Ex-Political Worker Steve Vujevich's First Love Was Music

Article excerpt

Steve Vujevich went to Croatian Day festivities earlier this month at Kennywood Park and surprised relatives and old friends by singing a few songs in his rich baritone voice with a band in the picnic grove.

"He loved music, he loved swimming, and he loved politics," his fraternal twin brother, Dr. Marion Vujevich, said of the former teacher, police chief and Clairton community leader.

Steve C. Vujevich of Clairton died Friday, Sept. 17, 2010, in St. Clair Hospital in Mt. Lebanon. He was 80.

His love for music started as he was growing up in Clairton.

"When he was in high school, he was called the Perry Como of Clairton High School," his brother said, adding Mr. Vujevich even resembled the crooner.

Mr. Vujevich went to Carnegie Institute of Technology, now Carnegie Mellon University, on a football scholarship but later transferred to Duquesne University because he wanted to study music and voice. At Duquesne, he participated in several operas.

After graduating with a music degree, Mr. Vujevich worked for 12 years at Clairton High School as a music teacher and swim coach.

Active in local politics, he briefly left teaching in 1963 to work for about six months as Clairton police chief. The mayor at the time made the appointment, drawing on Mr. Vujevich's interest in criminology.

Still, his first love was teaching music, and he became a teacher and choir director at the former West Mifflin North High School. He worked with students on musicals including "Oklahoma" and "Annie Get Your Gun."

"I remember he was a good singer with a nice deep voice," Clairton Councilman Terry Julian said.

In local Democratic politics, Mr. Vujevich was a campaign manager for former state Sen. Edward P. Zemprelli, a Clairton native. He worked on campaigns to elect longtime Allegheny County commissioners Tom Foerster and Leonard Staisey. …