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Teacher, prolific writer, artist left diverse legacy |
Obituary Stories

Teacher, prolific writer, artist left diverse legacy

Peter Oresick

Peter Oresick retired four years ago after more than three decades as a writing teacher.

But he did not slow down during his retirement.

“That’s when his creative life really exploded,” said his wife, Stephanie Flom.

Mr. Oresick, a Pittsburgh poet, artist and historian, wrote four books of poetry and painted for two new exhibits. One exhibit will open Thursday, and two of the books will be published within the next year.

Mr. Oresick of Highland Park died Saturday, Sept. 3, 2016. He was 60.

He taught for more than three decades and worked for a time at the University of Pittsburgh Press. He taught at Pittsburgh Public Schools, Carnegie Mellon University, the University of Pittsburgh, Emerson College and Chatham University.

His published works include poetry collections “Museum Guard at Shift Change,” “Iconoscope” and “Working Classics: Poems on Industrial Life.” Two other books, “The Pittsburgh Stories of Willa Cather” and “The Pittsburgh Novel,” are on the way.

His icon paintings will soon be featured in the “Illuminations” exhibit at the Carlow Art Gallery.

“He inspired me,” said longtime friend and colleague Judith Vollmer. “I can’t say enough about him.”

The son of a glass mill worker, Mr. Oresick was often inspired by the industrial and regional history of Western Pennsylvania blended with Eastern European influences. That made him a unique poet and painter, Vollmer said.

“I think the painting enriched the poems and vice versa,” she said.

Mr. Oresick was a gifted artist and writer and an inspiring teacher who influenced two generations of young poets, Vollmer said.

“There’s something very special about Peter that you witness when you know him,” Flom said.

The couple met as freshmen at Pitt, she said. They were married for 38 years and had three sons.

“He was a real presence,” Flom said. “He was loved.”

In addition to his wife, Mr. Oresick is survived by sons William, Jake and David; and three grandchildren.

A funeral Mass will be held at 10 a.m. Tuesday in St. John Chrysostom Catholic Church at 506 Saline St. Interment will follow in Homewood Cemetery. Another service will be held at 7 p.m. Wednesday in Kresge Auditorium, University Commons, at Carlow University.

Donations may be made to the Society to Preserve the Millvale Murals of Maxo Vanka.

Elizabeth Behrman is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 412-320-7886 or

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