Patricia Tierney

Obituary of Patricia O. Tierney

Patricia O. Tierney Of Highland Park, aged 94, died peacefully on Sunday, November 28, 2021 at her home, surrounded by her family. Pat, the daughter of an Irish immigrant who became a police sergeant in Chicago, grew up on the South Side of that city and received her education in grade school, high school and college from the Dominican Sisters. She graduated from Rosary College in 1949 and became a social worker in Chicago. She married her husband, John W. Tierney, in 1952, and raised a growing family as she and Jack moved to Huntley, Illinois, then to Lafayette Indiana, and then to Minneapolis. In 1960, they moved to Chile when Jack joined a project led by the University of Pittsburgh to teach engineering at a university in Valparaiso. At the end of the family's grueling two-day plane trip to Chile -- with four young sons, including a five-month-old infant -- Pat announced, "I hope we like it here, because we're never going back.” Pat was a feminist before feminism was in vogue, and a working mother before anyone wrote books on how impossible it was to combine the roles. After Jack joined the chemical engineering faculty at Pitt in 1962, she taught English at Peabody and Taylor Allderdice high schools, all the while juggling family responsibilities and graduate classes in the evenings at Pitt, where she earned a doctorate degree in Education. She went on to direct an innovative and nationally recognized program for gifted and talented secondary students in the Pittsburgh Public Schools. As the vice president of the Pennsylvania Association for Gifted Education, she was a tireless advocate in Harrisburg for similar programs throughout the state. She was also a leader at Sacred Heart Church in Shadyside, organizing prayer groups, Bible study groups, and the RENEW program for small-group ministry. As her son Patrick said, “It seemed that our house was an unofficial fourth chapel for Sacred Heart.” Pat was predeceased by her loving husband, Jack, and her sister Rose Margaret Gervais (the late Robert); she is survived by her sons John (Helen Fisher), Patrick (Jane McCafferty), Joseph (Romaine Stephen), Paul (Michelle Youngers); her brother Joseph O’Neill (Geri); and by 12 grandchildren and 7 great-grandchildren. The family will receive friends on Thursday, from 5 to 8 p.m. at McCabe Brothers Funeral Home in Shadyside at 6214 Walnut Street. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Friday at 10 am at St. Jude Parish, Sacred Heart Church in Shadyside. Condolences may be left at