lois Miller, Eddie Kibbe, Christian & Ada Winter and great-grandmother Teanie Kibbe.
She was a pillar in our lives and in her community. At home, there was no better mother that her sons could have asked for, and outside of the home, she displayed the same qualities to others. She treated every person she met with respect and understanding. She was non-judgmental. Her legacy will live on. All of us will miss her dearly but her spirit remains with us forever. In the meanwhile, knowing Annette - she would not want you to cry and mope, instead smile and embrace life. Call your family and friends to remind them how much you love them.
Friends are invited to attend a memorial gathering at the Harrison Township Community Building on Saturday, November 30, 2019 from 2:00 – 5:00 PM. A service will be held at 2:30 PM.
Online condolences may be expressed at www.olneyfuneralhome.com.
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