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Teacher's grit allowed her to embrace full life

| Saturday, May 4, 2013, 9:53 a.m.

George Kamerer still remembers the first time he saw Pamela Kamerer's shimmering brown eyes almost two decades ago.

Both were school teachers passionate about education, attending a professional conference in Western Pennsylvania. Mrs. Kamerer must have left quite the impression, because he walked away visualizing their life together. “I've been in love with her ever since,” Mr. Kamerer said.

Pamela E. Kamerer of Greensburg died Wednesday, May 1, 2013. She was 59. It was in Clairton where, as a child, Mrs. Kamerer decided she would never let health concerns limit her life. At just 12, she underwent surgery to correct scoliosis. She had to spend a year in a cast and learn how to walk again, but that only fueled her desire to become a majorette. Her high school's squad was so talented they were asked to perform for opening ceremonies for Three Rivers Stadium in the 1970s, Mr. Kamerer said.

“She was one of the famous Clairton Honey Bears,” he said. “She just powered through it. It showed her grit and determination. She is the most courageous person I know.”

Mrs. Kamerer attended Penn State University, where she studied fine arts. She worked as a substitute teacher until she was hired as an elementary art teacher at McKeesport Area School District. She retired after 25 years in the classroom.

She thrived in the classroom and enjoyed being president of McKeesport Area Education Association and working as a professional artist, her husband said. While her work has won national accolades and is displayed in galleries, Mrs. Kamerer jumped at opportunities to paint for friends.

“She's got artwork hanging in homes all over Western Pennsylvania,” Mr. Kamerer said, laughing.

Health issues continued to challenge Mrs. Kamerer's passion for life, but she fought each time.

“Through all of that, she was able to be this teacher, this union advocate, this artist and never complained. Not once,” Mr. Kamerer said. “I think what it was, she was not going to be cheated out of life. She was determined to live a normal life, no matter what the circumstances. When I think of Pam, I think of her courage and how she lived her life so courageously.”

In addition to her husband of 17 years, she is survived by stepchildren Stephanie (Josh) Shipley of Upper St. Clair and Jared (Sara) Kamerer of Cheswick and five grandchildren.

Funeral arrangements are under the direction of Paul E. Bekavac Funeral Home in Elizabeth.

Amanda Dolasinski is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-836-6220 or adolasinski@tribweb.com.

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