Former U.S. Steel CEO devoted life to Pittsburgh |
Obituary Stories

Former U.S. Steel CEO devoted life to Pittsburgh

Jacob Tierney
David Milton Roderick, 95, died Saturday, Oct. 5, 2019

David M. Roderick’s influence can be seen all over the city he loved.

“He wanted Pittsburgh to be a world-class city,” said his son, David M. Roderick Jr.

Mr. Roderick was the former chairman and CEO of U.S. Steel and a Latrobe resident, splitting time between there and Orlando, Fla.

He was part of the committee that chose the location of the Pirates’ new stadium.

“PNC Park is where it is today because dad decided that’s where he wanted it,” Roderick Jr. said.

He helped raise money to found the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. “He was an intensely loyal guy who loved his city and loved his country, and understood he was part of something bigger,” Roderick Jr. said.

David Milton Roderick, 95, died Saturday, Oct. 5, 2019.

He grew up in Pittsburgh’s North Side.

He joined the Marine Corps at 17, serving as a platoon sergeant in the Pacific until 1945. Before joining U.S. Steel, he worked for Gulf Oil, the Bessemer & Lake Erie Railroad Co. and the Union Railroad Co.

He joined U.S. Steel in 1959 and remained with the company until his retirement in 1989.

His work took him and his family around the world, including a two-year stint in France, where Mr. Roderick oversaw the acquisition of a French company.

“It was wonderful; I still speak French,” Roderick Jr. said.

Mr. Roderick oversaw the company during its merger with Marathon Oil in the 1980s.

He represented the steel industry to several U.S. presidents.

“His bold leadership of U.S. Steel was rife with accomplishments that greatly contributed to the legacy of this corporation as well as the steel industry,” U.S. Steel President and CEO Dave Burritt said in a statement.

Mr. Roderick was involved in a host of industry groups and charitable organizations, both locally and nationally.

He was on the board of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Carnegie Mellon University and the Pittsburgh Pirates Baseball Club.

He was president of the United Way of Allegheny County.

The David M. Roderick Nature Reserve on Lake Erie is named in his honor, and Mr. Roderick worked with Arnold Palmer to found the Winnie Palmer Nature Reserve at Saint Vincent College.

Mr. Roderick and Arnold Palmer were next-door neighbors in Latrobe, and Mr. Roderick loved to golf at every opportunity.

He was an avid Pittsburgh sports fan until the end of his life.

“A week before he died, he was sick; we put him in a wheelchair and wheeled him out so he could see the Steelers-Bengals game,” Roderick Jr. said.

Mr. Roderick was preceded in death by his wife of 49 years, Elizabeth J. “Betty” Roderick.

He is survived by Rebecca C. Fisher, his companion for 23 years; children David M. Roderick Jr. and wife Nancy, of Ligonier, Patricia Roderick Morton and husband Thruston, of Charlotte, and Thomas K. Roderick and wife Susan, of Orlando, Fla.; six grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.

A funeral service will be held at 10 a.m. Thursday in Saint Vincent Archabbey Basillica, Latrobe.

Interment will be private.

Memorial contributions may be made to Saint Vincent College.

Jacob Tierney is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jacob at 724-836-6646, [email protected] or via Twitter .

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