Ostrowski was more than assistant to the chair in Orthopaedic Surgery

Nancy Ostrowski

Nancy Ostrowski, who served as assistant to multiple chairmen of the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery in the School of Medicine from 1970 to 2014, died Dec. 12, 2020, at 73.

Current chair Freddie H. Fu — under whom Ostrowski served for 16 years — first met her when he was a medical student here. “She was the most incredible assistant,” Fu said. “She knew everything about being a good assistant and about Pitt.”

Ostrowski, he said, did a large array of departmental work, from handling its finances and taking care of the faculty and resident paperwork to helping him write speeches and copy edit journal articles. She was, he recalled, “a very nice person too — very meticulous and very personable. She was absolutely a wonderful person and did a lot for Pitt.”

Ostrowski was a 1964 graduate of St. Paul’s Cathedral High School and a 1966 graduate of Point Park University with an associate degree in medical secretarial science, earning the school’s Pittsburgh Foundation award as first in her graduating class.

She began her career as medical secretary to physician Joseph Mazzei, then moved to the Rehabilitation Outpatient Diagnostic Clinic at St. Francis Hospital, before joining Pitt. She was hired as the clinical secretary to chair Albert Ferguson and then as the operations manager under both Edward Hanley and James Herndon. Her tenure under Freddie Fu began in 1998 until her retirement in 2014, during which time she also served as the department’s historian.

She received the 2005 Chancellor's Award for Staff for Excellence in Service to the University.

She is survived by her husband of 47 years, Paul; sister, Mary Francis Iannacchione (Bob); uncle, Raymond Catullo; nephew, Brad Iannacchione (Carolyn); and great-niece, Nicole; as well as numerous cousins.

A celebration of her life will be held later in the spring of 2021. Memorial gifts are suggested to the UPMC Hillman Cancer Center.

— Marty Levine