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Developer driven to perfect all he touched

| Thursday, June 13, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

When Thomas Pellis made up his mind to do something, he not only did it, he did it as well as he or just about anybody else could, two of his sons remembered.

Thomas M. Pellis, 72, of Greensburg died on Sunday, June 9, 2013, in Excela Health Westmoreland Hospital.

Mr. Pellis became an expert in fly tying and fly fishing, and photos of flies he made were published in books, Thomas P. and Jack Pellis said.

He was recognized as a World Champion Decoy Carver and won numerous titles, including the IWCA and the National Turkey Federation carving championships.

In 1966, he founded Pellis Construction Inc.

“The thing about my father, when he decided to do something, he did it for fun, but he wanted to be the best at it,” Jack Pellis said. “He just rose to the top of something he decided he wanted to do.”

“He always told us when we were children, if you set your mind to doing something, you can do it,” Thomas Pellis said.

In addition to founding the construction business, Mr. Pellis was a prominent real estate developer in Western Pennsylvania.

Thomas Pellis, a Greensburg attorney, said that when he looks at advertisements for home sales, he often sees the Pellis name mentioned.

“They use it as a selling point,” he said.

“He was just driven,” Jack Pellis said. “If he did anything, it had to be perfect.”

Jack Pellis, who operates the construction company, said he and his father might disagree on a business decision, such as initially using computers, but his father never raised his voice.

“He let me do my own thing,” Jack Pellis said.

His father always was convivial, even in business dealings, he added.

“He's going to be truly missed by a lot of people,” Thomas Pellis said.

Both sons regret the loss of their father's wealth of knowledge.

“My father had so much knowledge,” Jack Pellis said. “I'm so sorry that it's gone. I wish he could have shared and taught everything he knew.”

Mr. Pellis is survived by his wife of 51 years, Carolyn Patrick Pellis; four children, Thomas Pellis and wife Maria, John “Jack” Pellis and wife Carla, Dreux Pellis and Carolyn “Kelly” Pellis, all of the Greensburg area; 10 grandchildren; and a sister, Maxine Pellis of Greensburg.

A funeral Mass will be celebrated at 10 a.m. Thursday in St. Bartholomew Church, 2538 State Route 199, Crabtree. Interment will follow in Calvary Hill Cemetery, Crabtree.

The Clement L. Pantalone Funeral Home Inc. in Greensburg handled arrangements.

Memorial donations may be made to the Hecla Sportsmen's Youth Fishing Rodeo, P.O Box 49, Southwest, PA 15685, or Clelian Heights School, 135 Clelian Heights Lane, Greensburg, PA 15601.

Bob Stiles is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-836-6622 or

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