Anita DeVivo, 87, a longtime resident of New Castle, Pennsylvania, died on Sept. 29, 2017, due to complications following a several-year battle with cancer.
She was born to Joseph and Helen DeVivo in New Castle's southern neighborhood of Mahoningtown on June 26, 1930.
She attended Mahoning School, George Washington Junior High School and New Castle Senior High School, graduating in 1948. Following graduation she worked in a series of retail jobs in New Castle until taking the U.S. Civil Service test and going to work for the Internal Revenue Service in offices in Pittsburgh and Butler. In 1951 she was recruited into the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency and moved to Washington, D.C., where she remained for several years in clerical and personnel jobs. Always an avid and successful student, she returned to college to earn her bachelor's degree in English at Youngstown University and her master's degree in English and American literature at Brandeis University in Massachusetts.
Anita pursued a career in editing and publishing. Her fascination with publishing began in New Castle, where she developed a love of books while working in the city's libraries and edited the high school newspaper and yearbook. After returning to Washington in 1959, she worked briefly in a congressional office before following her interest in publishing. She advanced through a series of key editorial positions over the next 25 years, producing magazines, journals and books with the National Parks Association, the American Home Economics Association, the Catholic Encyclopedia, the American Personnel and Guidance Association, the American Psychological Association (APA) and the American Occupational Therapy Association.
She served in a leadership and consulting capacity with a wide range of professional organizations, including the Society for Scholarly Publishing, the Council of Biology Editors, the American Economic Association and Rodale Press. While Executive Editor for the APA, she oversaw the first major revision, in 1974, of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association. This revision included a section entitled "Guidelines for Nonsexist Language in APA Journals," which provided writers and editors with alternatives to the gender-biased language then commonly used in publishing. Because the "APA Style" was influential throughout the academic and scientific publishing world, other publications soon adopted her innovations. She consulted as well on the authoritative Chicago Manual of Style and taught advanced editing classes at the George Washington University.
Anita's other lifelong passion was music. Her love of music was rooted in her childhood fascination with the music of her Italian immigrant family and Mahoningtown's neighborhood bands and festivals. She studied piano, percussion, and the oboe, which she played in high school, in the New Castle Symphony and in other amateur orchestras and chamber ensembles. She also sang in choirs, including the choir of the U.S. National Cathedral when it performed at the funeral of President John F. Kennedy.
In 1987 she returned to New Castle to care for her parents, remaining professionally active as a freelance editor. She was devoted to the history, music and cultural heritage of her hometown and region, and was an active member of the Lawrence County Historical Society and the Historical Society of Western Pennsylvania. She had a particular interest in historic photographs, and edited and published three collections of historic postcards and images: "New Castle and Mahoningtown" (2006), "Lawrence County" (2007) and "Cascade Park" (2010). In a 2004 interview, she commented, "I think it's a question of foundations. What is the foundation of a community? ... Membership in a society is one of the top needs that must be met. As we understand our heritage and participate in it, and perpetuate it, we maintain that membership and strengthen our own psychological foundations. ... It's the strength that you get the social and psychological and emotional strength that comes from that heritage."
She was preceded in death by her parents; her sister, Evelyn DeVivo Meine; her brother, Joseph DeVivo II; and nephew, Lee Meine. She is survived by her sister, Janice (David Shoup) Aubrey of Brooklyn, N.Y.; sister-in-law, Judy DeVivo of Wilmette, Ill.; nephews, Kenneth, Glenn and Curt Meine, and Joseph DeVivo III; nieces, Roxanne Aubrey, Alexis Aubrey Sudilovsky, Katherine DeVivo Green and Rebecca DeVivo; and 10 grand-nieces and great-nephews. She is also survived by her longtime dear companion, Adam Pivovar; many other extended family and close friends; and her beloved pet cat, Iggy.
Anita's family hastens to add that she did not have a chance to copyedit this obituary. We trust that it meets her high standards!
There will be a visitation 4 to 7 p.m. Monday at Ed and Don DeCarbo Funeral Home and Crematory, 941 S. Mill St. A funeral service will be held Tuesday at 11 a.m. at the funeral home, officiated by Father Frank Almade, pastor of St. Vitus Church.
Interment will take place in St. Lucy Cemetery.
Memorials may be made to the Lawrence County Humane Society, 628 Pearson Mill Road, New Castle, Pa. 16101, the New Castle Public Library, 207 E. North St., New Castle, Pa. 16101, and the Lawrence County Historical Society, Box 1745, New Castle, Pa. 16103.
Online condolences may be offered to the family at www.decarbofuneralhome.com.
Published on October 1, 2017