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Arla Gwynn

d. May 26, 2016

Arla May Gwynn (Mitchell), 92, passed away, Thursday, May 26, 2016 at UPMC Hamot. She was born April 25, 1924 in Tarentum, Pa to the late Dorothy Mitchell (Brady) and Rayburn Mitchell. She graduated from Tarentum High School and for two years attended Indiana State College in Indiana, Pa, where she won the position of head cheerleader in her freshman year. In 1942, shortly after the U.S. entered WWII, she left Indiana to work in the research lab of Gulf Oil Company in Harmarville, Pa.

In 1945 she married Dr. Bernard (Barney) Gwynn, a research chemist whom she had met at Gulf. They bought a home on Bull Creek Road two miles from Tarentum in Fawn Township. She belonged to several community organizations and performed volunteer work as a nurse’s aid at Allegheny Valley Hospital in Natrona Heights.

She was an early supporter of and fundraiser for Pittsburgh’s WQED-TV, the country’s first community-supported public television station when it began broadcasting in 1954.

When both of her children were in school, she enrolled in Carnegie Institute of Technology (now Carnegie Mellon University), graduating in 1964. That fall she began teaching home economics at Richland Township Junior High School in the north hills of Pittsburgh. Later she became a real estate agent for the Fred Turnblazer brokerage.

She is a long-time resident of Edinboro, Pa, where first she vacationed with her family beginning in the 1930s. In 1952 she and Dr. Gwynn built a home in Lakeside and the family lived there every summer thereafter. After retirement in the late 1970s they became permanent Edinboro residents.

She also had a home in Englewood, Florida, where she resided in the winter.

She was an active member of the Lakeside Association, a community organization. She was instrumental in the petition process that led to the annexation of the Lakeside area to the Borough of Edinboro in 1958. Her Edinboro friends included Jim and Shirley Harrison, Bill and Laura Cornell, Virgil and Mary Jo Ostendorf, Dorthea Higgins, and Franny Schruers.

She established the Dorothy Mitchell Scholarship Fund for non-traditional students at Edinboro University of Pennsylvania in honor of her mother, who graduated from the university at age 65.

After her husband died in 1986, she continued to travel throughout the United States and to countries in Europe, Africa, Asia the Middle East and South America, as the two of them had done together before.

Survivors include a son Ronald Gwynn and daughter-in law Gayeann Gwynn, Palm Desert, California; a daughter Juanita Pryor, Virginia Beach, Virginia; and a grandson Aaron Pryor, Rochester, New York. Surviving siblings are Brady Mitchell, Dunbar, Pa; John Mitchell, Tarentum, Pa; and Juanita Trees, Darlington, Pa.

A funeral service will be held at the Glunt Funeral Home and Crematory, Inc., 210 Erie St., Edinboro, on Tuesday, May 31, 2016 at 2:00 p.m. with Rev. Matthew Falco officiating. Burial will follow in Edinboro Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers the family requests that contributions be made to the Dorothy Mitchell Scholarship Fund, Advancement Office, Edinboro University of Pennsylvania, 210 Meadville Street, Edinboro, PA 16444.  To send condolences please visit

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