Mrs. Masloff seemed hopelessly miscast as mayor, says the New York Times in a profile and obit following her death on Sunday, August 17th.

“Her public speaking was unsophisticated; she sometimes wrote words on her hand to jog her memory. She delegated so much authority that aides often had to jump in and answer questions for her at public meetings and news briefings.

But she pledged to continue innovative ventures with the alliance of corporations, universities and civic groups that had reshaped Pittsburgh, and to create more jobs and curtail urban flight. And in a city of 390,000 that still had scores of ethnic working-class neighborhoods and an aging population, her homey Pittsburgh demeanor was a political advantage.

She called herself “an old Jewish grandmother,” and her streetwise Pittsburghese, delivered in a high, nasal rasp, was pitch-perfect: “What? Yunz don’t remember?”

Her malapropisms on visiting rock stars were endearments of a sort. The Who became “the How.” It was “Bruce Bedspring” and “the Dreadful Dead.”

When people called out on the street, they’d say, “Hi, Sophie.” Or, “How ya doin’, Sophie?”

And yet, you never wanted to undermine her, Mayor Peduto told the Times.

Read the full story here.

NEXT staff

The staff at NEXTpittsburgh writes about the people driving change in the region and the innovative and cool things happening here.