DARRYL EUGENE PITTMAN
- July 19, 2021
In Loving Memory of Darryl Eugene Pittman
1948 – 2021
Darryl Eugene Pittman, 72, passed away peacefully at his home in East Cleveland, OH on Saturday, July 10, 2021. Darryl was the first-born child of James Ronald and Eunice (Walker) Pittman; born July 11, 1948, in Pittsburgh, PA.
Darryl graduated with honors in 1966 from Schenley High School in Pittsburgh, PA. While at Schenley he excelled as a scholar and athlete earning a scholarship to Columbia University in New York, NY. At Columbia he played football his freshman year. He was a part of the charter line establishing the Omega Psi Phi chapter at Columbia, the only Black fraternity on campus. During his college years, his commitment to social justice and community service found its roots. He was one of the student activists who occupied Hamilton Hall calling for the formation of, among other things, the Black Studies department.
After completing his BA in 1970, he went on to Columbia Law earning his Juris Doctorate in 1973. While in law school, he was a member of Phi Delta Phi and finished third in his class. After graduation he moved to Cleveland with his first wife, Linda DuBose (m. 1970) and children, Darryl Maceo and Sholah, to began his legal career with the firm Hahn, Loeser, Freedheim, Dean, & Wellman. Later, he was an associate at the firm Tolliver & Nimrod.
On August 9, 1980, he married Deborah (Durham) Pittman, his wife for 40 years until his passing. During their early years together he obtained his pilot’s license and they would take flights to Atlanta, GA, Washington, DC, and even Toronto, Canada. She proudly stood by his side as he campaigned and became elected as the first mayor to lead the city of East Cleveland since 1908. He served two terms in office. He left office in 1990. He had many notable accomplishments during his tenure as Mayor, including drafting a new charter, and securing federal funding from HUD for the first time in the city’s history. He also appointed the first Black lieutenants and chief of police to the East Cleveland police department, as well as, appointing the first Black senior leaders in the fire department.
After serving as the Mayor of East Cleveland, he continued practicing law with his own firm, Pittman, Alexander & Associates, with his longtime friend, James Alexander.
His commitment to social justice and standing up for the little guy was exemplified in his legal career. He did considerable work defending clients facing foreclosure and in prosecuting predatory lenders and mortgage fraud cases. Pittman also handled several cases involving childhood lead poisoning.
Pittman was a die heart Pittsburg Stealers fan and his love of the game and his commitment to service led him to volunteer for the Cleveland Muny Football League, serving as the head coach of the Forest Hill Tigers for over fifteen years. The Tigers won multiple championships and several players he coached went on to play professionally.
Pittman had many hobbies and diverse interests. He immensely enjoyed playing the guitar. He was self-taught and delighted friends, family and the public with his Blues guitar as “Pittsburgh Red.” Gardening, traveling, skiing, golfing, tai chi, cooking, winemaking, and brewing craft beer were among his many hobbies. But of all things, he loved most when his family gathered together around a meal, whether for a special occasion, to play poker, or watch an NFL game. He delighted most in spending time with his wife, children, grandchildren and his, brother, Bootsie.
Those who knew him best would attest to his great sense of humor, brilliance, and flare for storytelling.
He will be sorely missed by his wife, Deborah; children, Darryl Maceo Pittman, Dr. Sholah Pittman, Jordan (Laticia) Pittman, Dr. Cassi Pittman Claytor (Adam Claytor), and Nolan Pittman; grandchildren, Darryl Jamal, Darryn, Darris, James Noah, Jayla, Jadea, Jalia, Jalisa, and Nolan Pittman, Jr. As well as Hunter Sampson and Lula Claytor; Great-grandchildren, Divinity and Dakari Pittman; brother and sisters, Ronald Pittman, Toni Hawkins and Joni Carter (Robert Carter) and first cousin, Marion Shumake (William Shumake).
He was preceded in death by his beloved parents, Eunice (d. 1991) and J. Ronald Pittman (d. 1985).