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Baby Byron Turns 18

In the 1990s, the “Baby Byron” case exposed the nation to Allegheny County’s child welfare system—and one family’s ultimately unsuccessful battle to complete a cross-racial adoption. “Baby Byron” turned 18 in July. And his story is far from over. It’s 90 degrees as we sit in front of the main Carnegie Library branch in Oakland …

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Chip Ganassi, Auto Racing Entrepreneur

Growing up in the 1960s and ’70s, Pittsburgh was the center of the universe. All the biggest companies were here: U.S. Steel, Gulf Oil, Alcoa, PPG, Westinghouse; you name it. And on top of that, we had the Pirates and the Steelers. The city was firing on all cylinders, and I pictured myself running one …

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Tillotson, Scully, Winner, Soergel, Detre, Brown, Lucas

Willard J. Tillotson Jr., 82 Industry pioneer Bill Tillotson founded and led one of Pennsylvania’s oldest and largest wealth-management firms, Hefren-Tillotson. Born with a competitive and friendly nature in the village of Tillotson, near Erie, he served in the U.S. Army for two years before entering Allegheny College, where he was a successful athlete and …

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A City-Centric Provost

To hear Patricia Beeson describe it, driving into Pittsburgh through the Fort Pitt tunnel is like stumbling upon some kind of hidden Brigadoon. When she arrived in the city in 1983 after driving across the country from her native Oregon, Beeson had Simon and Garfunkel’s on-the-road anthem “America”—complete with reference to Pittsburgh—cued up for that first view …

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Riazzi, Khan, Sokol, Friedlander, Sega, Liang, Washburn

Richard Riazzi is president and CEO of Duquesne Light Co. and its affiliates. He returns to Pittsburgh from Wenatchee, Wash., where he has been the CEO and general manager of the Chelan County public utility district since 2006. Previously, he led the energy-generation, marketing and trading operations for Idaho Power, an investor-owned electric utility based …

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Bayer CEO: Greg Babe

Other football players were bigger and faster. That didn’t hold back Greg Babe. During summer days, he would run up and down the steps inside Magnolia High School in New Martinsville, W. Va. while his friends hung out at the pool. Those sweat-soaked workouts paid off: Babe rushed for 2,200 yards in 1975, a school …

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Dick Thornburgh, Lawyer and Politician

I’ve had three distinct phases of my career—from public prosecutor to elected official to Washington lawyer—and, strangely, they all came about serendipitously. I grew up in Pittsburgh and went to Yale as an engineering student, even though I was not really suited for it. A number of my family members were engineers, so I explored …

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Lavelle, Chaplin, Hembree, Craig, Schott, Byrd, Ludwig

Robert R. Lavelle, 94 Lavelle founded the Hill District’s Dwelling House Savings & Loan, which helped thousands of people get loans and own their own homes. A devout Christian, the dignified rock of the Hill District viewed his financial work as his mission, advising and helping customers when they were late on payments. In 1957, …

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Burfitt, Cassell, Guess, Barrett, Tucke, Mansourian, Morrison, Nace

Gregory Burfitt is president and CEO of Allegheny General Hospital and The Western Pennsylvania Hospital. Burfitt grew up in Warren, Ohio and comes to Pittsburgh from Denver, where he was president and CEO of Centura Health, Colorado’s largest integrated healthcare delivery system.Prior to Centura, he was chief operating officer for Inova Health System in Falls …

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Sarris, Stever, Height, Poupko, Bold, Stewart, Rust

Frank Sarris, 78 Sarris was a self-made man whose generosity helped a spectrum of his fellow citizens—from community organizations in his hometown of Canonsburg to the University of Pittsburgh, where he donated $5 million to the liver transplant program. He and his wife Athena were a team, and in the 1950s they began experimenting with …

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Thaddeus Mosley, Sculptor

Art is about personal expression. Anyone who discovers and practices this has something to live for other than what they have to do to make a living. People who write poetry don’t make a lot of money, but seeing their words on the page provides more satisfaction than any job could offer. It’s the same …

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Zanos, Hagan, Fazio, Shogan, Musick, Cianca, Honsberger

Yvonne Zanos, 60 A former Miss Pennsylvania runner-up, she was a tall, striking woman who became beloved in Pittsburgh as KDKA-TV’s reliable and savvy consumer reporter. Known for her warm and winning personality, she was also a tough advocate for consumers. Zanos believed in and was dedicated to television’s public service role, which included her …

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A Friend in Need

Eleanor Ott grew up in a family that encouraged her to pursue her passion in life. What that passion was didn’t become clear until after she left her Lawrence, Kan. home as a high school valedictorian with a college scholarship. She discovered it among refugee families from Iraq, Burundi, Somalia and other desperate lands whose …

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Meyer, Czarnecki, Neverett, Bolding, Moorman, Mathews, Donnelly

Jochen Meyer is president of Flabeg Solar US Corporation, which provides a full product line of high-performance mirrors for concentrating solar power. A native of Germany, he received his master’s in mechanical engineering from the Technical University of Munich.He continued his education in business studies at the Fernuniversitaet Hagen while working as an industrial engineer …

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Word Brains

No two games of Scrabble are ever the same. But when the Pittsburgh Scrabble Club convenes on Wednesday nights, there’s a scene that replays itself over and over again. “Someone will show up for the first time and say ‘I’m here because nobody in my family wants to play me. They’re all tired of me …

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Ron Freeman: Bringing Light to a Dark Science

Somewhere between Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo, sometime between assertions that America does not torture and insistence that the end justified the means, I remembered what a Pittsburgh police officer once told me about the head of the city’s Major Crimes Division: “Everybody confesses to Ron Freeman.” I first met Freeman almost a decade ago. The …

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Connolly, Maazel, Gordon, Marnatti, Zona, Staley, Hare

J. Wray Connolly, 75 Connolly played a pivotal role in the transition that brought Chancellor Mark Nordenberg to the helm of the University of Pittsburgh. Connolly spent his career at the H.J. Heinz Co., where, among other things, he was credited for the pioneering transition of putting Heinz Ketchup in a plastic bottle. It was …

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Kurtz, Irwin, Cangiano, Duncan, Casey, Hudson, Bonte

Dr. Sanford Kurtz is executive vice president, chief medical officer and president of the Physician Organization at West Penn Allegheny Health System. He comes to Pittsburgh from the Lahey Clinic in Burlington, Mass., where he was chief operating officer and executive vice president. At WPAHS, Dr. Kurtz will be responsible for designing, building and leading …

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Robert Qualters, Artist

What’s it like to be 75? Well, I’ll tell you. I’ve had two knee replacements. I’ve had back surgery. I keep falling down and breaking things: my fingers, my skull. But overall I feel pretty good, actually. I still like to work. I just keep on going. I find some way to continue. My most …

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Westinghouse CEO: Aris Candris

Aris Candris is not what you might expect. He skis black diamonds and enjoys snorkeling, scuba and free diving. On any given Sunday, he’ll jump on his bike and ride the hills of western Pennsylvania with no particular plan in mind. A perfect evening must include a great cigar. He and his wife value the …

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Thelma Williams Lovette, Social Worker and Community Leader

I was born in Pittsburgh on Feb. 28, 1916, the fifth of 11 children. My family and I lived at 1520 Wylie Ave. in the Hill District. And we all looked out for each other. In 1925, when I was just a girl, Mama and Papa took us to the opening of the Centre Avenue …

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Zelevansky, Frantz, Boyd, Tuan, Johnson, Fleurov, Harris, Jesse

Lynn Zelevansky is director of the Carnegie Museum of Art. She was most recently curator and department head of contemporary art at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Prior to her work in Los Angeles, she spent seven years in the department of painting and sculpture at New York’s Museum of Modern Art. A …

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