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Tim Smith, Pastor and Founder of Center of Life

My mother’s name was Emma Liaura Muskelly and my father’s name was Virlie—Virlie Joseph Smith. Mom was from Pittsburgh, one of nine children, and worked in many of the schools that my siblings and I attended, tutoring, doing teacher’s-aide stuff, and lunchroom work. Dad was from Virginia, a little place about 45 minutes from Roanoke …

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They Call Him the Rapper…

Donnie Iris is sitting in what’s supposed to be his dressing room on the second floor of the Rivers Casino. Down the hall from the Grand View Buffet and a line of people waiting behind velvet ropes for the $14.99 crab legs. “This is my cousin Petey… and my other cousin Petey,” he says, pointing …

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Barker, Jarzebowski, Henderson, Mustain, Breese, Interiano

Elizabeth E. Barker is the executive director of The Frick Pittsburgh and the first woman to lead the institution. Her appointment begins in December. She comes to Pittsburgh from Belmont, Mass., where she was the director of the Boston Athenaeum, an independent library, exhibition center and cultural venue founded in 1807. There, she helped increase …

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The Fight

“Tell me to be brave.” Jarrell “The Samurai” Brackett is in the basement of the Grand Hall of the Priory on Pressley Street in the North Side of Pittsburgh. Sparring. Pacing. Praying. He’s sporting a purple mohawk. Fu man chu mustache. A mouth guard is garbling his speech. He’s got lime green Title boxing gloves …

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The Delay

“Oh, they are getting me to Dallas,” the woman says, white earphones plugged into a black Samsung. “I mean, seriously, a windshield wiper motor? Like, they couldn’t have figured out that was broken last night? When the plane landed?” Welcome to Pittsburgh International Airport! As a reminder, ticketed passengers only are allowed past the ticketed …

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Remembering Prominent Pittsburghers Who Passed Away in 2019

We’ve said goodbye to many influential Pittsburghers this year. Remember those who have passed away and their impact on the region—and the world—in this compilation of our Last Chapter department. Carol Massaro, 79: A mother of four, she raised nearly $1 million for Alzheimer’s research after the disease took her late husband, contractor Joseph A. …

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Fisher, Roseman, Ziegler, Stein, Roderick, Hillenbrand, Pessolano, Booth

Dr. Bernard Fisher, 101: Dr. Fisher was a giant in the field of breast cancer, leading large-scale randomized clinical trials that revolutionized understanding and treatment of the illness. His earlier surgical work included performing the first kidney transplant in Pittsburgh and doing pivotal work that cleared the way for future liver transplantation. Believing that data …

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Bad Apples

The people are standing, sitting, heads down, waiting in line, eyes buried in iPhones. Dockers tucked into crisp blue Oxford button downs and rugby ties next to man buns and lip rings, neon yellow fake nails and plaid school uniforms. Black, white, fat, thin, in a rush, using a cane to slowly walk by. Waiting …

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A Passion for Pasta

The handmade, white fettuccini pasta comes in 14 flavors like basil, hot red pepper, black pepper, chive, spinach, sun dried tomato, garlic basil, parsley and squid ink, which everyone always thinks is weird. Because it’s black. Black as ink fettuccini needles. “It’s a learning curve,” says Yvonne Hennigan. “But squid ink is very common in …

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The Meticulous Carpenter

Kevin’s got to get back inside of the house on Marshall Road on Observatory Hill. There’s work he needs to do. But first, he wants to get Donnie some water. “Here, man,” he says, appearing a few minutes later, handing Donnie the water, which has been poured into an empty gallon of Dean’s Dairy Pure …

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Thomas, Luke, Fragman, Huang, Tripathi, Woods, Gregerson

Mark Anthony Thomas is president of the Pittsburgh Regional Alliance, an affiliate of the Allegheny Conference on Community Development. He is responsible for creating, developing and executing the region’s economic development strategy and advancing partnerships to drive job creation and business investment. Thomas came to Pittsburgh from the New York City Economic Development Corporation, where, …

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In the Smokehouse with Herb

There are 400 pounds of bacon smoking in the smoker. Hickory smoked. With actual hickory. “Not liquid smoke,” says Herb Brittner. “See the hickory sawdust? This is the real deal.” The bacon is going to be sliced tomorrow, probably by Herb’s sister, Sally, as well as Randy, who are already slicing and packing 100 more …

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Zuberbuhler, Schwalb, McCormick, Brown, Wolosik, Burnett, Malezi

James Robert Zuberbuhler, MD, 89: Pediatric cardiology hadn’t evolved into a medical field in 1967, when he was appointed director of the new department at UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, a position he held for nearly three decades. Dr. Zuberbuhler was a master diagnostician when doctors had little more than a patient’s medical history and …

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Anne is All About Cookies

Anne is going to bake some pizzelles, but you get the house tour first. “Bedroom, bathroom, living room, kitchen,” she says, passing by framed photos on the walls: pictures of her on her wedding day to George, 59 years ago, and their son, Ray, during every year of school. Anne and George live in Ray’s …

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Randy Gilson, Genius of the Human Spirit

Life began for me on January 27, 1957, in Titusville, Pennsylvania. My dad was from there and my mom came from a dairy farm in Mercer. She was a little country girl who loved to play the accordion, and she’d always go down to the tent revival meetings because she also loved Jesus. That’s where …

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Pasta with the Shimkos

There is spaghetti boiling in a big pot on the stove, Led Zeppelin playing on the radio and two silver bowls filled with thick, doughy, slices of bread on the kitchen counter. “From our Panera fairy,” Kate said, rinsing off a handful of red grapes that she transfers to a silver strainer. “She brings us …

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Dwight Sells Worms

The worm truck just arrived. “You know, bait,” Dwight said. “I just got 500 Canadian night crawlers.” The worm truck came from a wholesaler in Ohio that gets the Canadian night crawlers from a guy up in Canada, who everyone knows is a legit Canadian. “Because he said ‘eh’ a lot,” Dwight said. From 7 …

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Bell, Link, Bachar, Logue, Gould, Dressel, Koverola

Maurice Bell is chief of operations at the Port Authority of Allegheny County. His public and private sector transportation career spans more than 25 years and includes work in fixed route, paratransit operations, airport shuttle management, and shipping and delivery logistics. He came to Pittsburgh from Keolis North America in Dallas, Texas, where he was …

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Clancey Calms the Airport

“Such a beautiful dog!” “Oooh! So cute!” “Look how sweet he is!” It’s Tuesday morning at the Pittsburgh International Airport. There are people dragging suitcases and grabbing lattes and wondering if someone can please point them in the direction of baggage claim because there is a flight to catch and a suitcase to find and …

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Cuckoo for Clocks

The guts of a very cute, very small, and very colorful cuckoo clock with Swiss Miss vibes are splayed out on top of the Whirlpool washing machine next to a container of Gain detergent pods, a bottle of Clear Wood Finish Gloss and a Phillips head screwdriver. “My workbench during the winter,” Chris says, picking …

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Their Patients Are Animals

It’s cold. Damp. Overcast and gray outside. Early on a Tuesday morning and the lions are roaring. “Communicating,” says Kathy, the lead mammal keeper. “That’s how lions communicate.” It’s barely 9:30 a.m. and people are already walking through the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium, despite the clouds and the rain. Moms pushing strollers and dads …

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Nick Has Bikes and Jennie

The sidecar finally arrived from Canada. It was supposed to be here yesterday, then at 9 a.m. this morning. Then, there was something about it being stuck in customs in Cleveland, but the customer service rep up in Quebec promised that wasn’t true, although no one was sure because the French accent was thick. But …

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