Marita McGough rose to the top rank of corporate banking as a commercial loan analyst while raising her children.
She "was a professional working mother back in the day when no one knew if you could really do it. She was one of the work-life balance pioneers," her brother, W. Thomas McGough Jr. of Shadyside, said.
"She just devoted herself to it. She lived in center city Philadelphia, and she would bike to work with a toddler strapped into the safety seat."
Ms. McGough, of Shadyside, died Sunday of liver failure and cancer. She was 56.
"She was an exceptionally hard worker. She always had a can-do attitude, always gave 110 percent," said Rick Masters, senior vice president of First National Bank of Pennsylvania, where she was vice president in loan review.
"At the same time, she was extremely personable and outgoing. She loved to tell stories about her family, about raising her children. She was a very proud mom."
She grew up in Shadyside, the daughter of Jane McGough and attorney Walter McGough. Two of her three siblings were boys, but "she was the best athlete in the family," her brother said. She competed in field hockey and was an avid skier, runner and swimmer.
"When she had something in her mind, she went for it. She had a real look of determination," said her lifelong friend, Anne Scheuermann of Squirrel Hill, who grew up around the corner and attended Winchester Thurston School with her.
"She'd fall off her bike, brush herself off and say, 'I'm fine.' The rest of us would be saying, 'We need Band-Aids.' She was a very strong person."
Ms. McGough majored in economics at William Smith College. She started with Mellon Bank as a college trainee, remaining to build a career as she married and moved to Philadelphia. She continued to rise through Mellon's ranks while raising two children.
"When we were in high school, the credo was that when you are in college and beyond, you can do anything you want," Ms. Scheuermann said. "They gave us a real sense that we were just as smart and strong as the men."
Ms. McGough was a Pittsburgher at heart, never changing her sports loyalties. After her marriage ended in divorce about eight years ago, she returned to Shadyside with her children. Initially she stayed with Mellon. After her position was eliminated in a shift to New York, she made a lateral move to Wachovia Bank, then joined First National a little more than a year ago.
Her specialty was analyzing commercial loans "and she was a really good fit," Mr. Masters said.
She was suffering from a chronic liver ailment but never complained, asked for time off or even informed co-workers. Her children were grown and living in Philadelphia. She spent time with her extended family in Pittsburgh and at their retreat at Ross Mountain, north of Ligonier. She doted on her Welsh corgis.
Then she developed a rare and aggressive cancer that overwhelmed her weakened system.
"She worked right up until a Friday two weeks ago," Mr. Masters said. "She left work like any other day, said, 'Good-bye, have a good weekend, see you Monday.' And then Monday she was in the hospital."
In addition to her mother and brother, she is survived by a son, Trevor Carb, and a daughter, Olivia Carb, both of Philadelphia; a brother, Hugh of Shadyside; and a sister, Jane Ellen Cheney of Monroeville.
Visitation will be from 2 to 4 and 6 to 8 p.m. today at John A. Freyvogel Sons, Shadyside. The funeral will be private.
Memorial contributions may be made to Winchester Thurston School, William Smith College or Jeremiah's Place: Crisis Nursery, P.O. Box 11100, Pittsburgh 15237.
Ann Rodgers: email@example.com or 412-263-1416.