Linda (Iorio) Bloom, 74, of White Oak, died peacefully holding her daughter Jenny’s hand at UPMC McKeesport on August 8, 2021. She was born in Groveton, PA on May 23, 1947 and is the daughter of the late Laverne Neuhart. Longtime friends knew her as Oatsie, a childhood nickname that stuck.
A 1965 graduate of Montour High School, Linda remained friends with many of her former classmates and remembered her days as a student there as some of the happiest of her life, cheering on the football team as a Spartanette and seeing the Beatles at the Civic Arena in 1964. For the record, she loved Ringo. After a stint at Continental Dance Studio in downtown Pittsburgh, she became the personal assistant to philanthropist and political activist Elsie Hillman, a position she occupied for nearly 40 years (their friendship lasted until Hillman’s death in 2015). Stray cats that showed up on her doorstep knew they’d find a home (a kitten took up residence on Memorial Day weekend), and she was actively involved with the Homeless Cat Management Team, a trap-and-release program local to Pittsburgh. According to her daughter, if the team put out a message that a cat had been burned in a house fire and needed money to pay for its medical care, “my mother would write a check.” Her garden was her “happy place, her sanctuary,” and she spent long hours there tending to her perennial beds and inpatients that grew as tall as the bushes in her front yard. Over the years Linda endured more than her share of tragedies, including the death of her husband after a long illness and the loss of her son Matthew in 2005. To honor his memory, she had a bench bearing his name placed in White Oak Park. Still, she remained upbeat and positive right to the end, shouldering a diagnosis of Scleroderma, a rare disease of the skin and connective tissue, with typical good humor. Her kindness, compassion and infectious laugh will be missed.
In addition to her husband and son she is preceded in death by her brothers, Lance and Jeffrey Iorio.
Should friends desire, memorial contributions may be sent in Linda's memory to the Scleroderma Foundation, 300 Rosewood Drive, Suite 105, Danvers, MA 01923.
Family and friends will gather at Strifflers of White Oak Cremation and Mortuary Services, 1100 Lincoln Way, White Oak, PA 15131 (Sue Striffler Galaski, supervisor, 412-678-6177) Thursday, August 19, 2021 from 6:00 pm until 8:00 pm when services will be conducted.
To share a memory or condolence, please visit www.strifflerfuneralhomes.com
Originally published August 16, 2021.