Advice from fathers in the eastern suburbs

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Sunday is Father's Day, time to pay tribute to dear old dad — the guy you go to for everything from advice to pocket change.

We asked residents of the eastern suburbs to share, not the pocket change, but  ''the best advice dad ever gave.''

Their answers demonstrate dad's joy in mentoring — and his [nearly always] sage advice.


“ 'Always work hard, always love God and always make time for your family’ was the advice dad [William Kennedy] gave to me.’’

                                                                     — Tom Kennedy, 47, pastor of Latrobe United Methodist Church

’’’Be happy,’ dad [Harry Couchenour]  always told me. And I listened. I am regarded as happy-go-lucky, someone who looks on the bright side.’’

                                                        — Lauren Condon, 53, of Latrobe, assistant at Latrobe Art Center

 ''My dad [Donald Wilson] told me to always ’value education as no one can take that away from you, and you can always support yourself.’ So I went to college and worked as a financial adviser since 1987, even while raising my kids. I'm glad I did as they are grown and I'm still working.’’

                               — Donna Cheswick, 48, of Penn Township, adviser with Medallion Wealth Management

''Dad [Raymond Schrecengost] told me to have ’respect for whatever you are driving or flying, and don't feel you have anything mastered because that is when something bad will happen.’ When I was old enough, I understood that if you forget you are operating a machine, it could harm you. I am a pilot, motorcyclist and motorist, and have never had an accident.”

                                                                                                                           — Sam Schrecengost, 74, of Export

“My dad [Tony Baughman] always told me I could do ’anything that I wanted to do, and never give up.’ He was a business owner and I have followed in his footsteps.’’

— Holly Mowrey, 56, of Ligonier, director of Ligonier Valley Chamber of Commerce

”My dad [John Spekis] never gave advice but taught us through his example. We did not have a lot of money growing up, but that did not stop us from having a good time as Dad was a master at finding free events for our family. In the summer, we hopped in his car and went to Crooked Creek State Park to swim. We went to parades; we visited farms to see the animals. Because he did not like Pittsburgh traffic, we would take midnight rides to Downtown Pittsburgh to see the U.S. Steel building, which he was very proud of because a lot of the steel was manufactured in the Vandergrift plant where he worked.

“He also made up games we could play in the backyard. My dad was always a kid at heart who never lost his childhood enthusiasm until his death at age 98.“

— Anita Zanke of Murrysville, retired teacher, library coordinator at Westmoreland County Historical Society

’’’If you have an occupation and don't enjoy it, don't do it. You really need to love what you do in your life’ was the advice from my dad [Terry Erwin]. I’m glad I listened because I love what I do.’’

— Terry Erwin Jr., 51, of Mt. Pleasant, minister of Norwin Christian Church, North Huntingdon

’’ ’You are never indispensable. When you think you are the only one who can do a job, there is always someone better’  was one thing Dad [Charles Winslow Sr.] taught me. The other is ’your word is your bond.’  Both pieces of advice are what I lived by in my personal life and in my 32 years as a teacher and 27 years on the Woodland Hills school board.’’

                                                                                             — Marilyn Messina, 67, of Edgewood, retired Teacher

’’ ’Life has its ups and downs, but by staying true to yourself and sticking to your goals and beliefs, you stay on track,’ said my Dad [Jerry Harness Sr.]. That has guided me throughout my life.’’

                                                                               — Jerry Harness Jr., 29, of Greensburg, insurance Salesman

”My dad was teaching me to drive when I was 17. I tended to keep looking behind me in the mirror and he said ’Don't look behind, always look ahead.’ That has guided me my entire life. He was very optimistic and enthusiastic about what lie ahead, and I view life the same way.’’

                                             — Rose Krakovsky, 65, of Greenfield, receptionist at Carnegie Mellon University

                                                                                                       — Compiled by freelance writer Margaret Smykla

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