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Man sought balance of work, play for family

Dawn Law
| Tuesday, Sept. 18, 2001

Peter Blanc's idea of a normal work day was longer than most.

After working the night shift at Pittsburgh Transit Authority, he would return home and go to work at one of his day jobs - roofing, painting or construction.

Family members said just living day-to-day, learning what he could by doing or reading, suited him just fine.

Peter M. Blanc, a resident of Bethel Park, died Saturday, Sept. 15, 2001, in Allegheny General Hospital, North Side, of respiratory failure. He was 85.

He was born and raised in Millvale, the son of Yugoslavian immigrants Thomas and Mary Pappas Belanic. As a child he enjoyed swimming in the Allegheny River.

Mr. Blanc's family operated the Cottage Inn, a tavern that also sold gasoline on McMurray Road in Bethel Park.

He graduated from Millvale High School in 1932 and worked for several years at H.J. Heinz Co.

When Mr. Blanc married Christine Sekely in 1940, he used his carpentry skills to build a house for her, as well as one for his parents across the street on McMurray Road.

Around 1940, Mr. Blanc began working for Pittsburgh Railways, the predecessor of Port Authority Transit, now the Port Authority of Allegheny County. He worked as a dispatcher but moved to supervisor in just a few years.

'What amazes me is that he always had time for his kids,' said his son-in-law, Chris Conrad.

Christie-Ann Conrad remembers her father's moonlighting jobs, but she said there was also time to spend together. She said her father's priority was preparing for his children's future. All of his children attended college.

And every year there was a family vacation.

'No matter how poor we were, we always had a vacation,' his daughter said. 'You need a break to re-energize yourself and your family.'

For many years, Mr. Blanc coached his children in sports at Bethel Park and his grandchildren's teams in Upper St. Clair.

He retired from the Port Authority in 1989.

Mr. Blanc is survived by his wife, Christine Sekely Blanc of Bethel Park; his children, Christie-Ann Conrad of Upper St. Clair, Jeanne Fitzgibbons of Moorisville, N.C., and Robert Blanc of Gaithersburg, Md.; and his grandchildren, Justin and Dylan Conrad of Upper St. Clair; Jill Weirzbicki of Raleigh, N.C.; Pamela Trapp of Lafayette, Ind.; Matthew Blanc of Germantown, Md., and Jesse and Jeffrey Blanc of Gaithersburg, Md.

He was preceded in death by his sisters, Mildred Tietz and Ann Szymanski.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 10 a.m. today in St. Valentine Church, followed by entombment in Queen of Heaven Cemetery. Arrangements by Beinhauers.

Memorial donations may be made to the American Red Cross, United States Effort, PO Box 371997, Pittsburgh, PA 15251.

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