Lavelle, Chaplin, Hembree, Craig, Schott, Byrd, Ludwig
Robert R. Lavelle, 94
Lavelle founded the Hill District’s Dwelling House Savings & Loan, which helped thousands of people get loans and own their own homes. A devout Christian, the dignified rock of the Hill District viewed his financial work as his mission, advising and helping customers when they were late on payments. In 1957, Lavelle took over the bank, chartered in 1890, and paid himself a small salary, reaching $15,000 a year. Dwelling House closed last year.
Basil Schott, 70
The metropolitan archbishop of the Byzantine Catholic Church in Pittsburgh led the only self-governing Eastern Church in the country and worked to bring about more unity among Eastern Catholic bishops in this country. He also spent a great deal of time helping those in need, whether in the community or in the hospital, and was, above all, known as a warm, compassionate person.
Carol Chaplin, 72
She was a pioneer in involving Pittsburgh women in the world of investing. Known professionally as Carol Mullaugh, she co-founded the financial firm Chaplin-Mullaugh in 1982. She was the first woman to chair the Securities Industry Institute and taught finance at Point Park and Carlow universities. Chaplin was also a dedicated volunteer, serving on many boards, including chairing the board of the Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh.
Robert C. Byrd, 92
His mother died when he was an infant, and Byrd was raised and renamed by his aunt and uncle in a home with no running water or electricity in West Virginia’s coalfields. Briefly a member of the Ku Klux Klan, Byrd renounced that affiliation. From that beginning, he rose to become the longest serving member in the history of both the U.S Congress and the U.S. Senate. Dedicated to the Constitution, he was a fiery, independent voice in the Senate, for instance, leading opposition to the Iraq war. Byrd never lost an election; he served three terms in the House of Representatives and was in his ninth term in the Senate. He held a record number of Democratic leadership posts, including Majority Leader and chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee. Byrd was West Virginia’s greatest champion, bringing more than $3 billion in federal projects to his home state. An avid reader and prolific author, Byrd was married for 69 years to his high school sweetheart.
Charles “Ron” Hembree, 72
Reverend Hembree was an evangelist who became president of Cornerstone TeleVision. One of its shows “His Place,” featured Hembree as a pastor who had opened a diner after divorce ended his time in the pulpit. His show, “Quick Study” remains on the air as a year-long course in Bible study. He grew up the son of a preacher and dedicated his life to spreading God’s word.
Gene Ludwig, 72
A prime figure in Pittsburgh jazz for the past 50 years, Ludwig was internationally recognized as one of the greats on the Hammond B-3 organ. Despite its size—some 400 pounds—Ludwig stuck with the instrument and its singular sound for years, lugging the organ to his jazz and rhythm & blues gigs around the city.
John G. Craig Jr., 77
Craig was perhaps Pittsburgh’s preeminent journalist over the past 30 years, leading the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette from 1977 until 2004 and then founding the Regional Indicators in retirement. An independent and unconventional thinker, he combined a keen intellect with a passion for civic improvement. As editor-in-chief, Craig oversaw the 1992 merger of the PG with The Pittsburgh Press, building the region’s strongest news organization and leading over 200 journalists. His weekly newspaper column focused on making a better Pittsburgh, which was his chief interest. He was a driving force and first co-chair of the Riverlife Task Force, which has led to dramatic improvements along the riverfronts.