Brad­dock wo­man was ac­tive in her church, NAACP

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette - - News | Obituaries - By Kate Gi­ammarise

Ber­nice “Bun” Pitts, 87, a Brad­dock wo­man who was a pil­lar of her church, died Mon­day.

Born Ber­nice Howard in Marion County, S.C., one of five chil­dren, she came to Penn­syl­va­nia with her fam­ily as a child. Her fam­ily had rel­a­tives in Brad­dock and her fa­ther was told he could get work there. He did, at U.S. Steel’s Edgar Thom­son Plant, ac­cord­ing to Ms. Pitts’ daugh­ter, Karen Howard of Re­gent Square.

“We are a very close-knit fam­ily and she was the ma­tri­arch. We looked to her for wis­dom and guid­ance. My mom was a wo­man of faith. And she al­ways en­cour­aged us to pray and to trust God,” her daugh­ter said.

She was known by the nick­name “Bun,” though Ms. Howard was un­cer­tain of its ori­gins.

“I even called her Bun,” she said.

She was ac­tive in her her church, Hol­l­i­day Memo­rial AME Zion Church, in Brad­dock, and held many lead­er­ship po­si­tions.

“We grew up in a fam­ily that be­lieved in church, and that was our way of life,” her daugh­ter said.

“She was like the pil­lar of Hol­l­i­day,” said niece Bar­bara Rawls, of North Brad­dock, adding that over the years Ms. Pitts was church trea­surer, served on var­i­ous church boards, taught Sun­day school, and had been Sun­day school su­per­in­ten­dent. She also vol­un­teered with the Sal­va­tion Army, was in­volved with the NAACP and was ac­tive in her se­nior­hous­ing com­mu­nity.

“My aunt was the type of wo­man who cared about peo­ple,” Ms. Rawls said.

Ms. Pitts grad­u­ated from Brad­dock Se­nior High School and went to work at the for­mer Columbia Hospi­tal in Wilkins­burg, where she was as­sis­tant di­rec­tor of the physi­cians’ din­ing room, ac­cord­ing to her daugh­ter. She re­tired in 1991.

Her daugh­ter said Ms. Pitts was a sharp dresser who en­joyed shop­ping and “en­joyed mak­ingth­ings look nice.”

“She was my cham­pion, she al­ways en­cour­aged me,” Ms. Howard said.

She mar­ried Thomas J. Pitts; they later di­vorced.

“She was a quiet force, very gen­tle, al­ways a smile on her face. She al­ways saw the best in peo­ple, she en­cour­aged peo­ple to be their best,” her daugh­ter said.

“She will be missed by the church def­i­nitely; she will def­i­nitely be missed by the com­mu­nity,” Ms. Rawls said.

In ad­di­tion to her daugh­ter, she is sur­vived by one grand­child, two great-grand­chil­dren, and many nieces and neph­ews.

Vis­i­ta­tion is from 2 to 8 p.m. Fri­day at Hol­l­i­day Memo­rial AME Zion Church, 600 Talbot Ave., where the funeral will be held at 11 a.m. Satur­day. In­ter­ment will be pri­vate. Ar­range­ments are be­ing han­dled by Watts Memo­rial Chapel, 808 Talbot Ave., Brad­dock.

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