Pittsburgh City-County Building to serve as memorial to Masloff this week
August 17, 2014 11:51 PM
Nancy Burns, of the city's Office of Special Programs, sets up a portrait of the late Pittsburgh Mayor Sophie Masloff in the lobby of the City-County Building, Downtown, today as part of a memorial that will include books for people to sign and leave messages.
By Janice Crompton / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
The lobby of the City-County Building will serve this week as a memorial hall for former Pittsburgh Mayor Sophie Masloff.
Mayor Bill Peduto said a memorial book will be available for signatures and memories, and a photo of Mrs. Masloff from her time as a city councilwoman will be hung in the lobby.
During a news conference Sunday in Oakland, hours after Mrs. Masloff died at age 96, Mr. Peduto described her as a “trailblazer” who “changed the dynamics of the city forever.”
Mayor Peduto reacts to the passing of former mayor Masloff
Mayor Bill Peduto talks about the impact former PIttsburgh Mayor Sophie Masloff had on the city. (Video by Nate Guidry; 8/17/2014)
“Today is a sad day for Pittsburgh, but it’s also a celebration of a life well-lived,” the mayor said in front of the University of Pittsburgh’s Cathedral of Learning.
Mr. Peduto said he last saw Mrs. Masloff in October, during his campaign for mayor. The two had met numerous times at a coffee shop to discuss politics and, inevitably, life.
“Oftentimes when I sat and looked at her, I thought about the days when she sat across from Mayor David Lawrence, when she worked with the leading Democrats of her time, and I felt kind of humbled,” he recalled.
“She was somebody who rose from the humblest of beginnings in the Hill District to the greatest seat of power within city government. I feel blessed to have gotten to know her over the years.”
Mr. Peduto said he thought of Mrs. Masloff shortly after he was sworn in, when he came across a box full of her old speeches “hidden away in a back room.”
He said he plans to let the family decide what to do with them, but he hopes the documents will be donated to the Sen. John Heinz History Center.
Mr. Peduto said he met Mrs. Masloff in 1989, when they worked together on Ralph Cappy’s bid for the state Supreme Court. The next year, Mr. Peduto served in her administration’s finance department.
“She led at a time when Pittsburgh really was just beginning to get off its knees,” he said.
“She was very cognizant that Pittsburgh wasn’t going to be the same city she grew up in. She was the fabric that held the city together during some of our darkest hours.”
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