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Volunteer had place in her heart for elderly

| Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2013, 9:40 p.m.
Louise Criss

Faith was a cornerstone of Louise Criss' busy life.

Mrs. Criss had over the years served as deacon and elder of the East Liberty Presbyterian Church.

“My mother was also committed to caring for elderly women,” said her daughter, Sally Allan of the North Hills.

Louise Caldwell Criss, of Longwood at Oakmont, died on Friday, Feb. 1, 2013, in her home. She was 93.

“For years, my mother served on the board of the former Jane Holmes Residence in Wilkinsburg, a home for elderly women and eventually elderly men who had no place to go, but could afford to contribute to their keep,” Allan said.

“She was also an active volunteer. She would clean, operate their small general store and help in the kitchen with the cooking and sit and listen when they needed someone they felt they could talk to.”

Louise Caldwell, born in Youngstown, Ohio, and raised in Edgewood, was one of three daughters of John Russell Caldwell, an executive with General Fireproofing Co. and his wife, Ruth Osborne Caldwell, a noted painter.

After graduating from Pennsylvania College for Women (now Chatham University), she worked as an executive secretary at the local FBI office during World War II. In 1943, she married Nicholas Rittenhouse Criss Jr., an attorney for Pittsburgh Plate Glass Co., and continued her commitment to her church and numerous charitable organizations. In 2006, she became a member of Fox Chapel Presbyterian Church.

As busy as she was with her humanitarian causes, Mrs. Criss enjoyed gardening and was a member and officer of the Rockledge Garden Club for more than 60 years, her daughter said. She was a founding member of POETS social club of Briarcliff Road.

In addition to her daughter, Sally, Mrs. Criss is survived by her sister Marjorie Caldwell Berlin of Naples, Fla.; eight grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.

Mrs. Criss was preceded in death by her husband in 1984; her sister, Barbara Caldwell Blackburn; and her sons, Nicholas Rittenhouse Criss III of San Diego and Russell Caldwell Criss of O'Hara.

Friends and relatives will be received from 2 to 4 and 6 to 8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 8, 2013, in Burket-Truby Funeral Home Cremation and Alternative Services Inc., 421 Allegheny Ave., Oakmont.

A funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 9, 2013, in the Old Chapel of Homewood Cemetery, 1599 S. Dallas Ave., Squirrel Hill.

Jerry Vondas is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7823 or jvondas@tribweb.com.

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