Accountant enjoyed sports, horticulture
An accountant who once told his family never to volunteer him for any organization, Howard Shifrin became involved with two noted floral societies and a high school soccer association.
Mr. Shifrin, who pored over figures for such prestigious accounting firms as Arthur Andersen, became president of the Orchid Society of Western Pennsylvania and the North Allegheny Soccer Association following his retirement. He also became an active member of the Bonsai Society of Pittsburgh.
Howard L. Shifrin, a resident of Franklin Park, died from complications of pulmonary hypertension on Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2001, at UPMC Passavant in the Town of McCandless. He was 60.
“After Howard retired, we gave him an orchid for Father’s Day,” recalled his wife, Judith. “We still don’t understand how it happened, but soon after, Howard was planting orchids in our greenhouse and had become a member of the Orchid Society of Western Pennsylvania.”
Mrs. Shifrin also recalled how her husband volunteered to become the chairman of the Orchid Society’s annual show, held every March at the Garden Center in Pittsburgh. “Howard also became interested in bonsai and was planting bonsai in pots around our home and taking classes on bonsai at Phipps Conservatory in Oakland.”
Mr. Shifrin also was a sports fanatic.
“He actively supported our son, Brett, when Brett was playing soccer for North Allegheny, by joining the North Allegheny Soccer Association,” she said. “Today, Brett is the soccer coach at Gould Academy in Maine.”
Born and raised in Brooklyn, Mr. Shifrin was one of three children of the family of Bernard and Freida Morganstern Shifrin. His father was a self-employed furrier.
Judith Shifrin recalled hearing stories of how her husband would play stick ball on the streets of Brooklyn and how on Saturdays, he’d take his younger brother to the movies.
When Mr. Shifrin was 14, his father relocated his furrier business to Cleveland, where his son attended high school. In 1959, Mr. Shifrin graduated from Shaker Heights High School and enrolled at Miami University, Oxford, Ohio, where he earned his undergraduate and graduate degrees in accounting.
In 1965, while teaching at Miami University, Oxford, Mr. Shifrin met Judith Werner, a senior student there.
“My roommate introduced us,” she said. “I was impressed. Howard was not only a professor, but he had a convertible. Very few students had cars in those days. We met in March and were married by Thanksgiving.”
The Shifrins spent almost 12 years in Cincinnati, where Mr. Shifrin was employed by Arthur Andersen and where their three children were born. In 1976, Mr. Shifrin was offered the controller’s position with Funding Systems, a financial organization located in the Industrial Park in O’Hara Township. He retired in 1985 due to health problems and began to volunteer.
Mr. Shifrin’s love of sports made it difficult to get him to the dinner table during football season.
“It was nothing for Howard to watch three football games on a Sunday. He supported the Steelers, but he also rooted for the Cleveland Browns,” Mrs. Shifrin said. “And if the Brooklyn Dodgers were still around, he’d be rooting for them.”
Mr. Shifrin is survived by his wife, Judith A. Werner Shifrin; son, Brett M. Shifrin of Bethel, Maine; daughters, Tracy Connolly of Cranberry Township and Tiffany P. Scheide of West View; and granddaughters, Kelsy, Shannon and Mia.
He was also the brother of Gerald A. Shifrin of Colorado Springs, Colo., and Kenneth S. Shifrin of Austin, Texas.
Visitation is from noon to 1 p.m. today in the H.P. Brandt Funeral Home, 1032 Perry Highway, Ross Township. Burial in United Cemetery, Ross.
Memorials may be made to the American Cancer Society, 320 Bilmar Drive, Pittsburgh, PA 15205 or the Leukemia Society of America, 2 Gateway Center, Pittsburgh, PA 15222.