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Monroeville optometrist pioneered use of contact lenses

| Sunday, Sept. 7, 2008

Dr. Theodore Altman inspired his sons to follow in his footsteps.

Dr. Altman was a respected optometrist and pioneer in contact lenses, who practiced in Monroeville for 50 years. His sons, Dr. Daniel Altman and Dr. Gregory Altman, are orthopedic trauma surgeons at Allegheny General Hospital in the North Side.

"Dad motivated Greg and me by example. Through the years, his patients would tell us what a patient, pleasant and caring doctor he was," said Daniel Altman.

Dr. Theodore L. Altman of Monroeville, died on Friday, Sept. 5, 2008, in his home. He was 76.

Dr. Altman was raised in the Aspinwall area, one of two children in the family of Theodore and Mary Altman.

In 1950, after graduating from Aspinwall High School, where he played football, Theodore Altman attended the University of Pittsburgh for his undergraduate studies.

He then attended the Pennsylvania College of Optometry in Philadelphia to receive his degree.

In 1960, Dr. Altman married Rosemarie Abriola, a resident of Churchill, who in later years would work with her husband in the practice, which he started in 1965.

"My mother helped with the office chores for over 25 years," said Dr. Daniel Altman. "Their love and respect for each other made their partnership a meaningful experience for both of them.

Daniel Altman recalled his father being a pioneer in the use of contact lenses.

"I can still remember when my brother, Greg, and I were just kids. We traveled with my father to Brussels, Belgium, where he gave a lecture on contact lenses to a group of optometrists," he said.

Judy Zedreck, vice president of operations and chief nurse at AGH, recalled the passion that Dr. Theodore Altman had for his profession and for that of his sons.

"I can remember on numerous occasions when I was having dinner with Dr. Altman and his family, or walking down the street with him, how many of his former patients would greet him and tell us what he meant to them," said Zedreck.

"And although I was a colleague of his sons, he made me a part of his family," she added.

When he was away from his office, Dr. Theodore Altman could be found on a nearby golf course.

"Dad was a member of a group called Tony's Turtles Golf League who played regularly on courses throughout the Eastern suburbs," said his son.

In addition to his sons Daniel and Gregory, Dr. Altman is survived by his wife, Rosemarie Abriola Altman; and a sister, Dorothy Smith of Harmar.

Family and friends will be received from 7 to 9 p.m. today and from 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 p.m. Monday at the Gene H. Corl Inc. Funeral Chapel & Cremation Center of Monroeville, 4335 Northern Pike.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 10 a.m. Tuesday at North American Martyrs Church, Monroeville.

Interment will be in Twin Valley Memorial Park, Delmont.

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