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Former city councilman’s military bearing served him well |

Former city councilman’s military bearing served him well

Tony LaRussa
| Thursday, March 20, 2008 12:00 a.m

Richard E. Givens served on Pittsburgh City Council at a time when many of its members were known more for their bickering than their accomplishments.

But the former Air Force major always managed to rise above the fray and conduct himself with dignity, said former Mayor Sophie Masloff, who served on council with Mr. Givens.

“He and I never got involved in all that fighting in public that took place back then,” Masloff said. “Dick had a great deal of honesty and integrity, which I attribute to his career in the military. I have nothing but profound respect for him.”

Mr. Givens of Lawrenceville died on Monday, March 17, 2008. He was 77.

Mr. Givens attended Central Catholic High School and earned a football scholarship to California State University, Fresno.

After graduation, he entered the Air Force, where he spent 25 years. He served several tours in Vietnam as an air commando with the 1st Special Operations Wing.

Mr. Givens was elected to City Council in 1975. After losing a bid for a fourth term, he spent time traveling with his first wife, Ethel Coleman Givens. The couple had eight children.

After his wife’s death, Mr. Givens wed June Coyne, a childhood friend who was a widow with eight children.

“He was a really great guy, and a wonderful role model for my children,” Coyne-Givens said. “My lifelong dream was to visit Ireland, so that’s where he took me on our honeymoon after we got married in 1999.”

In addition to his wife, Mr. Givens is survived by four sons, George of Mechanicsville, Va.; John of Golden, Colo.; Edward of Greenwood Village, Colo., and Richard Jr., of Alpharetta, Ga.; four daughters, Sharlene Murray of Beaufort, S.C.; Marlea Gallagher of McKees Rocks; Julia Littlefield of Bloomfield, and Maura Booher of Mars; two brothers, George “Bud” Givens of Bloomfield and Charles Givens of Warwick, R.I.; 22 grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.

Friends will be received from 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at McCabe Brothers Funeral Home, 5300 Penn Ave., Bloomfield.

Services will begin at the funeral home at 9 a.m. Monday, followed by a Mass of Christian burial at 10 a.m. at St. Matthew Parish, St. Kieran Church, in Lawrenceville.

Tony LaRussa is a Tribune-Review staff reporter. You can contact Tony at 724-772-6368, or via Twitter .

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