Obituary: Zita Glasgow / Shadyside activist fought hard for many causes

June 10, 1936 - Jan. 9, 2014

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Zita Glasgow was multi-faceted.

A trailblazing, natural leader, she blended artistic and creative passions with well-developed organizational and technical skills in a way that touched the lives of many.

She was co-author of a still widely used college psychology textbook, had a 30-year career in instructional design and training, and was a mentor and advocate for women in the workplace. She was also an active anti-gun lobbyist, mother, painter and a community and political organizer in her Shadyside neighborhood.

"When she did something, she did it all the way, and always with passion and zeal," said her son-in-law, Peter Bussey. "Some people are talkers. She was a doer."

Ms. Glasgow, a Monessen native and long-time Shadyside resident, died Thursday from complications following heart surgery. She was 77.

She graduated from Carnegie Institute of Technology with a degree in fine arts and a husband, Joe, then went on to earn a master's in psychology and a doctorate in educational psychology from the University of Pittsburgh.

She managed offices for the American Institute of Research and, later, Applied Science Associates, in Oakland and Valencia, producing customized training programs for industry, and government and the military.

Margie McGill, who worked with Ms. Glasgow at Applied Science Associates, remembered her as an focused worker with an outgoing personality who championed equal pay for her largely female scientific staff.

"One thing she did there was she supported and mentored women, and that was in the 1970s and 1980s, a time when few people did that," Ms. McGill said. "She selected many women for her scientific staff and pushed the company to increase pay for the women with doctorate degrees toward equality with the men."

She organized supporters for gun control legislation after her son, Joseph, was shot and seriously wounded in Cleveland in 1988, and served as president of the Pittsburgh Chapter of Pennsylvanians Against Handgun Violence. She testified at a congressional committee hearing in support of the Brady Bill, a handgun control law, and received an award as an outstanding volunteer from Sen. Edward M. Kennedy.

She was active in a variety of Shadyside community organizations and led the effort to institute a residential parking permit program that reserved on-street parking for residents during certain times of the day, especially around the Walnut Street shopping district. She served as president of the Shadyside Action Coalition and was a Democratic committeewoman.

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto said she was an expert on zoning and planning, and was instrumental in a countywide rewrite of the zoning code in the 1990s.

"She was an advocate for Shadyside and all the city neighborhoods," said Mr. Peduto, who knew Ms. Glasgow for 20 years. "She was courageous and not afraid to go up against anyone on topics like gun violence. And she was tough when her community needed her," he said.

"But she was also a gracious lady with style and class, a real renaissance woman."

Ms. Glasgow is survived by her husband of 58 years, Joe; a daughter, Ann Bussey of Upper St. Clair; a son, Joseph of Vancouver, Wash.; sisters Mary Lou Simkins of Baldwin Township and Virginia Fisfis of Bethel Park; and four grandchildren.

Friends will be received from 2 to 4 and 6 to 8 p.m., Tuesday at John A. Freyvogel Sons Funeral Home, 4900 Centre Ave. at Devonshire Street, Shadyside, where a memorial service will be held at 3 p.m. Wednesday.

In lieu of flowers, remembrances can be made to the American Heart Association at www.donate.heart.org.

Don Hopey: dhopey@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1983.


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