Anita Stewart Lopatin Smolover
April 13, 2024

Funeral Information

April 15 2024 - 11:00 am
Beth Shalom Cemetery, 1501 Anderson Road, (Shaler Township) Pittsburgh 15209

ANITA STEWART LOPATIN SMOLOVER: Three surnames that each evoke different phases of her life. She was 98 on March 9th, and died peacefully of natural causes on Saturday, April 13, 2024. Anita Stewart was the eldest of three daughters (Anita, Marilyn Laufe (deceased) and Sondra Reiff, Carbondale, CO. Daughter of the late Charles "Benny" and Esther Stewart. Anita was born in Beechview then moved to Squirrel Hill where she attended Taylor Allderdice High School, and then graduated with a BFA in Music Education from Carnegie Tech. Aside from her role as camp counselor at Emma Farm, she began her career as band director and music teacher at Braddock Elementary School, then moved on to become a nursery school teacher and Nursery School Director at the Irene Kaufmann Settlement, (corner of Stanton and Negley in the East End), prior to which she married Milton Lopatin (deceased), her college sweetheart. (Up until her death there were many of you that had stopped her on Murray Avenue to say "Mrs. Lopatin, Mrs. Lopatin, you taught me in nursery school"). Anita's tenure as nursey school teacher evolved into Program Director for the facility and advanced further as the IKC was absorbed by the Pittsburgh JCC. She moved on to the Squirrel Hill JCC location and advanced her position to City Wide Director of Early Childhood Programming. She also oversaw the James and Rachel Levinson Day Camp and Swim Club in Monroeville. As her administrative skills grew, in 1972 she was tapped to become Assistant Executive Director of the Pittsburgh JCC and moved to the YM&WHA building in Oakland, a position that few women in this country had achieved. Anita was responsible for total day-to-day operations for five JCC facilities. She served the Pittsburgh Jewish community for 43 years then retired when there was nowhere else to go as she was passed over for Executive Director for being a woman, and for not having a degree in social work. Though she certainly did know her job. Retirement was really not in Anita's vocabulary. I caught her selling Hawaiian plants at the Pittsburgh Flower & Garden Show the following Spring. Not long afterwards she was approached by Marilyn May of the May Company (owner of Kaufmanns Department Store) to establish a Pittsburgh chapter of OASIS (Older Adult Services and Information Systems), in Kaufmann's downtown location. Anita opened the Pittsburgh program with 3 members and proceeded to grow it to an astounding 36,000+ membership, the largest in the country. From the OASIS offices on the tenth floor of Kaufmann's she ran programming and established a computer center for Pittsburgh's older adults to learn computer skills. It was during this time that Milton, suffering from mental illness, took his life. Though devastated, Anita picked herself up and continued to focus on her life at OASIS. In time, Anita realized that she didn't like living alone, and began to date, at age 70. She met and fell in love with Albert "Al" Smolover. They were married in 1997. Anita finally did retire when Al lost his eyesight due to macular degeneration. For 14 years they were an inseparable couple. She became the "eyes" for both of them as they walked hand-in-hand shoulder-to-shoulder to parties, symphonies, synagogue and Osher classes. Al passed suddenly in 2013. Anita remained in her apartment until 2018 when she moved to JAA Weinberg Terrace and had been a cheerful, bright light there since. She is survived by her son William "Billy" Lopatin (Rebecca Litman), six grandchildren (two Lopatins, four Bachs), twelve great grandchildren and numerous members of the Smolover family. Her daughter, Jody Lynn Bach, died unexpectedly of COVID in 2021. During her lifetime Anita received numerous awards and accolades from Mayors, Governors, Congressmen, community organizations, religious institutions and universities. Anita dedicated her life to community service and to the caring of others. Her memory will remain not only a fixture in the Jewish Community of Pittsburgh, but also to the 36,000 plus older adults whose lives she touched in her service to OASIS throughout the community of Greater Pittsburgh. Graveside Services and Interment will be held on Monday, April 15, 2024 at 11 AM at Beth Shalom Cemetery, 1501 Anderson Road, Shaler Township, PA 15209. Contributions may be made to the Jewish Association on Aging, 200 JHF Drive, Pittsburgh, PA 15217. Arrangements entrusted to Ralph Schugar Chapel, Inc. 


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To Anita's family: I had the honor of working with Anita during her time with the OASIS program at Kaufmann's. There was nothing that was impossible for her, as was evidenced by the number of people who signed up to be a part of OASIS. She had a way of drawing out people to share their stories and to keep mentally young by being involved with others, whether it was by serving as an OPAL (older peer advocate learner) working with school children to improve reading & math skills; sharing their skills at teaching others to cook different dishes or their craft skills; or learning new computer skills. She was a role model to everyone - she embraced whatever challenges life gave her and showed there was nothing that we couldn't accomplish when we work together.

By Mary Ann Brown - April 26, 2024

Anita became a dear friend of my late mom, Betty Pearlstein, during her time at Weinberg Terrace. They built a true friendship, and shared a lot of laughs. Anita would save a seat for her friend Betty, every day, in the dining room. The two of them shared many similarities and bonded. The kitchen staff at Weinberg used to joke that "no one dares to sit in the seat that Anita would save for Betty!" Like her friend Betty, Anita was unpretentious, kind, and witty. I'm sure that they have reconnected, once again, and that Betty now saves a seat for her friend Anita.

By Joan Pearlstein Dunn - April 21, 2024

It was my honor to have Anita as a friend. When I was no longer able to serve as her MD, we kept in touch with lunch dates. She gave so much of herself to so many and always radiated so much joy. She and Al came to the medical school once to talk to the students about their lives and their relationship. What incredible perspective - I will always remember the life lessons from that day.

By Dr. Anne Newman - April 18, 2024

a beauiful lady. a family friend. speical! our prayers and hugs to the family! Love Ron & the Fred & Renee Weinstock Family

By Ron Weinstock - April 18, 2024

I never knew this lady but she sounds wonderful and amazing. May her family relish many happy memories.

By Andrew - April 15, 2024

Dear Nilly and Becky Anita was a childhood friend of my dad’s and the friendship continued throughout their lives. The Lopatin family and the Reichbaum’s lives have cross paths for close to a hundred years! Anita was always special to all of us, she kindly touched all of our lives. I hope that wonderful memories and inexhaustible stories keep her alive in your hearts throughout your lives! With sinsere warmth, Lee

By Lee Reichbaum - April 15, 2024

It was a pleasure and honor to care for your Mom. What a beautiful woman and a blessing to all. My deepest sympathy.

By Dr. Pasquale - April 14, 2024

I have fond memories of Anita at the YM & WHA from my days as a teenager there. She was amazing in all of her endeavors! May her memory be a blessing.

By Lynne Swartz Jacobson - April 14, 2024

Baruch Dayan HaEmet. Anita was The Exemplar for a woman whose life was devoted to Jewish and civic communal service and a lovely human being to boot. Her vision and leadership have left a tremendous legacy for the City of Pittsburgh. May Anita's story be told for generations to come. May her beautiful neshama rest in peace.

By Rabbi Cheryl Klein - April 14, 2024

Anita, So glad I visited with you last week. We go back many years....mostly going out to eat. You will be missed. May you Rest in Peace. Elaine Berkowitz

By elaine harriet berkowitz - April 14, 2024

Mrs. Lopatin your smiles and fun taught us to always play nice in the sand box. I will miss you and all the kindness you gave to the Pittsburgh JCC Community. With love and appreciation, Barbara Lebovitz-Nichol Now residing in Asheville, NC

By Barbara Lebovitz-Nichol - April 13, 2024