A memorial service will be held Friday, Aug. 1, at 4:30 p.m. at the Thelma Lovette YMCA 2114 Centre Ave., Pittsburgh. In lieu of flowers, the family has requested gifts to the Thelma Lovette YMCA.
Thelma Williams Lovette was the fifth of eleven children born to the late Alice and Henry Williams, in the Pittsburgh Hill District of Pittsburgh, died May 24, in Mesa, Ariz., at the age of 98. She was a longtime civic, political, and civil rights activist.
Lovette graduated from Schenley High School in 1934. In 1966 she was hired by Mercy Hospital as the hospital’s first Black social worker and subsequently earned the Masters of Social Work Degree from the University of Pittsburgh
Lovette served as a past president of the Hill District Community Development Corporation and was appointed to the City Planning Commission for the City of Pittsburgh. Other organizational memberships included the NAACP (Golden Heritage Life Member); Hill District Chapter of the AARP; and the National Association of Negro Business & Professional Women (Pittsburgh Club).
Her political involvement included serving as an elected Committee Woman for over 35 years; her participation in the 1963 March on Washington; membership in the League of Women Voters; and the Federation of Democratic Women. In 1984, she was elected as a delegate to the Democratic National Convention and served as a floor whip for the Pennsylvania delegation.
A woman of faith, Lovette was a member of the Grace Memorial Presbyterian Church where she served as a trustee and taught Sunday school and Vacation Bible School for many years.
Lovette was the first woman to serve on both the board of the Hill District’s Centre YMCA and the board of the YMCA of Greater Pittsburgh. Among her many recognitions was being selected as one 5,500 “community heroes” throughout the United States to participate as a torchbearer in the 1996 Olympic Torch Relay. To honor her lifelong dedication to the community, in April 2012, the 44,000 square foot YMCA on Centre Avenue was named the Thelma Lovette YMCA.
Loved by many, Lovette is survived by her daughter Thelma Lovette (Dr. Gregory) Morris; grandchildren Gregory Morris Jr., Leah Morris and Esther (Rev. Paul) Sheppard; her beloved great-grandchildren Nola Morris and Justin Sheppard; sisters Edith Johnson, Annie Carter and Lois (Earl) Hord; and a host of relatives and friends.
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