In Memoriam Patricia “Pat” Rooney

Pittsburgh Steelers / Karl Roser

January was a sad month for this area; on January 14, we said goodbye to Joanne Rogers, wife of the late Fred Rogers. Then, a few short weeks later, we lost another great lady. On Saturday, January 30, “Steelers Nation” mourned the loss of Patricia Rooney, the wife of the late Dan Rooney. Pat died peacefully at her home at the age of 88. She has often been referred to as the “First Lady” of the Pittsburgh Steelers. Pat and Dan were married for 65 years until his passing in April 2017. They raised nine children, including current Steelers team president Art Rooney II.

Pat was a hometown girl and was born on Pittsburgh’s North Side. She loved the community so much, that is where she spent her life. She graduated from the University of Pittsburgh, and she met Dan when she was working in the Steelers front office. They were married in 1952.

Throughout the years, Pat always supported her husband and the Steelers organization. On March 17, 2009, in a surprise St. Patrick’s Day announcement, President Barack Obama appointed Dan as Ambassador to Ireland. Pat followed her husband to his newly assigned position. Dan remained in the ambassadorship until December 14, 2012. After his resignation, Dan and Pat returned home to Pittsburgh.

Pat and Dan were renowned for their charitable endeavors, including a project to restore the fountain in Allegheny Commons. Pat also helped the Salvation Army. She gave her support to her community, the Steelers organization and the National Football League.

In August 2019, Pat was recognized for her football loyalty. She was highlighted in the NFL film, A Lifetime of Sundays. The documentary was produced by Jane Goodell, wife of NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. The program focused on the lives of the wives of football’s prominent figures. Pat was featured along with Virginia Halas McCaskey of the Chicago Bears, Norma Hunt of the Kansas City Chiefs and Martha Ford of the Detroit Lions.

In addition to their nine children, Pat and Dan had 18 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. We thank Pat for her passion and dedication to the Pittsburgh community. May she rest in peace.