Obituary: Henry Fiore / Penn Hills artist gave his work to a wide variety of people

Nov. 23, 1931 - Nov. 12, 2013

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It's a good thing when what you do for a living is also what makes life worth living.

That was the case for Henry Fiore, a self-taught artist who shared his love of painting with everyone around him.

Mr. Fiore, of Penn Hills, died Tuesday from complications of neck trauma. He was 81.

Born on Nov. 23, 1931, in Altoona, Mr. Fiore attended Westinghouse High School, where he met his wife, Marianna.

It was there that he started painting with acrylics, Mrs. Fiore said.

"He just really took the art up himself," she said.

He retired early from work as a machinist for American Roller Bearing Co. During recovery from a surgery, he received a gift that would launch his second career.

"His niece bought him a set of paints, and from there, he just took off," said his son, John.

After winning prizes at amateur shows, Mr. Fiore decided to become a professional artist, Mrs. Fiore said.

He created colorful landscapes and seascapes of places from Maine and Pittsburgh to Italy and Mexico. The paintings were based on his own travels and photographs from his friends, his son said.

"He loved, loved, loved his craft, and he was good at it," said Mrs. Fiore.

His work would win awards and be featured in venues such as Heinz Hall, Chatham University, the Amsterdam Gallery in New York and the People's Museum in Bulgaria.

"He was extremely prolific. He goes out into his studio, and people are like, 'Wow, he did all this?' " said his son.

He shared that passion with his family and community, giving away his artwork to people he knew or had recently met. He even made greeting cards for U.S. Rep. Mike Doyle and state Rep. Tony DeLuca.

"He loved his art so much, he wanted everybody to have it, wanted everybody to have a piece of it, and almost everybody does," said Mrs. Fiore.

He founded the Penn Hills Arts Council, was a member of several arts societies, taught privately and volunteered his time in countless local high schools and organizations.

"He loved to teach; he just loved to teach. He would have the children here on the street come over and give them lessons," said Mrs. Fiore. With young relatives, she said, "when they were 2 or 3 years old they had a paintbrush in their hands."

For his contributions, since 2007, the date of June 18 has been recognized as "Henry Fiore Day" in Penn Hills.

"He's done a lot for the community, and people just loved my dad. I know he was my dad and that sounds biased, but it was really true," his son said.

In addition to his wife and son, he is survived by two other children, Roseann Fiore and Rhonda Watson; a sister, Margueritte Scanga; four grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.

Friends will be received from 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 p.m. today at Charles W. Trenz Funeral Home, 11110 Frankstown Road, Penn Hills. A Mass will be celebrated at 10 a.m. Saturday in St. Bartholomew Church, 111 Erhardt Drive, Penn Hills.

Elizabeth Bloom: or 412-263-1750.

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