Patricia Rooney, the matriarch of the Pittsburgh Steelers, passed away Saturday night at 88.
A team statement said she “passed away peacefully at home.”
A Pittsburgh native, she was the mother of Steelers president Art Rooney II and the widow of late Steelers president Dan Rooney. They were married 65 years until his death in 2017.
“It is a sad day for our family,” Art Rooney II said.
“My mother meant so much to not only all of us in the family, but she gave so much of her time and energy helping those in need in the Pittsburgh community. She will leave a lasting impression on so many people and organizations in our area, especially the Salvation Army and many organizations in the North Side of Pittsburgh, where my parents called home.”
Mrs. Rooney had nine children, three of whom predeceased her. She also is survived by 18 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.
An ESPN film from 2019, “A Lifetime of Sundays,” focused on Mrs. Rooney and three other female owners of NFL teams: Martha Ford of the Detroit Lions, Norma Hunt of the Kansas City Chiefs and Virginia Halas McCaskey of the Chicago Bears.
Another female owner, Gayle Benson of the New Orleans Saints, remembered Mrs. Rooney.
“She was a pillar of strength and grace and proudly represented not only the Steelers but also the millions of female football fans around the world,” Benson said in a team-issued statement. “We share in the sadness and sorrow that the Rooney family is experiencing and hope for grace, mercy, and healing in this most difficult time.”
Commissioner Roger Goodell and his wife, Jane, also paid tribute on Sunday.
“We extend our deepest condolences to Art Rooney and the entire Rooney family with the passing of his mother and our friend Patricia.
“Patricia represented the Rooney family and the Steelers with extraordinary grace, dignity and integrity. Patricia was passionately devoted to her faith, the wonderful family she and Dan raised and adored, the Pittsburgh community and the Steelers’ organization. She was also one of the most passionate football fans you could ever meet. … We will greatly miss her.”
Because of COVID-19, funeral services will be private. A memorial service will be scheduled at a later date.
–Field Level Media