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Profiles

Jim Roddey, Business Executive and Community Leader

I was born in Asheville, North Carolina, in 1933, when the city was still pretty small, and lived with my parents in a little house at the foot of a mountain. My father was the comptroller for the city but, more importantly, he was a passionate ham radio operator, and a lover of electronics—and flying. …

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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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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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To Bail or Not to Bail

The president of the Pennsylvania Bail Bond Association is not straight out of central casting. His wife and young daughters write children’s books, and he’s sipped a lot of tea at imaginary princess parties. Matter of fact, he looks more like an underwear model than a tough guy who meets criminals in the dead of …

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Farnam Jahanian, President of Carnegie Mellon University

I am an immigrant. I left my family’s home in Iran, as so many immigrants have, to pursue an education. My family hails from Tehran, and all of my siblings—five in total, all older—went to college in either Europe or the U.S. But I decided to begin my journey at age 16, and traveled from …

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Compassion, Mindfulness and Resilience

A native of California, Dr. Barry Kerzin is a Buddhist monk and the physician to the Dalai Lama. He sat down with Pittsburgh Quarterly to discuss his recent visit to Pittsburgh. Q. You’re here to work with many of UPMC’s 16,000 nurses for training in compassion, mindfulness and resilience. How do you do this? A. …

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Chin Music

In late August 2018, Pittsburgh Mayor Bill peduto looked at his calendar and was pleased to notice a rarity—a nine-day break without a scheduled public appearance. He celebrated his unusually long vacation in an unusual way. “I didn’t shave during those nine days,” he recalls.“ I made a conscious decision that I wouldn’t go anywhere …

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Consensus Builder

Mark Nordenberg’s cell phone lights up. He smiles to see a call from Herb Douglas, the oldest living African-American Olympic medalist and a University of Pittsburgh alum. Douglas hails from Pittsburgh’s Hazelwood neighborhood, where some community advocates raise questions about how residents will fare amidst the mammoth Hazelwood Green development project currently under construction. “Are …

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John Kasich, Government Leader

I was born and raised in Mckees Rocks, Pennsylvania, not far from Pittsburgh. It was a working-class, blue-collar town, but it was a positive place. I loved it there. As a kid, I played a lot of sports, and learned a great deal from that, about working together and trying hard. I was also blessed …

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Pittsburgh’s Leading Newswoman

It is a hot, unbearably humid day in late August. There are two LED lights, a heavy, Sony XD camera mounted on a tripod and one monitor propped up on the Baughman Trail in Ohiopyle, just beyond the old train station. Mosquitos relentless, sun managing to beat down through a thick canopy of trees, crickets …

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Ageless Wisdom: Abraham Twerski, 87

Try and find happiness in everything. And that’s not easy. There are a lot of things that cause you misery. Right now I’m disabled in a wheelchair. I’m dependent on other people for so many things. I don’t like being dependent on people. But I still try and find some happiness in that. I once …

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Ageless Wisdom: Thaddeus Mosley, 92

Thaddeus Mosley, 92, talks about his work as a sculptor and living a life of contentment. The secret to longevity? Good luck and good genes. I’m lucky that I’ve had good health for most of my life… The biggest thrill, or the most excitement comes from when you conceive of an idea and you work …

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Ageless Wisdom: Cyril Wecht, 87

In part five of this video series, Cyril Wecht, age 87, shares his path to forensic pathology and discusses what is important in life. The secret to longevity? It’s probably genetics, over which I have no control. My father and mother, who were immigrants, lived beyond their life expectancy, despite the very hard work they …

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Ageless Wisdom: Patricia Wilde, 90

In part four of this video series, Patricia Wilde, age 90, talks about how she entered the world of ballet and her experiences with the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre. I was born in the countryside outside of Ottawa, Canada and there were five of us in the family. The first part of the family were all …

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Ageless Wisdom: Carol Brown, 85

In part three of this video series, Carol Brown, age 85, shares thoughts on choosing a profession, living a satisfying life and building the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust. The advice that I give my four grandchildren is spend your life on a profession that you really love, something that you genuinely enjoy. And if it’s something …

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John Robinson Block, Newsman

My twin brother, Allan Block, and I are the third generation in a family business that’s more than 100 years old. My grandfather, Paul Block, was an immigrant from East Prussia, and grew up, through his teens, in Elmira, New York. From age 10, he worked for a newspaper and learned how to sell advertising. …

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Ageless Wisdom: Betty Lane, 80

In part two of this video series, Betty Lane, age 80, shares her thoughts on life and work from her experiences with the Hill House and community. I am excited about being 80 years old. It allows me to do all the things that maybe I couldn’t do when I was younger. I can take …

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Ageless Wisdom: Jim Roddey, 85

In part one of this video series, Jim Roddey, age 85, discusses his contributions to Pittsburgh as a businessman and first Allegheny County Executive. My wife and I came to Pittsburgh to buy a company. We had promised to stay five years, but we’ve ended up being here almost 40. My advice to Pittsburghers is …

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John Fetterman, Public Servant

I was born in Reading, Pa., on Aug. 15, 1969. My parents, Karl and Susan Fetterman, were both only 19 years old at the time, so I was an “unplanned event.” But my mom and dad did get married and, as I matured and came to understand the circumstances surrounding my birth, the knowledge helped …

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A Life Caring for Fallingwater

Lynda S. Waggoner is vice president of the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy and director of Fallingwater. On the occasion of her retirement, we asked her to look back on more than 50 years at Frank Lloyd Wright’s masterpiece. Q. How did you get involved with Fallingwater? A. I was a senior in high school in 1965, …

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Saying Goodbye

As a child, my mother often reminded me that we all enter and leave this world the same way. It’s what we do between those two events that will define our lives. It’s likely that my mother, Edith Beale, wasn’t much different than other mothers raising families in and around towns lining the valleys of …

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Helen Hanna Casey, Real Estate Maven

I grew up in Shadyside, the daughter of Howard W. Hanna Jr., and Anne Freyvogel Hanna, with an older brother and younger sister. Eventually, all three of us went to small Catholic colleges. My brother, Howard W. “Hoddy” Hanna III, to which he has added Howard W. Hanna IV and V, attended John Carroll in …

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