Sylvia Virginia Antion Hollinshead, age 84, passed away peacefully in Bethel Park, Pennsylvania on November 18, 2019 in the presence of her family and surrounded by music and love. She was born in Bridgeville, Pennsylvania on January 5, 1935 and was valedictorian of her class at Bridgeville High School. Sylvia received a Bachelor of Sciences in Education with Honors from the University of Pittsburgh and was a teacher at Bridgeville Elementary School.
On June 29, 1957, she married Earl Darnell Hollinshead, Jr., twice on the same day. The first service was in the morning at St George Syrian Orthodox Church in Bridgeville, followed by a Quaker meeting for marriage at the University of Pittsburgh Heinz Chapel. Music was central to their 55-year marriage. They met while singing in the Pittsburgh Downtown Chorale, a predecessor of the Mendelssohn Choir, and proceeded to sing together with the Pittsburgh Savoyards and multiple church choirs, including the First Presbyterian Church in Port Charlotte, Florida, where they spent each winter during retirement.
Sylvia was an avid vocal performer. She began her career as a Mezzo-Soprano with the Pittsburgh Opera Chorus in the early days at Carnegie Music Hall and Syria Mosque. She performed in the Pennsylvania Opera Festival, Chatham workshop, and Tuesday Musical Club. She continued Pittsburgh Opera performances until the age of 75 in 2010. Her many memorable performances included title role of Carmen, Madame Flora in The Medium, and Madame Larina in Eugene Onegin. She was especially honored to perform in the Washington, DC premiere of Missa 'O Pulchritudo in a program where she was also featured in The Death of the Bishop of Brindisi at the Washington National Cathedral with composer Gian Carlo Menotti in attendance.
Sylvia was the Alto soloist at Edgewood Presbyterian Church for 25 years, and a member of the Chancel Choir at Westminster Presbyterian Church. She directed and sang with the Bethel Jr. Women’s Club Chorus from 1961-1971, whose program proceeds were used to finance a sheltered workshop for adults with Down Syndrome.
Sylvia’s love of music and singing was rivaled only by her love for her husband, children, and friends. She was an avid golfer and boater who could often be found on the golf course or paddle tennis court at Valley Brook Country Club, on Cheat Lake, or at joyful singalongs surrounded by family and friends.
She is survived by her brother Clifford Antion; daughters Barbara Hollinshead (Michael Sieverts), Kim Burke (Michael), and Susan Hollinshead; son Earl Hollinshead III (Christia); grandchildren, Marshall Burke, Emerson Sieverts, Emily Burke, and Ned Sieverts, and many other wonderful relatives and friends. Sylvia was preceded in death by her husband Earl, her parents Lame and Frances Antion, her sister LaVerne Oelschlager, and her brothers William and Robert Antion.
Her family would like to extend their deepest respect and appreciation for the compassionate and generous care of Dr. Karl Bushman, Dr. Justin Petrola, Prime Time Adult Care, and her many home health aides whose tireless efforts gave Sylvia the highest possible quality and quantity of life in recent years.
Relatives and friends are invited to a celebration of Sylvia’s life on Wednesday, November 27, 2019 at Westminster Presbyterian Church, 2040 Washington Rd, Pittsburgh, PA 15241, including a short musical service at 1:00 p.m., immediately followed by a reception. Her burial will be at the Medford Friends Meeting, Medford, NJ at a later date.
In lieu of flowers memorial contributions are welcome to support Prime Time Adult Care, a care ministry that promotes the physical and emotional wellbeing of our elderly neighbors with Alzheimer’s disease (Prime Time, Christ United Methodist Church, 44 Highland Rd, Bethel Park, PA 15102) or by supporting the Pittsburgh Opera (2425 Liberty Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15222).
To send flowers to Sylvia's family, please visit our floral section.