Obituary: Carl D. Citron / Accountant enjoyed travels, taste of success
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For someone who worked for most of his life as an accountant, Carl Citron had an unstereotypically interesting life.
With his wife, Jane, he traveled the world -- Morocco, Greece, India, Thailand, Vietnam. Later, the couple rented apartments for monthlong stints in the south of France and in California's Napa Valley.
Much of this globe-trotting was driven by the fact that Jane Citron was a cooking teacher and food writer for The Pittsburgh Press, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and Pittsburgh Magazine.
But Mr. Citron was a happy companion in all of it.
"I don't think anyone's ever eaten better," said one of his three sons, Alan, of Fox Chapel.
Mr. Citron died Monday of complications from Parkinson's disease. He was 80.
One of five children, Mr. Citron grew up in Beechview and then Squirrel Hill, where he was valedictorian -- at age 16 -- at Taylor Allderdice High School, now Pittsburgh Allderdice. At the University of Pittsburgh, he earned a bachelor's in business administration in 1951 and the next year a master's in accounting, which he loved.
His son Rodger of New York City said that watching him in his home office working the calculator keys "was like watching a concert pianist."
Mr. Citron married Jane Pachtman, whom he'd begun dating at Pitt, in February 1955, while he was on leave from the Army, which had drafted him near the end of the Korean War. The newlyweds moved to San Francisco for the rest of his Army stint, and it was the time of their lives, living -- and eating -- in an exotic city.
Back in Pittsburgh, Mr. Citron returned to work as an accountant, but at his wife's urging, enrolled in law school at Pitt, graduating in 1959. But he remained an accountant, working for various firms, before starting his own law firm in 1979. It's still Citron Alex & Zionts.
Mr. Citron's name also lives on in another way: After his wife died in 2006 of colon cancer, he and his family established the Jane and Carl Citron Endowed Chair in Colon Cancer at Pitt. It's funded in part by his wife's posthumous cookbook, "Living to Cook," which is filled with recipes the couple served while raising a family and entertaining in their Squirrel Hill home.
For many years, Mr. Citron did personal accounting and legal work for former Allegheny County Coroner Cyril Wecht, his friend since his freshman year at Pitt. Dr. Wecht recounts how, when they were young and lean, he used to trade Mr. Citron an annual physical in exchange for Mr. Citron doing his taxes.
In later years, when Mr. Citron delivered his tax return, their ritual was to have a lunch of corned beef and hard salami with mustard on rye bread, and a lot of tangy banter.
Dr. Wecht was moved by how uncomplaining and brave his friend was about his illness. "It said so much about him."
In addition to his sons Alan and Rodger, Mr. Citron is survived by another son, Stanley of Alexandria, Va., and six grandchildren.
Visitation is at noon, and services are at 1 p.m. Friday at Ralph Schugar Chapel, 5509 Centre Ave.
Memorial contributions may be made to The University of Pittsburgh/Citron Chair and sent to Medical and Health Sciences Foundation, UPMC and University of Pittsburgh, 3600 Forbes Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15213.
First Published October 4, 2012 11:57 am