Martin Albert Trichtinger of Squirrel Hill, a Pittsburgh native and longtime educator in the city's school district, died Friday. He was 86.
Remembered by those close to him as a faithful Catholic and caring friend and family member, Mr. Trichtinger served as a teacher and counselor for many years at different junior high and high schools in Pittsburgh. While devoted to his work, taking on administrative positions within the district later in his career, he was always interested in the people who surrounded him at the center of his life.
"He genuinely cared about people," said his son, Brother David Trichtinger. "He would not only remember a name, but he would remember circumstances."
Mr. Trichtinger was on active duty in the Navy from 1944 to 1946, during which time he helped decommission the fleet in California as World War II came to an end, his son said.
After leaving the armed forces -- though he continued to serve in the Navy Reserve, retiring with a rank of lieutenant -- Mr. Trichtinger finished his degree at Duquesne University and was hired right out of college by his former principal to be a teacher at his alma mater, Central Catholic High School.
Mr. Trichtinger later moved into the Pittsburgh Public Schools, where he stayed for the rest of his career, yet remained proud of his connections to Central. An avid sports fan and close follower of Pittsburgh teams, including the Steelers and the Pirates, he also spent some time coaching basketball. While at Knoxville Junior High in the late 1950s, he led his team to the city title, his son said.
Cheryl Sych of Verona took history from Mr. Trichtinger at South Hills High School before graduating in 1962. While she often "gave him a lot of grief" as one of the more talkative students in his class, Ms. Sych said Mr. Trichtinger always had a kind heart, never becoming overly excited or angry.
"I don't ever remember a student saying a bad word about him," said Ms. Sych, calling him "one of those teachers that you don't forget."
Mr. Trichtinger later worked in a number of administrative roles, including supervisor for public school counselors and social workers at the Pittsburgh Board of Education. During the 1970s, he was in charge of racial integration for a third of the district, his son said.
Daniel Spillane, 82, of Homestead knew Mr. Trichtinger for 60 years, working with him at South Hills High School and the board of education, where they became close friends. They continued to get lunch together once a week ever since they retired around the same time three decades ago.
Mr. Spillane said Mr. Trichtinger was a "first-class professional" who was dedicated to his work in the district, never making any enemies.
In his later years -- when he had to deal with health issues, including kidney infections and heart bypasses -- Mr. Trichtinger remained strong, Mr. Spillane said.
"He bounced back no matter what happened," Mr. Spillane said. "Anything that would have stopped an ordinary guy never would have stopped him."
In addition to David, he is survived by his wife, Arlene; children Martin, John and Mary; and nine grandchildren.
Mass will be celebrated at 10 a.m. today in St. Bede Catholic Church in Point Breeze.
Gavan Gideon: email@example.com or 412-263-4910.