Laurie Anne Stepanian-Barber, PhD. Professor Emerita crossed the Rainbow Bridge on February18, 2021 as a result of Cancer at UPMC Presbyterian Hospital in Pittsburgh.
Born February 10, 1941, Dr. Stepanian was the daughter of Steven Arvid Stepanian and Edithmarion (McElligott) Stepanian and the sister of Leo M. Stepanian (Maryann) of Butler and Steven Arvid Stepanian II (Pamela) of Pittsburgh.
She grew up in Charleroi, PA, and earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Theatre from Pennsylvania State University, after completing her Master of Arts degree from Texas Technoligical University, she taught at Midwestern University in Wichita Falls, Texas, for several years. While there she earned her private pilot's license. She then pursued her PhD in Theatre at the University of Missouri-Columbia.
In 1974 she was hired by Slippery Rock University to teach, design and direct all aspects of theater. During her tenure at SRU she was involved in over fifty productions, was a member of the Executive Committee of APSCUF, the state faculty union and was the Pennsylvania representative to the national Arts in Education initiative of Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.
During these years she traveled extensively and visited over twenty countries. Laurie also enjoyed attending Steelers games and several Super Bowls with her family.
Dr. Stepanian retired as chairperson of the Department of Theatre in 1997 when she moved to Butler and became involved in Butler Little Theater, where she received awards for her acting, designing and directing of several productions. She was also Vice-President of the Butler chapter of Soroptomist International and a founding member of NBCC.
All of her life Laurie was known for her love of animals, especially cats. In 2005 she acquired her first registered pedigreed cats, two Turkish Vans and started showing them at CFA cat shows. Because of their successes and her enjoyment of of this activity, she added several more cats to her household, including two Birmans, who became regional and national CFA winners. She had to curtail this activity in 2011 when she had a double lung transplantation.
In 2019 she married Matthew P. Barber. During these last years she enjoyed her unconventional life with him enormously.
Dr. Stepanian is survived by her husband, Matthew, her niece Leanne Stepanian , her nephews
Leo II (Gwen), Joshua (Jamie) and Jonathan (Shannon) and her step-children Alivia and Aden Barber as well as many great nieces and nephews. Also mourning her absence are her current companions, Bear, BB, Skye, Beau Mieux and Trip.
Friends will be received at Geibel Funeral Home, 201 East Cunningham St. from 6:00 -8:00 pm Monday and 11:00 am - 1:00 pm Tuesday. A Committal Service will follow at 1:30 pm Tuesday at St. Peter Cemetery in Butler.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Butler County Humane Society, 1015 Evans City Road, Renfrew, PA 16053.
Due to current mandates and restrictions, visitors are asked to wear facial covering and practice social distancing.
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