Alvin Rogal, 84
Rogal built a family insurance business into the powerful HRH, with 120 offices worldwide. He was an advocate for Pittsburgh and a pillar of Pittsburgh’s Jewish community, as past president of the United Jewish Federation and recipient of its highest honor for exemplary service. A former board chairman of Montefiore Hospital and the Jewish Healthcare Foundation, Rogal of Shadyside was known as a man who could join people toward a common goal.
John Woodruff, 92
Woodruff won the gold medal in the 800 meters in the famous 1936 Olympics. A native of Connellsville, he was a freshman at Pitt when he made the trip to Berlin where a disappointed Adolf Hitler watched the victorious Woodruff and his black teammates, including Jesse Owens, discredit Hitler’s notion of Aryan supremacy. The long-legged Woodruff came from 14th place with just two hundred meters to go in a triumphant sprint to the finish. Ironically, it was the next year in the U.S. where racism prevented him from competing. The Naval Academy told Pitt it could not bring its African American athletes, and Pitt went without Woodruff. Last year at a special ceremony, Pitt apologized to Woodruff for that mistake 70 years ago. Woodruff died in Fountain Hills, Ariz.
Ray Tannehill, 73
Tannehill was a respected news anchor for 29 years at WPXI and KDKA television. A fixture in local news, he was known as an excellent journalist with a good sense of humor during what was a golden era of television news in Pittsburgh.
Joel B. Levinson, 73
Levinson was a photographer who chronicled Pittsburgh architecture and a businessman for 25 years in the steel company founded by his grandfather. He was a gregarious figure in Squirrel Hill, where for years his wife ran a used bookstore on Murray Avenue and his son ran the independent video store Heads Together.
Helen Mellon Schmidt, 92
A descendant of banking empire founder Judge Thomas Mellon, Helen Schmidt was many things in her life: naval cryptographer, pilot, horsewoman, world traveler and art collector/donor. She grew up in the East End and spent her later years as a resident of Ligonier. She was known to love nature, particularly birds, and she founded the bird banding program at Powdermill Nature Reserve.