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Euphemia Hare Steffey
September 17, 2023
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EUPHEMIA H. STEFFEY, longtime Pittsburgh resident, age 100
Euphemia Hare Steffey died peacefully on September 17 in Westwood, Massachusetts. She was 100 years old and the beloved matriarch of a large family that surrounded her in her final days.
“Patty” was a deeply caring and connected mother, grandmother, great-grandmother and friend. An insatiable scholar with a gift for listening -- whether in dinner conversation, at Smith College board meetings, bird watching, fishing, traveling, etc. -- Patty was always at the ready with informed perspectives, thoughtful questions, and kindhearted humor.
An accomplished poet and a dedicated naturalist, she traveled the world well into her ninth decade, venturing out from her longtime Pittsburgh home to visit friends and family, or to immerse herself in bass fishing, great literature, and spirited competition. She swam daily throughout her life, including on the morning of Dec. 28, 2022, her 100th birthday.
She moved in 2020 from Pittsburgh to Fox Hill Village in Westwood in order to be closer to her many grandchildren and great-grandchildren in the Boston area. They cherished her as a leader who set high standards for her offspring but also exemplified how to love generously, nurture passions, chase adventures, and care for others.
Born in Pittsburgh to Joseph Kirkpatrick Bole Hare and Mary Lenhardt Hare, she lived there and in Rector, Pennsylvania, for the bulk of her life. For several years she resided in Maplewood, New Jersey, and Buffalo, New York, where her father worked for the Westinghouse Electric Company. She attended Buffalo Seminary before returning to Pittsburgh and graduating from the Ellis School.
At Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts, she majored in Politics, graduating in 1944. She married the love of her life, Stewart Horner Steffey, the same year. As a young Navy couple, they were stationed in San Francisco for part of World War II. Their son, Stewart H. Steffey, Jr., was born there and survives her.
She is also survived by her daughter, Sue Anne Steffey Morrow, and her daughter, Mary (Molly) Lenhardt Steffey. She was predeceased by her son, Joseph Bole Hare Steffey. Her husband died in 1977.
She leaves a large extended family including eight grandchildren and seventeen great-grandchildren. She was predeceased by her granddaughter, Katherine Johnson Steffey.
Living independently for 46 years after her husband’s death, she traveled widely and extended her mastery of gardening, knitting, golf, Scrabble, and crossword puzzles. She made annual summer pilgrimages to her cottage at the Iron City Fishing Club on Georgian Bay, Lake Huron, where she had ample time to write, catch fish, and delight relatives and old friends with her nimble wit, open mind, and ready smile.
Throughout her life she devoted herself to charitable and educational endeavors. Her greatest commitment was to her alma mater, Smith College, where she served as President of the Board of Trustees. She chaired the search committee that in 1985 selected historian Mary Maples Dunn as Smith’s eighth president. Patty was a generous philanthropist to the causes she believed in, devoting time and resources to nonprofit and civic institutions.
A longtime member of First United Methodist Church, she witnessed that religious faith and social justice go hand in hand, supporting ministries that reached across differences, like the Loaves and Fishes Coffee House and First Church Food and Friends. She showed her devotion through actions more than words, always checking in on those who needed help, a hug, or just a listening ear. Her faith was steady and consistent, unwavering, unflappable. In recent years she attended services at St. Paul’s Church in Dedham, Massachusetts.
After her service on Smith’s board, she volunteered to assist with the Smith College Travel Program and served as the college’s representative on many trips around the world, including to India, South America, Alaska, Africa and Europe.
She was a member of the Rolling Rock Club, in Rector, Pennsylvania, and spent many winter holidays and summer weekends in nearby Ligonier Township, where well into her nineties she walked through woods and pastures, contemplating the natural world, sharing her reflections on life’s great mysteries, or turning her mind over a piece of poetry she had been reading or writing.
A Service of Thanksgiving will be held at First United Methodist Church, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, at 2PM on Oct. 21, 2023. The service will also be Livestreamed at fumcpittsburgh.org