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PR man's work, life intertwined with city's history

| Saturday, May 4, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
Robert Wiltman, who worked in advertising and public relations in Pittsburgh for 50 years, died Friday, April 26, 2013.

During a 50-year career in advertising and public relations, Bob Wiltman worked with people such as union pioneer I.W. Abel, Marvin Miller, former executive director of the Major League Baseball Players Association, and Supreme Court Justice Arthur J. Goldberg.

He met Presidents Harry S. Truman, Dwight D. Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson in the White House.

But his family never let him forget that on Dec. 13, 1972, he left the Steelers-Raiders game at Three Rivers Stadium a little early.

“He didn't like crowds or being stuck in traffic,” said his son, James R. Wiltman of Sewickley Heights. “We left after Ken Stabler scored a touchdown ... heard about (the Immaculate Reception) on the radio trying to get home.”

Robert F. Wiltman of Sewickley Heights, president of the Robert Wiltman Co., died Friday, April 26, 2013. He was 97.

Mr. Wiltman grew up in the city's Troy Hill neighborhood and attended Allegheny High School and the University of Pittsburgh. He was president of the Robert Wiltman Co. from the late 1930s until his retirement in the 1980s.

His clients included Oswald and Hess, a meat packing company, Benedum Oil Co., Breakfast Cheer Coffee, Latrobe Brewing Co. and the United Steelworkers of America.

Mr. Wiltman was a true Pittsburgher, holding season tickets for the Steelers and Pirates, his sons said.

“He took me to my first baseball game at Forbes Field ... pointing out Stan Musial and Ralph Kiner,” said his son, William A. Wiltman of Sewickley.

But he didn't like tinkering around the house, said his daughter, Barbara Rupert of Cambridge Springs.

“He was a ‘man's man,' ” she said. “He liked playing poker, going to the track.”

His love of card games connected Mr. Wiltman with Todd Smith of Ben Avon, a friend for the past five years.

“He loved to play gin and poker,” said Smith. “He was an intriguing guy, made you laugh.”

Mr. Wiltman was a member of the Pittsburgh Athletic Association, Shannopin Country Club, The Duquesne Club, Edgeworth Club and Allegheny Club in Three Rivers Stadium. He was an avid reader, especially the works of Mark Twain, Lin Yutang and H.L. Mencken, among others.

“I knew Bob Wiltman well, and he was a great man for the community,” said Steelers Chairman Dan Rooney.

In addition to his sons, James and William, and daughter, Barbara, Mr. Wiltman is survived by four grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by his wife, Dolores Berkopec Wiltman; a daughter, Michelle Hurley; a brother, John Wiltman; and two sisters, Beatrice Howard and Marie Jost.

Services and interment are private.

Craig Smith is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-380-5646 or csmith@tribweb.com.

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