Family matriarch and leader, Sylvia A. Busis dies at 94
Many female lay leaders in Pittsburgh’s Jewish community considered her to be their mentor and role model as they began their involvement.
BUSIS: Sylvia A. Busis, age 94, Wednesday, May 15, 2019. Wife of 71 years of Sidney (z”l). Mother of Neil, Richard (Judy Beck), James (Maureen Kelly) and William (Leslie Hall). Grandmother of David (Catherine Blauvelt), Anne (z”l), Hillary (Michael Palmieri), Sarah (Matthew Cohen), Deborah (Mathew Levine), Samuel, Ethan, Hannah, Abigail, Adam, Daniel and Molly. Great-grandmother of Arthur, Joshua, Noah and Diana. Sister of Dorothy Grinberg (z”l) and Miriam Hershman.
Sylvia’s eventful life spanned almost a century. Born and raised in Pittsburgh’s East End, she mostly grew up in the Depression and during World War II. She graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a degree in English and then earned a master’s degree in social work. Sylvia and Sidney met while at Pitt and were married in 1947. She worked as a medical social worker at Montefiore Hospital and for one year at the University of Pennsylvania until she started a family in 1951.
While raising four rambunctious boys Sylvia simultaneously pursued a volunteer career as a lay leader in many Jewish communal organizations. Among these, she served as the President of the Hillel Jewish University Center and the chair of the University of Pittsburgh Israel Heritage Room Committee. She was also particularly active in leadership roles at the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh and Rodef Shalom Congregation. She led the tours at Rodef Shalom and also served as a docent at the University of Pittsburgh’s Cathedral of Learning Nationality Classrooms. Over the course of her volunteer career she garnered numerous honors.
For seven decades Sylvia and Sidney were true partners in all of their community work. Together they frequently traveled the world with the Jewish Federation and the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee to visit and assist Jewish communities in need.
Those who worked with her will remember her warmth, generosity and intelligence. Many female lay leaders in Pittsburgh’s Jewish community considered her to be their mentor and role model as they began their involvement.
Above all else, Sylvia was a devoted family matriarch, who deeply loved her husband, four sons and their wives, and then grandchildren and great-grandchildren, as well as her parents, uncles, aunts, sisters, brothers-in-law, sister-in-law, nephews, nieces and cousins. She was the bedrock of her family, always loving, supportive and helpful. All will cherish her memory.
Services were at Rodef Shalom Congregation on Friday, May 17, 2019. Burial was at West View Cemetery.
Contributions to the Pittsburgh Jewish Chronicle, 5915 Beacon St., Pittsburgh, PA 15217 or online at the Pittsburgh Jewish Chronicle. Arrangements entrusted to Ralph Schugar Chapel, Inc., schugar.com.