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Scott social worker expanded nonprofit to 20 counties

Tony Raap
| Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2015, 12:01 a.m.
Barbara A. Conniff of Scott, formerly of Crafton, died Saturday, Oct. 17, 2015, of complications from surgery. She was 68.
Barbara A. Conniff of Scott, formerly of Crafton, died Saturday, Oct. 17, 2015, of complications from surgery. She was 68.

Barb Conniff would often remind her staff of social workers that their job was to serve people.

She was CEO for 25 years of Milestone Centers, a nonprofit that helps the mentally ill and people with developmental disabilities.

“She would say, ‘Put the people first,' ” said Ken Wood, a close friend of Ms. Conniff's and Milestone's chief operating officer.

Barbara A. Conniff of Scott, formerly of Crafton, died Saturday, Oct. 17, 2015, of complications from surgery. She was 68.

Under her leadership, Milestone grew from a small behavioral health agency to an organization that serves 2,300 people in 20 counties.

“She touched so many lives,” said her brother, Dan Conniff of Crafton. “The goal for her was to expand services to more people. However she could find a way to do that, she would.”

Ms. Conniff was born July 5, 1947, in Crafton to Eugene Conniff and Madelon Herrle.

She graduated in 1972 from Carlow University with a bachelor's degree in psychology and earned a master's degree in social work in 1976 from the University of Pittsburgh.

She served on the board of directors for the National Association of Social Workers and was a member of the National Council of Community Behavioral Healthcare and the National Academy of Certified Social Workers.

“She was a very compassionate individual who was always looking out for people who needed help. That's what drew her to social work,” Wood said.

When she wasn't working, she enjoyed spending time with family. She loved to sing karaoke at Milestone's annual holiday party and was a diehard Pirates fan.

“When the Pirates were losing, she was still cheering. When they started winning again, it was like Christmas occurred,” Wood said.

In addition to her mother, Madelon, and brother, Dan, Ms. Conniff is survived by her sister, Madelon Harbaugh of Crafton Heights, and brothers, Jim Conniff of Whitehall and Tom Conniff of Crafton.

Visitation will be from 2 to 4 and 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday at Schepner-McDermott Funeral Home, 165 Noble Ave., Crafton. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 10 a.m. Friday at St. Philip Catholic Church, 50 W. Crafton Ave., Crafton.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that contributions in Barb's memory be sent to Milestone Centers, 600 Ross Ave., Pittsburgh PA 15221.

Tony Raap is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7827 or traap@tribweb.com.

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