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Elizabeth Rockwell Raphael
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Birth: 1920
Death: Jan. 15, 1998

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Raphael, founder of Riverview Children's Center
Elizabeth Rockwell Raphael, 77, founder of Riverview Children's Center and The Store for Arts and Crafts and People-Made Things in Verona, died Jan. 15, 1998, at Independence Court in Monroeville from complications following a 14-year battle with cancer. Daughter of the late Col. Willard Rockwell, founder of Rockwell International, and Clara Thayer Rockwell, she was born in 1920, in Osh Kosh, Wis., and moved to Pittsburgh when she was in elementary school. After graduating from Sarah Lawrence, she returned to Pittsburgh and opened the city's first modern art gallery, Outlines, in 1941. Although the gallery was not a financial success and eventually closed in 1947, it did leave a mark on the Pittsburgh art scene. Working with Riverview Community Action Corp. in 1971, Mrs. Raphael opened The Store for Arts and Crafts and People-Made Things in Verona. Locally-made crafts were sold in the front of the store and used clothing in the back. In 1972, she began the Sociable Workshop, a program that employed workers to reproduce artist-designed objects in all the craft media - ceramic, wood, metal, fiber and wood. The new enterprise had successful sales in New York and elsewhere. The Store in Verona advertised "the largest selection of contemporary handicrafts in the United States" and began having regular exhibitions. The Store for Arts and Crafts and People-Made Things in Verona changed to The Society for Art in Crafts, signifying a new identity for the now independent non-profit corporation. The organization changed again to The Society for Contemporary Crafts in 1991 and is now located on Smallman Street in the Strip District of Pittsburgh. Mrs. Raphael's group had a one-week show at a Soho gallery in New York in 1982, serving as the seed that bloomed into the National Craft Gallery Showroom in New York, which opened in 1984. This was her last great project before illness curtailed her activities. The Sociable Workshop closed in 1985 and the showroom in New York closed in 1987. Last year, The Society for Contemporary Crafts inaugurated the Elizabeth R. Raphael Founder's Prize Exhibition, a biennial prize funded by her daughters in honor of their mother. Mrs. Raphael also founded the local summer camp, Oak-A-Club, which was the forerunner of Riverview Children's Center. The children's center, started in Oakmont in 1970 and now in Verona, became Western Pennsylvania's first accredited child care center. She was a member of Riverview Community Action Corp. in Oakmont, a former member of Riverview School Board, a member of The Society for Contemporary Crafts and was active in Girl Scouts. In addition to her daughter Catherine, she is survived by two other daughters, Alexandra O'Brien of England and Margaret Raphael of Armbrust, Pa.; a sister, Eleanor Stuckeman of Fox Chapel; and four grandchildren, Adam and Mark Placzek, Alexander Raphael and Cayce Mell. Besides her parents, she was preceded in death by her husband, Orin Raphael. Friends were received at Burket-Truby Funeral Home in Oakmont. Services and interment were private. Memorial gifts can be made to Riverview Children's Center, 655 Sylvan Way, Verona, Pa. 15147 or The Society for Contemporary Crafts, 2100 Smallman St., Pittsburgh, Pa. 15222.

Family links: 
  Willard Rockwell (1888 - 1978)
  Clara Whitcomb Thayer Rockwell (1889 - 1965)
  Janet Ella Rockwell Bygate (1911 - 1974)*
  Margaret Eleanor Rockwell Stuckeman (1916 - 2001)*
  Elizabeth Rockwell Raphael (1920 - 1998)
*Calculated relationship
Created by: joyce collins
Record added: Jan 08, 2012
Find A Grave Memorial# 83127936


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