Remembering Anita Conte Eblé, who was smart and strong and encouraged others to be their best selves

Anita Conte Eblé, 89, of Berkeley passed away in her beloved home on Thursday, Oct. 17, 2019 following an extended illness.

Anita was born Aug. 24, 1930 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to Vincenzo and Teresa (Romano) Conte. 

Anita graduated at the top of her class from the Divine Providence Academy and with highest honors from Duquesne University, both in Pittsburgh. She worked at the Mellon Institute of Research at the University of Pittsburgh, and then at United Airlines where she met the love of her life, Henri Eblé.

Anita and Henri were married in Pittsburgh in 1965, and drove their Corvair cross country to their new home in Berkeley, California. They were “a match made in heaven,” and shared 30 years together, enjoying each other’s love, intellect and sense of humor, and ballroom dancing their way around the world.

Anita worked at the University of California at Berkeley for 30 years before taking early retirement to enjoy her final years with Henri who suffered from a terminal illness.   Throughout her professional career at the university, Anita held administrative positions in the Schools of History and Law, later rising to Assistant Vice President, Office of the President. At Cal, Anita built a “cracker jack staff,” was an effective leader, collaborator and change agent, and earned an MBA from the Haas School of Business in 1977. 

During Anita’s life, she passionately pursued her interests, and actively contributed to her community. She was a talented vocalist, singing and acting with performance groups at Mellon Institute in Pittsburgh and the Faculty Club at Cal. She enjoyed and was a patron of theatre, ballet, symphony, and opera, and studied French for two decades with Alliance Française de Berkeley and Les Amis de la Culture Française. She served in multiple leadership roles within Saint Augustine Catholic Church, and also served on the Personnel Board of City Council District 8. 

Anita was a unique and special woman. She was very smart and strong, and encouraged herself and others to strive for excellence and be their best selves. At the same time, she was very loving, accepting, kind, and witty. She was a caring and fun sister and friend. She was also a devoted aunt to her nieces and nephews in the east whom she referred to as “her kids.” Throughout her life in California, Anita was generous and dedicated to them despite the geographic distance. She asked questions about their lives and patiently listened, hosted them during yearly visits, attended their graduations and weddings, and sent them birthday and Christmas gifts until the day she died. Her nieces and nephews were fortunate to receive and return her love throughout their lives, and fondly remember her as a second mom, role model, mentor, advocate, confidant, coach and friend.

Anita is survived by her sister, Angela C. Scurci of Columbus, Ohio; her brother-in-law, Dr. Edward W. Jew, Jr. of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; and her nieces and nephews, Diane Freiheit (Tom, Natalie, Collin) of Burlington, Vermont; Mark Scurci (Judy, Kathryn) of Columbus, Ohio; Adrienne Lesnett (Mark, Allison, Renée) of Canfield, Ohio; Edward Jew, III (Eddie, Darby) of North Versailles, Pennsylvania; Elaine MacLellan (Bud, Annie) of Hudson, Massachusetts; and several grandnieces. Anita is predeceased by her soulmate husband Henri François Eblé; her sister, Rosemarie C. Jew; and her niece, Anita Caruso (Jay).

A Mass of Christian burial will be held on Monday, Nov. 11, at 10:30 a.m. in Saint Augustine Catholic Church (400 Alcatraz Ave., Berkeley, California). Fathers Augustine Joseph and Mark Wiesner will officiate. A reception will be held afterwards at the church. Interment is private.

Donations in Anita’s memory may be made to the Sisters of Divine Providence at cdpsisters.org or the Alzheimer’s Association.