George E. Petrisek, 75, of Genesee, formerly of Port Allegany, Pa., died unexpectedly at home on Aug. 5, 2011.
Born March 13, 1936, in Bentleyville, he was the son of George E. and Estella Lanik Petrisek. He attended Bentleyville public schools and graduated from Bentleyville High School. He served honorably with the U.S. Army in the 1950s. In 1958, George graduated with a degree in secondary education from California State Teachers College in California, Pa., and he attended graduate school at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. He began teaching in the English Department at Port Allegany Jr./Sr. High School in 1962. In addition to teaching English, he taught classes in journalism, was an active advisor for many student organizations, and was the longtime drama club coordinator. He retired from teaching in 1995.
George volunteered for the Star Hose Fire Company in Port Allegany, served as a Port Allegany police officer for many years, and was a longtime reporter and photographer for both the Bradford Era and the Port Allegany Reporter-Argus. As a journalist he covered local events and wrote much-anticipated weekly columns for both papers. He also wrote freelance articles for the Potter Leader-Enterprise and the Kane Republican.
On May 2, 2004, George married Wanda R. Shirk, who survives. He is also survived by his children, Chris (Jennifer) Petrisek of Murrysville, Mary (Randy) Cooper of O'Fallon, Mo., Susan (Michael) Lee of State College, their mother Patricia Petrisek of Port Allegany, and a sister, Terri (Bill) Narby of Hammondsport, N.Y. "Poppa" will also be greatly missed by his eight grandchildren, in whom he found much joy.
In addition to his parents, he was predeceased by a brother, Robert Petrisek. George spent much of his life as a prominent and well-known member of the Port Allegany community. Those who knew him, either directly or through his newspaper column, will remember his quick and acerbic wit, his somewhat irreverent take on the human condition, and his embrace of the philosophy that with age comes the right to allow one’s inner curmudgeon rise to the surface. With quotes such as “you win some, you lose more” and “I’d prefer a one cubic foot brownie,” George reminded us not to take ourselves or the world around us more seriously than we should and that a little perspective can go a long way in life. Whether he was writing about his disgust with politics as usual in Washington or his delight in a local bridge finally being repaired, he always reminded us what was most important by ending his newspaper columns with the word “shanti,” which means “peace.”
A memorial service will be held on Saturday, Sept. 3, 2011, in Port Allegany at a time and location to be announced. In addition to photography and writing, George had a passion for reading, and his family requests that any memorial contributions be made to the Samuel W. Smith Memorial Public Library, 22 Church St., Port Allegany, PA 16743. Shanti, Poppa. We will miss you. Arrangements are entrusted to the Olney Funeral Home & Cremation Service, Ulysses, PA. Online condolences may be expressed at www.olneyfuneralhome.com .