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Betty Jane Puskar


Betty Jane Puskar 80 passed away on Sunday, June 14, 2020, following a year and a half of irrecoverable illnesses. Born in Allegheny County, Virginia on February 19, 1940, Betty was the 3rd of 8 children born to the late Garnett and Gladys Crawford Howard. She graduated Dunlap High School and Covington Business College. In her hometown, Betty worked as a hairdresser, a waitress, a secretary, and at the Industrial Rayon Corporation factory. At the age of 22, she met the emerging entrepreneur Milan 'Mike' Puskar 1934-2011. Soon thereafter, the two were married, and Betty was quickly introduced into the business world. While her husband, Mike, proceeded to shape what later became the generic drug manufacturing company Mylan Pharmaceuticals, Betty was at his side as a supportive spouse navigating through the necessary corporate and political development activities required of a successful startup. Today, most recognize Betty as a key player in the formation and success of Mylan. The generic pharmaceutical business took the Puskars around the world. They lived in various places, including Princeton, West Virginia, Cincinnati, Ohio, St. Croix, US Virginia Islands, Dublin, Ireland, and ultimately Morgantown, West Virginia. In 1985 Betty was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer and underwent the harshest of experimental treatments at MD Anderson Medical Center in Houston, which treatment brought her very close to death. After months and months of treatment and rehabilitation, Betty was able to overcome the breast cancer. Following her recovery, Betty took immediate measures that led her to become West Virginia's lead advocate for breast cancer care, treatment, and prevention. In 1990, Betty endowed and founded the Betty Puskar Breast Care Center at West Virginia University. To spotlight the newly opened Breast Care Center, she was instrumental in bringing a stop on the Ladies Professional Golf Association LPGA tournament in Morgantown. Known as 'The Futures Tour,' the event ran for 17 years of play during which time Ms. Puskar promoted breast cancer education and prevention programs and sought to encourage women in West Virginia to have regular testing for breast cancer. Naturally joyous and optimistic at all times, even despite severe illnesses and circumstances, her life's purpose always centered around making those who she came in contact with smile, have a good time, and feel good about themselves. She fervently believed that a sense of humor and a positive attitude are a major defense against life's never-ending challenges. Anyone whose path crossed Betty's would instantly feel her infectious charisma and fervor for finding joy in every moment. Her regal style and beauty, both inside and out, lit up every room that she entered. Betty loved Morgantown and West Virginia and was proud to call it her home. Her town and her state recognized her generosity and loyalty by presenting her with a number of its top philanthropic awards, including: Earl L. Core Award, Mylan Puskar Award, Most Loyal Mountaineer of West Virginia University, West Virginia Philanthropist of the Year 2005, WV Cancer Center Winged Victory Award, and Countless others. Betty was known to be very loyal and deeply devoted to her family. She is survived by her daughter Johanna Puskar Mark Crouse of Maryland; her grandson Kyle Milan Pratt Anna Pratt of Morgantown; two sisters, Janet Austin and Yvonne Lewis of Virginia; three brothers, Bill Howard of Alaska, Donald Berkley Howard of Ohio, and Wayne Howard Mary Jo Howard of Virginia and numerous nieces, nephews, and cousins. Betty was preceded in death by two brothers, Paul Howard and Berlin Stables Howard, and longtime companion, Regis Kobert. A public visitation will be held at The Erickson Alumni Center on Thursday, June 18th from 1:00-8:00 pm and again on Friday, June 19th from 10:00-12:00 pm. Funeral service will be held on Friday, June 19th at 12:00 pm at The Erickson Alumni Center with Rev. Junius Lewis officiating. People attending are encouraged to follow CDC guidelines including practicing social distancing. Donations to the Betty Puskar Breast Care Center would be greatly appreciated to carry on Betty's philanthropic legacy. Please reference Fund ID Number 2W861 in making any such donations.

Betty passed on June 14, 2020



Services will be held on June 19, 2020

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"So many times, Betty helped me on my journey through breast cancer and treatment. She was one of the first people I called after the diagnosis and she was ready to fly me to MD Anderson to see her doctor. I ended up not going because some of the best doctors for the job where at WVU because of the work she had done to make Morgantown a treatment center for breast cancer. She was available anytime I called. We had dinner and always laughed. I even have a picture of Betty, her sister, her daughter and I with our red hair at the golf event. Mine was a wig! Always thinking of others, her fashion shows made all of the women who have battled breast cancer feel beautiful and loved. Her arms and home were always open to us. She will be so missed but because of her, so many will be able to stay at home with their families and be survivors like me. My love and prayers to her family. Her red hair and smile will be forever in our hearts. Gail"
From Gail O’Malley on June 16, 2020
"Kyle and Johanna, We are so sorry for your loss. We will always remember Betty as the kind and generous woman that we knew. Please know that our prayers are with you in this time."
From Mike and Nanette Gaspar on June 16, 2020
"Dear Johanna, Kyle and family. Betty was truly an extraordinary person in every way. She touched the lives of so many people and was as genuine as they come. I don't have words to describe her and your loss is immeasurable. I feel very blessed to have known her. I'm only glad that she's not suffering anymore. A very bright, warm and lovely light has winked out and the world is a better place for having her in it. God bless her and all of you., "
From Brian Gallagher on June 16, 2020
"Living thought and prayers to the family of this beautiful lady. May God bless you all during this difficult time."
From Jim and Wanda Crawford on June 17, 2020
"SO sorry for your loss your mom was such a great person sure miss seeing you and Mark wish you both the very best in this time of loss forever friends"
From Alice and Harry Wolfe on June 18, 2020
"Johanna, Kyle and Mark, we send our deepest sympathies to your family at this time. Betty was a strong, loving woman! She will be missed. Your family will be in our thoughts and prayers in the days ahead. "
From MaryAnn, Amy and Eric Post on June 18, 2020
"To Kyle, Johanna, Janet, family and all who loved Betty... May the memories with this wonderful lady and the legacy she has left be a comfort. She was the best example of what a person should be, with unmatched compassion and unparalleled zest for life."
From A L and Nancy Rice on June 18, 2020
"My prayers and thoughts to Johanna and family. A wonderful lady that would light up the room. Thank you Johanna for introducing me to your mom when we were together in college. My thoughts are with you and your family. Tammy Ours Owens 703-967-8689"
From Tammy Owens on June 18, 2020
"I am so sorry for your loss. Betty Puskar touched more lives than I may ever imagine. When I turned 40 I came to the BPBCC it’s in my phone that way and had my first mammograms. I was called back for ultrasound. I returned to have a biopsy. As a single mother with two children, I was terrified until the results were benign. Each year I have returned for my care. I found the environment their so calming and a place full of care. I was surrounded by beauty and friendly faces. Over the past 21 years I have seen three more spots identified in my breast. I have been so thankful that Betty Puskar planted a tree that grew and has provided me comfort and care in the form of The Betty Puskar Breast Care Center. Betty Puskar brought care and treatment to so many but also touched the families and friends of those who love all of us women. Betty Puskar has been loved by many. Never meeting her personally did not stop me from feeling a closeness to her. I will continue to return to the BPBCC and be comforted no matter come what may in my health. I will feel close each time to Betty Puskar and her gift to me in establishing the BPBCC."
From Sharon Clagett on June 18, 2020
"I am so sorry for your loss. Betty Puskar touched more lives than I may ever imagine. When I turned 40 I came to the BPBCC it’s in my phone that way and had my first mammograms. I was called back for ultrasound. I returned to have a biopsy. As a single mother with two children, I was terrified until the results were benign. Each year I have returned for my care. I found the environment their so calming and a place full of care. I was surrounded by beauty and friendly faces. Over the past 21 years I have seen three more spots identified in my breast. I have been so thankful that Betty Puskar planted a tree that grew and has provided me comfort and care in the form of The Betty Puskar Breast Care Center. Betty Puskar brought care and treatment to so many but also touched the families and friends of those who love all of us women. Betty Puskar has been loved by many. Never meeting her personally did not stop me from feeling a closeness to her. I will continue to return to the BPBCC and be comforted no matter come what may in my health. I will feel close each time to Betty Puskar and her gift to me in establishing the BPBCC."
From Sharon Clagett on June 18, 2020
"Johanna, Kyle and Mark, we send our deepest sympathies to your family at this time. Betty was a strong, loving woman! She will be missed. Your family will be in our thoughts and prayers in the days ahead. "
From MaryAnn, Amy and Eric Post on June 18, 2020
"Johanna and Kyle, I wanted to share my condolences. Betty meant so much to me. She was strong, caring, funny and could even be ornery pulling jokes on friends. Even after I lost touch with her she helped me more than I ever got to tell her. When my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer I used Betty’s example of strength and humor to help me help my mom during her cancer fight. Betty’s example is now helping me in my own battle with cancer. Betty helped so many over the years, so I know my story is not unique. Thank you Betty....you will always be my hero."
From Mike Wilson on June 19, 2020
"My thoughts and prayers are with you of the loss of your dear mother. God Bless."
From Norma Gallagher on June 19, 2020
"We were heart broken to hear of Betty’s passing.We met her 23 years ago in Juno Beach . She was the kindest person you could ever meet. Her love for her family was always first, especially her grandson Kyle.She was so proud of him and her daughter Johanna. Our deepest condolences to all of her family. When we think of Betty we will smile, as she will always rest lightly in our hearts."
From George and Mandy Fidell on June 19, 2020


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