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Successful dancer shared skills with community

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By Jerry Vondas
Saturday, Feb. 9, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
 

Pittsburgh would be the last stop in the 1941 itinerary of Winifred Key Taylor, a dancer from Texas who performed with such artists as Gene Kelly, Milton Berle and Van Johnson.

That was the year that her father, a housing consultant visiting Pittsburgh, introduced her to Alfred Tronzo.

“My parents were married a year later,” said their daughter, Graysha Harris.

After the Tronzos were married, he served in the Army during World War II and she became a member of the USO and entertained service personnel throughout the war zones of Europe, North Africa and the Pacific, said Harris, a resident of Tunkhannock, Wyoming County.

Winifred Key Taylor Tronzo of McCandless died on Sunday, Jan. 27, 2013, in her home. She was 93.

“Once my mother established herself as a tap and acrobatic entertainer, she appeared in night clubs throughout the country and on the New York stage in ‘Too Many Girls' with Desi Arnaz,” said her daughter.

“And she performed with other artists, such as Milton Berle, Van Johnson and Gene Kelly before she returned to Pittsburgh,” said Harris.

Born and raised in San Antonio and Houston, Winifred Key Taylor was an only child of businessman Leonard A. Key Taylor and his wife, Graysha Taylor.

“When she began to show interest in dancing and performing, my grandparents began to provide her with dancing lessons,” said her daughter.

She graduated from Thomas Jefferson High School in San Antonio in 1935.

“She did so well in her studies that she was offered a scholarship to Rice University, but opted to go into the entertainment field.”

In 1945, the Tronzos returned to Pittsburgh and established their home in McCandless. Mrs. Tronzo taught tap and ballet at the Carnegie Institute in Oakland and the North Hills YMCA.

Alfred Tronzo eventually served as the executive director of the Housing Authority of Pittsburgh.

Taylor Tronzo described his mother as accomplished, optimistic and compassionate when it came to animal rights and to the preservation of wildlife.

“My mother sang in the choir of the Ingomar Methodist Church and did the choreographing for the North Star Players,” her son added.

She is survived by her children. A memorial service to celebrate Mrs. Tronzo's life will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 23, in the sanctuary of Ingomar Methodist Church, 1501 Ingomar Road in McCandless. Arrangements by H.P. Brandt Funeral Home, Ross.

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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