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Profiles

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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Ahmad Jamal, Jazz Master

I’ll bet that I’m the only musician ever to record a CD simply titled “Pittsburgh,” which is a tribute to my beloved hometown. It’s a “miracle city,” really. When it comes to industry, culture and the arts, Pittsburgh has contributed more to the world than most people can begin to imagine. Pittsburgh was once home …

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Looking Good

To flip through Hans Jonas’s album, which is indistinguishable on the outside from a family photo album, is to view Pittsburghers as if they were a family: a beloved aunt Sally Wiggin, a hardworking cousin Willie Stargell, and of course, everybody’s favorite neighbor, Fred Rogers. Behind the camera, behind these photographs, is Jonas himself. His …

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Christina Cassotis, Allegheny County Airport Authority

I grew up in Southern New Hampshire in essentially a suburb of Boston. My mother was a homemaker, as many women were back then, and my father was a commercial airline pilot for Pan American World Airways, having been a U.S. Marine fighter pilot during the Vietnam War. I’m the oldest of four kids: two …

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Rich Fitzgerald, Allegheny County Executive

I was born and raised in the Bloomfield-Garfield section of Pittsburgh, which is now called “Friendship.” I attended St. Lawrence O’Toole Grade School in Garfield, Central Catholic High and then Carnegie Mellon University in nearby Oakland, and have lived and raised my family in Squirrel Hill for the past 33 years. So, geographically speaking, I’ve …

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Jim Withers, M.D., Street Doctor

My father was a country doctor; my mom, a nurse. Their relationship was grounded in the values of service and compassion, and they included their children—me, for sure—in that vision. So I made house calls with my dad and, among other things, got to practice parallel parking while delivering Meals on Wheels with my mother, …

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Tunnels of Love

First, you had to pull the red wicker settee with its circus-striped cushions a few feet away from the wall. Then you put the army surplus table Mother sometimes used for the sewing machine next to that, in front of the closed-in fireplace; and if Father wasn’t using them for the work he brought home …

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Among the Trees

As Meg Cheever said, “The best park in Pittsburgh is the one you are in.” She founded the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy in 1996 at a time when Pittsburgh was a long way from claiming victory in stemming the tide of decline that still clung to the city. With a band of determined supporters, she stepped …

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The Death of a Homeless Man

Last week, I got the news that I knew one day would come. Joe Regoli had died. Back in 1988, I wrote a series about Pittsburgh’s homeless, based on my living on the streets for 14 days and nights, undercover, with long hair and a beard. I was 26, and the Pittsburgh Press series changed …

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Vivien Li, River Keeper

My parents came from educated families in China and Hong Kong and immigrated to the United States. My mother arrived in the early ’50s as an undergraduate while my father, who was 10 years her senior, was studying for a Ph.D. Back then, it was difficult for Asians to come here. The immigration laws were …

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Clint Hurdle, Baseball Impresario

I believe that all people inherently have at least one passion. And if that passion can be turned into a livelihood, life becomes special. I’ve had a passion for the game of baseball since I was 5 years old. And now, at the age of 58, instead of running to my backyard to play the …

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