Terese S. Piccoli

Aug 15 1928
Jul 26 2019
90 Years
Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania

After 90 years, the journeys of Terese Piccoli came to a close on July 26, 2019, at the home she shared with her sister, Annemarie Cuff, in Chadds Ford, PA. Terese was a devoted daughter and sister; a much-loved mother, grandmother, and aunt; a respected teacher, businesswoman, politician, community organizer, author, and editor; and an advocate for education, peace, and women’s rights.

Terese was born in Newark, NJ, the eighth of nine children. In the tradition of her family, she attended Catholic schools, where she thrived socially and academically. At Benedictine high school, Terese excelled in sports, notably basketball and swimming, and experienced her “first loves.” In 1946, she became the sixth Schirmer to matriculate at Mt. St. Scholastica College in Atchison, KS, and it was there that she, a homecoming queen, met a soon-to-be valedictorian from nearby St. Benedict’s College named William Piccoli. They married in 1952, moved to Pittsburgh, and remained together until Bill passed away in 1984.

Terese raised seven children and sometimes called out their names in order until she reached the name she needed: “David-Steven-Andrew-Carol-Philip-Martin-Vincent!” She read to her children regularly, surrounding them with her love of the written word. From 1969 until 1987 she was a book reviewer, and The Pittsburgh Press published over 100 of her reviews. In the 1980s, she taught English at the Community College of Allegheny County and the University of Pittsburgh, presided over the Northland Public Library Foundation, and played primary roles in the Beginning with Books Foundation, the Pittsburgh Metropolitan Theater, the Pittsburgh Literacy Council, and the Pittsburgh Council for International Visitors.

After her self-professed “awakening to feminism” in the 1960s, Terese became politically active, regularly taking her children to League of Women Voters meetings and enlisting them in stuffing envelopes, passing out flyers, and donning political sandwich boards. In 1977 she earned a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Pittsburgh and cofounded MC Consultants, a management consultant group supporting small businesses, especially those run by women and people of color. In 1980 she ran for state representative in the Pennsylvania General Assembly.

In 1990 Terese was among the first Peace Corps volunteers to serve as teachers in then Czechoslovakia. After three years in Prague at Charles University, she taught for a summer in Egypt and for a year at the Universitas Katolik in Bandung, Indonesia. From there, she taught for a year in Hohhot, China, at the Inner Mongolia Polytechnic University, for two years in Pohnpei at the College of Micronesia, and for a year in Ghana with the International Foundation for Education and Self-Help/Teachers for Africa Program.

In 2000 Terese returned to the United States to become “Grandma T,” now journeying at home with her children and their families: David Piccoli and Matthew, Cara, and Laura; Steven Piccoli and Vanessa King and Daniel; Andrew and Kathleen Piccoli and Elizabeth, Jonathan, and Christopher; Carol and Michael Carey and Meagan, Bridget, and Benjamin; Philip and Anne Piccoli and Ashleigh and Joshua; Martin Piccoli and Scott McComb; and Vincent Piccoli. In her last 19 years and with the people she loved most, Terese continued to create experiences built on principles that guided her entire life: family, education, understanding, and acceptance.

Memorial donations may be made in Terese’s name to Mt. St. Scholastica (mountosb.org) or the League of Women Voters (lwv.org). A service at St. Paul’s Cathedral in Oakland is being planned for a future date.