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How the Mighty Have Fallen

Last October, my husband and I were driving through the eastern Pittsburgh suburb of Forest Hills when our physics buff son Mark blurted out, “Hey, there’s an old atom smasher around here somewhere. Can we go see it?” “Atom smasher?” I asked, with a blank look. “What’s that? A Kennywood coaster?” “It’s a nuclear reactor,” …

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Shelley, Kiesel, Green, Lichtveld, Walker, Moynihan, Adore

The Rev. Austin Crenshaw Shelley will become the senior pastor and head of staff at Shadyside Presbyterian Church on Sept. 27. Currently associate minister at the Presbyterian Church of Chestnut Hill in Philadelphia, Rev. Shelley is nearing completion of her Ph.D. in practical theology homiletics at Princeton Theological Seminary, where she received a master’s of …

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The Changing of the Guard

I have lived in Pittsburgh my entire 60 years, long enough to remember the smoke billowing from the South Side steel mills. I remember when they were shuttered and knocked down and, eventually, when the South Side Works rose from the ashes. Hard work, prosperity, disruption, change, renewal, prosperity: It’s a cycle I’ve seen over …

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Trumka, Strassburger, Deitch, Krupp, Frank, Parham

Richard Trumka, 72: A native of Eighty Four, Pa., Trumka was the president of the AFL-CIO, the largest federation of unions in the United States. He followed in the footsteps of his father and grandfather as a coal miner, working shifts in both college and law school. At the age of 33, he successfully ran …

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Building Health Systems and Addressing Climate Change and Diversity

Q: With 18 years at the CDC and 40 years in public health, you’re particularly well qualified to analyze how the CDC has done during the pandemic. How would you judge its performance overall, and what specific strengths and weakness have been brought to light? A: Rather than critique the CDC, I’ll attempt to approach …

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Franklin, Cosetti, Mann, Robinson, Hillebrand, Eide

Don Franklin, 82: A renowned Baroque musicologist, Franklin was professor of music, emeritus, at the University of Pittsburgh, where he served as chair twice from 1970 until his retirement in 2009. A Willmar, Minn. native, he was the youngest trumpet player to play taps at the Willmar Cemetery and was a gifted pianist who earned …

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Wertz, Wilde, Zappala, Rosenberg, Rangos, Blasier

Ricki Wertz, 86: From 1959 to 1969, Wertz hosted the popular children’s show ”Ricki and Copper” on WTAE. Her co-host was a retriever mix who came from a shelter and was Wertz’s own pet, a wedding gift from her husband. She went on to host “Junior High Quiz” on WTAE for the next 20 years …

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Just Askin’… Gretchen Baker

Q: What’s the most interesting thing about your job? A: Within a single day, I can spend time with dinosaur experts looking at fossils, review plans with talented exhibit designers, watch an energetic educator engage a group of kids in our galleries, meet with community partners, and work on a budget. My job activates almost …

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Christopher Howard: Living Life in the Moment

I come from a family of proud people who didn’t have a lot. My great-great-grandfather started out as an “enslaved human being” in Texas. Later, he and my grandfather were sharecroppers until my grandfather got a job in a factory. It’s kind of a Pittsburgh story: Man becomes “blue collar” because of factory work. My …

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Pennell, Gregovits, Pauls, Johnson, Capogrosso, Hutton, Bonham

Page B. Pennell, M.D. will become the next chair of the Department of Neurology at the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Medicine on July 1. She comes to Pitt from Harvard Medical School, where she is a professor and vice chair for academic affairs in the Department of Neurology. She also directs research in the …

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I Am Everyday People

“When I was in college I had an incredible teacher named Mr. Pfaff. He thought I was really good at photography and he encouraged me. He really went the extra mile to make me feel I was special,” Renee Rosensteel remembers. Turns out he was right. For the last 20 years, Rosensteel has built a …

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Arthur Ziegler: The Power of Community

When I was growing up, my parents used to take me by trolley to East Liberty for a Saturday night treat, dinner at Gammon’s restaurant. In those days, East Liberty was considered our “second downtown” in Pittsburgh, and so I had a vague affiliation with the area. Many years later, I would learn what the …

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Just Askin’… Derek Shelton

Q: What’s the most interesting thing about your job? A: The wide variety of people I interact with on a daily basis. Q: What’s the best advice anybody ever gave you? A: To do your job right the first time. Not half-assed. Q: How do you start the day? A: I drink a lot of …

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Wactlar, Henderson, Figgins, DeFazio, Corry, Toker

Howard Wactlar, 77: During a career of more than 50 years at the National Science Foundation and Carnegie Mellon, where he arrived in 1967 and went on to hold positions in both the School of Computer Science and the Robotics Institute, Wactlar developed an impressive array of technology and software engineering systems. He helped to …

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Flannery, Verrilla, Kudzma, Washowich, Spinabelli, Davis

Tom Flannery, 75: A former Dartmouth football and rugby player who was 6’4” and 230 pounds, Flannery blended an imposing physical presence with a warm, fun-loving personality to become the top headhunter in Pittsburgh. In his role leading the Pittsburgh office of international search firm Boyden, he placed key top executives at countless local corporations …

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A Love Like No Other

All genuine love stories have moments of joy as well as moments of sadness. They may vary in intensity or duration, but they are never absent. Those who think of love as uninterrupted joy are romantics. Those who are obsessed only with sadness deserve their misery. This love story came to me out of coincidence. …

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Baker, Talotta, Franco, Hearn, Reeves, Ramachandran

Gretchen Baker will become the Daniel G. and Carole L. Kamin Director of the Carnegie Museum of Natural History on April 1. Baker is currently the managing director for museum experience at the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art in Los Angeles. She previously served as vice president of exhibitions for the Natural History Museums of …

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Rooney, Clarke, Habegger, Miller, Thornburgh, Gale, Robinson

Patricia Rooney, 88: Married to the late Steelers Chairman Dan Rooney for 65 years and one of four matriarchs of longstanding NFL families, Mrs. Rooney combined her love of family with a commitment to many causes, especially in the North Side neighborhood where she grew up and lived until her death. The mother of nine …

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Andy Masich: Pittsburgh Has a Story to Tell

My father was an engineer and my mother was a trained actress who went to school at Carnegie Tech, now Carnegie Mellon University. (Her first kissing scene was with Carl Betz, a Pittsburgher, who played the husband on “The Donna Reed Show.”) My parents met while doing community and summer-stock theatre. I have a wonderful …

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Barnes, Rogers, Dawson, Houston, Cavalier, Taube, Feeney

J. David Barnes, 91: After graduating from Harvard Law in 1954, Mr. Barnes spent two years in the Army and then joined Mellon Bank. He retired 30 years later as the chairman and chief executive officer. Active on many corporate and philanthropic boards through the years, he was especially fond of the Ellis School, helping …

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Mowod, Twerski, Sommers, Schano, Connelly, Burke

Tony Mowod, 85: The longtime host of the WDUQ jazz program “Nightside” and founder of the Pittsburgh Jazz Society, Mr. Mowod grew up in the Hill District surrounded by jazz. His parents ran a restaurant, and he would go on to own several including the Vogue Terrace Dinner Theatre, which burned down after one production …

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Just Askin’… Susan Jaffe

Q: What’s the most interesting thing about your job? A: The most interesting part of my job is working with the dancers and creating programs to enrich the dancers and the audiences’ experience of dance. Q: What’s the best advice anybody ever gave you? A: The best advice that was given to me was to …

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