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Theresa A. Privitera, librarian, pianist, music teacher

March 21, 1932 – April 30, 2015

Theresa A. Privitera, of Buffalo, a librarian, music lover and arts supporter, died April 30 in ElderWood at Hamburg after a lengthy illness. She was 83.

Born Theresa Ann Pepe in Newark, N.J., the daughter of Italian immigrants, she moved with her family to Buffalo, where her uncle owned a grocery store.

Considered a piano prodigy as a girl, she developed a love of classical music at an early age and performed in her first recital at the age of 6.

After developing rheumatic fever at the age of 10, health problems prevented her from pursuing a career in music, but she played privately for family and friends and for many years gave lessons to schoolchildren.

She attended St. Martin of Tours Elementary School and was a graduate of Mount Mercy Academy. After graduation, she worked at Stark & Coleman food distributors and taught part time in local parochial schools.

After her marriage to Louis Privitera ended in an annulment, she worked as a research librarian and assistant to the director at Roswell Park Cancer Institute.

Later she worked in the Canisius College library, was an interpreter at the Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural Site and was a curator at Art Dialogue gallery. She also helped plan and produce events to raise funds for arts organizations.

In her mid-50s, she earned a dual degree in English and art history from Canisius College.

A devotee of post-modernism in literature and the arts, she frequently attended events in Kleinhans Music Hall, Shea’s Performing Arts Center and the Albright-Knox Art Gallery. A voracious reader, she often would finish an author’s entire output in a week or two.

She supported many local artists, whose works covered her walls. In retirement, she visited museums and galleries in London, Rome and New York City.

Survivors include two daughters, Maria Kardash and Nina Powers; a son, Paul; an adopted daughter, Kerry Langan Geitz; and two granddaughters.

A memorial service will be held this summer.

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