News Obituaries


 Sen. Richard Schweiker, R-Pa., a member of a Senate Health and Scientific Research subcommittee speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington. Schweiker, a liberal Republican who was the vice presidential candidate in Ronald Reagan's unsuccessful 1976 campaign and later served in Reagan's Cabinet, has died. He was 89.

Obituary / Richard Schultz Schweiker: U.S. senator, secretary of health and human services

Richard S. Schweiker, a Norristown native, served 20 years U.S. House and Senate before serving in Ronald Reagan’s cabinet.

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Obituary: Arthur J. 'Art' Keenan / Stephen Zappala’s ‘go-to guy’ in DA’s office

Mr. Keenan, of Kennedy, had been the community liaison in the district attorney’s office after a long career with U.S. Steel sales.

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 Blanche Dunik

Obituary: Blanche Dunik / Longtime South Side crossing guard always cared for others

Longtime South Side resident Blanche Dunik knew how to lend a hand and keep a secret.

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Obituary: Richard E. Fuhrer / Insurance executive’s other passion was golf

The former Oakmont Country Club president was protective of the club’s reputation and integrity.

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Obituary: Mary Alice Smith / Longtime voice at area religious services

In the 1960s, Mary Alice Smith was half of the singing Bel Canto Duo and the voice behind religious services all around Pittsburgh.

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Obituary: Sister Michele Ransil / Dedicated to serving community through faith-based efforts

For several years, Sister Michele had been regularly visiting homeless people beneath bridges in Pittsburgh to bring food and socialize.

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Obituary: Fred Slatten / Shoe designer to the stars

Mr. Slatten made fantasy footwear, adorning his designs with rhinestones, peacock feathers, decals and the  images of celebrities’ faces.

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 Dr. Ted. K. Encke

Obituary: Dr. Ted. K. Encke / Prolific orthopedic surgeon was proud of service in Vietnam

Dr. Encke, 76, died Monday from complications of a kidney stone, Mrs. Encke said.

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Obituary: Mario Cutruzzula Sr. / People were a priority for ‘Mayor of Bloomfield,’ coach

Mario Cutruzzula died Thursday at age 78 from complications after a heart attack.

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Obituary: Klaus M. Bron / Radiologist’s work considered visionary

Klaus Bron was a visionary radiologist who put Pittsburgh on cutting edge of medicine

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Obituary: Ruth Furman Miller / Lifetime devotee of Duquesne Incline, worked to reopen it with her husband

Ms. Miller, along with her late husband, David Miller, did door-to-door fundraising to revive the Duquesne Incline in the 1960s.

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Obituary: Mark J. Skertich / Fiery priest had nine master’s degrees

Father Mark J. Skertich rode a motorcycle, smoked cigarettes, studied natural science and kept church-goers awake with challenging homilies.

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Obituary: Clementine DeGiovanni / Pursued passion for music as teacher

Mrs. DeGiovanni died Saturday from a thoracic aneurysm. She was 85.

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Obituary: Robert Keber / Longtime general contractor built Croatian community through music

Mr. Keber of Delmont, until recently a lifelong resident of Ambridge, died Sunday at age 88 of natural causes.

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 American author E.L. Doctorow smiles during an interview in his office at New York University in New York.

Obituary: E.L. Doctorow, author of 'Ragtime,' dies in New York at 84

Considered one of the major authors of the 20th century, E. L. Doctorow enjoyed critical and popular success over his 50-year career.

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Obituary: LaVerne Wheeler / Intelligent and dynamic, she directed the city’s human relations commission

LaVerne Wheeler, 72, of North Oakland rose through the ranks to head the Pittsburgh Human Relations Commission.

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Obituary: Mary Loretta Harrison / Swissvale native made difference as volunteer

Mary Loretta Harrison made an impact in Venezuela and Eastern Pennsylvania.

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 Born and raised in Glassport and Rankin, Stephen Spolar graduated from Glassport High School in 1939 and in 1943 enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps.

Obituary: Stephen Spolar / Longtime banker rose to president of Pittsburgh Home Savings and Loan

Mr. Spolar’s first job was as a state bank examiner.

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Obituary: George Bohm / International engineer for Westinghouse

George Bohm of Churchill, born in Argentina, used his ability to speak three languages in his job as a nuclear engineer for Westinghouse.

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 Helen Faison

Obituary: Helen Faison / Pioneering educator at Pittsburgh schools

Ms. Faison, a trailblazing African-American educator, died of natural causes Thursday at a nursing home in Forest Hills. She was 91.

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 Irma Pongracz died Monday at the Willows of Oakmont. She was 95.

Obituary: Irma Pongracz / Countess’ life was far from fairytale

From rags to riches then back again, Mrs. Pongracz sought refuge in Pittsburgh in 1952.

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Obituary: Robert F. Genito / Family man was active, proud

A loving father and career counselor who didn’t let disability slow down his life.

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Obituary: Mave Victoria Geddis / Pioneering female attorney

Mave Geddis was one of the few women to graduate from University of Pittsburgh Law School in 1952 and spent her career helping underdogs.

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 Edward Mason Anthony Jr.

Obituary: Edward Mason Anthony Jr. / Founding chair of Pitt’s Linguistics department and English Language Institute

Edward Anthony arrived at Pitt in 1964 and went on to expand the international character of the university.

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Obituary: Ronald J. Halbritter / A presence in Pittsburgh sports through 4 decades, former Marine

When he died, he was heading home to the woman he loved, after spending the evening at PNC Park, one of the places he most loved to be.

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Obituary: William Conrad Gibbons / Author of study on Vietnam War that spanned over 2,000 pages

At the request of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Mr.Gibbons set out to compile a complete history of the Vietnam War.

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Obituary: Roy C. Bennett / Wrote songs for Sinatra, Elvis, the Beatles

With Sid Tepper, he wrote 45 songs for Elvis Presley alone, including most of the songs in the film “Blue Hawaii.”

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Obituary: Burt Shavitz / His bees helped make lip balm, shampoo and millions of dollars

“Burt’s Bees Lip Balm” made it easier for millions to speak and to eat, to drink, to kiss, and to open wider for dental work.

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Obituaries: Frank Stypula / His ‘passion’ for polka started at an early age

Polka was Frank Stypula’s thing. “He just had a passion for playing,” said Gertrude Stypula, his wife of 61 years.

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 In this Thursday, Nov. 24, 2011, photo, actor Omar Sharif poses during a photo call for the  "Medfilm, Mediterranian Film Festival" lifetime achievement award in Rome.

Obituary: Omar Sharif / International movie heartthrob of ‘Lawrence,’ ‘Zhivago’ fame

Besides Mr. Sharif, “Lawrence of Arabia” also made a star of the previously obscure Peter O’Toole in the title role.

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 Receiver Fred Biletnikoff, left, and quarterback Ken Stabler celebrate after the Oakland Raiders defeated the Minnesota Vikings in Super Bowl XI in Pasadena, Calif., on Jan. 9, 1977.

Obituary: Ken Stabler / Oakland Raiders’ star quarterback

After playing at the University of Alabama for coach Paul “Bear” Bryant, Mr. Stabler played for three NFL teams.

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 In this 2011 file photo, actor Omar Sharif poses during a photo call for the "Medfilm, Mediterranian Film Festival" lifetime achievement award in Rome.

'Doctor Zhivago' Omar Sharif dies at 83

The Egyptian-born actor, also known for his role in “Lawrence of Arabia,” had been suffering from Alzheimer’s and died of a heart attack.

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Obituary: Jeffrey Boggess / Teacher was dedicated to students and his family

Mr. Boggess died Monday from leukemia. He was 37.

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 Howard “H.B.” Bennett

Obituary: Howard ‘H.B.’ Bennett / Drummer, founder of Balcony Big Band

His sister Wendy Bennett of Squirrel Hill noted that her brother’s musical career “got started when he emerged from the womb …”

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Obituary: Diana Douglas / Actress, mother of Michael Douglas

Her six-decade-long stage, TV and film career included roles opposite her first husband, Kirk Douglas, and their son, Michael.

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Obituary: Jim Schafer / Loved to capture nature with his camera

Jim Schafer, an architectural and nature photographer, died of a heart attack. He was 64.

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Obituary: Minerva Maiers / A career woman who was ahead of her time

Minerva Maiers, skilled secretary and tireless volunteer for Catholic causes in Bellevue dies at 98.

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 Nicholas Winton during World War II with a one of the rescued children he spirited out of Nazi-occupied Czechoslovakia to foster families in Great Britain and Sweden.

Obituary: Sir Nicholas Winton / Rescued Czech children during the Holocaust

By the time of his death on July 1 at 106, Mr. Winton was internationally celebrated as a hero of the Holocaust.

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Obituary: Elizabeth McIntosh / Spy whose lies helped win a war, dies at 100

Ms. McIntosh’s fluency in Japanese and background as a newspaper reporter made her ideal for spreading authentic-sounding misinformation.

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