Cope Left Mark on Autism Treatment
Wereschagin, Mike, Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
Behind the exclamatory radio persona, more deeply seated even than the graceful sportswriter, lived the quiet philanthropist who, in the name of building a better life for his son, forever changed autism treatment in Pittsburgh.
Myron Cope and his late wife, Mildred, helped found the Autism Society of Pittsburgh and organized dozens of charity events to benefit the Allegheny Valley School, where their son, Daniel, lives. Cope, 79, died Wednesday morning at a Mt. Lebanon nursing home.
One of Cope's best-known charitable acts occurred in 1996, when he donated to the school the copyright to his Terrible Towel. In more than 11 years, towel sales have generated about $2.2 million for the school, which serves developmentally disabled people, said CEO Regis Champ.
"He really knew what he was doing. He wanted to leave a legacy for his son and his son's friends," Champ said.
Unknown to nearly everyone is that whenever an organization or company paid Cope to give a speech, he would ask them to make the check payable to Allegheny Valley School, or he'd sign it over after returning to Pittsburgh, Champ said. That amounted to millions of dollars, he said.
"This was his income. ... He never needed any notoriety, never wanted any attention brought to all this," Champ said. It was about his son. "Danny is the center of Myron's universe. He was completely dedicated to Danny, to his care, to his progress."
That dedication led him to help found the autism society along with Dan Torisky and others. …