What they’re say­ing: Remembering Sophie Masloff

Former Pitts­burgh Mayor So­phie Masloff was re­mem­bered Sun­day as a per­son who came along at the right time for a city in tran­si­tion. Here is a sam­pling of com­ments from peo­ple who knew and worked with her.

“Her pas­sion and love for Pitts­burgh was ex­em­pli­fied in all she did. Com­ing out of the Great De­pres­sion, So­phie saw nu­mer­ous changes in Pitts­burgh. She was a part of many of these changes and was the leader that this com­mu­nity needed.” — Al­le­gheny County Ex­ec­u­tive Rich Fitz­ger­ald

“So­phie Masloff per­son­i­fied Pitts­burgh; she was kind and ap­proach­able, but you dared not un­der­es­ti­mate her. Like so many of those who built our city, she was self-made, the daugh­ter of im­mi­grants and civic-minded. She com­mit­ted her­self to pub­lic life for de­cades, ris­ing from a teen­age po­lit­i­cal leader to the top of Pitts­burgh gov­ern­ment as the city’s first fe­male mayor.” — Pitts­burgh Mayor Bill Peduto

“She loved the job, and she so epit­o­mized Pitts­burgh. Pitts­burgh was still strug­gling to fig­ure out what it was go­ing to be af­ter the col­lapse of the steel mills. It was a par­tic­u­larly dif­fi­cult time to be mayor. She never for­got where she came from, whether she was talk­ing to the pres­i­dent of the United States of a guy from the North Side, she treated ev­ery­one the same, and that's what I re­mem­ber about her. She was us.” — Tom Mur­phy, who suc­ceeded her as mayor

“Through­out her ca­reer, her only con­cern was for the city, not whether she would gain a per­sonal ad­van­tage, not whether she was re­ward­ing friends or hurt­ing en­e­mies. None of that stuff en­tered her mind. It was al­ways what was best for the city, ... and she was just a very good hu­man be­ing.” — Fred­er­ick N. Frank, at­tor­ney, fam­ily spokes­man and friend

“So­phie Masloff was the quint­es­sen­tial daugh­ter of Pitts­burgh, an out­spo­ken, di­rect and hon­est char­ac­ter who em­braced her work with a sense of ser­vice and a spark of joy. ... It was So­phie who first en­vi­sioned what be­came PNC Park, and it was So­phie who also led the way in pro­mot­ing equal­ity of op­por­tu­nity, both by word and by her own ex­am­ple as both the city’s first fe­male and first Jew­ish chief ex­ec­u­tive.” — Gov. Tom Cor­bett

“My fam­ily and fam­i­lies across our com­mon­wealth join the peo­ple of Pitts­burgh in ex­press­ing our sad­ness re­gard­ing the pass­ing of So­phie Masloff. She was be­loved and re­spected by cit­i­zens as well as pub­lic of­fi­cials in south­west­ern Penn­syl­va­nia. So­phie was a vi­sion­ary and pro­vided a strong foun­da­tion of lead­er­ship [that] spear­headed the growth and suc­cess that we see to­day in the city of Pitts­burgh. She was also a trail­blazer as the first woman to lead Pitts­burgh.” — U.S. Sen. Bob Ca­sey

“She had this deep and re­ally unique sense of what it meant to be a pub­lic ser­vant.” — Lew Bor­man, her for­mer spokes­man

“To­day I lost a dear friend, won­der­ful part­ner and men­tor in So­phie Masloff. More im­por­tantly, all of us who call Pitts­burgh our home lost the most be­loved woman to grace our neigh­bor­hoods. I will miss her ter­ri­bly. Though we came from dif­fer­ent com­mu­ni­ties, re­li­gions and pol­i­tics, So­phie and I were part­ners in ev­ery­thing.” — Elsie Hill­man, Re­pub­li­can Party ac­tiv­ist

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