About that student who toured the blast furnace …

Shortly after posting last week’s story about a high school student’s tour of a local blast furnace in 1957, we received a note from John Schalcosky, founder of the popular Facebook page, “The Odd, Mysterious & Fascinating History of Pittsburgh.” We had asked readers to help us locate the student, and John had some news for us.

The student was a Stowe High School freshman named Lucille Keitz, and the post included some stunning pictures of her standing among the massive stoves of the Pittsburgh Coke and Chemical Co.’s facilities on Neville Island.

John had located Lucille’s daughter, Karen Rogers Griffith, who lives in Massachusetts. So we reached out to Karen and sent her a link to the post so she could see the pictures of her mother.

“WOW?” Karen responded via Facebook. “We always knew she was ahead of her times, but I had no idea this ever happened!”

Sadly, Lucille died suddenly and unexpectedly in December 2013, Karen wrote.

Karen then told us a bit about her mother.

“After graduating from Stowe High School, my mom went on to study at Penn State University. She worked various jobs after college, including testing ketchup at H.J. Heinz Co.
She married our father (Paul Rogers) in 1969 and moved to the Boston suburbs. She had three children — a son and two daughters — and was a busy stay-at-home mom through the 70’s and 80’s. After putting all three of us through college, she then went back to work, as an office manager at an alcoholic beverage magazine in Boston.”

Lucille maintained her connections to Pittsburgh, and the family often made summer visits to the city to visit Lucille’s father. “We loved traveling there and spending time exploring the incline and going to Pirates games at Three Rivers Stadium,” Karen wrote. “Although mom moved to ‘Patriots Nation,’ she stayed a Steelers fan at heart! It was always a fun time seeing her tease my dad during football season.”

Karen sent us a picture of her mother. It was shot at Karen’s wedding in June 2013. Lucille, Karen said, “was known for her laugh and her smile and her optimistic view on life. She was smart and curious about learning new things.”

— Steve Mellon

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