Cover photo for Dr. Joseph Pizzat's Obituary
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1926 Dr. Joseph Pizzat 2024

Dr. Joseph Pizzat

November 4, 1926 — January 27, 2024

Dr. Joseph Pizzat

Dr. Joseph Pizzat, 97, passed away peacefully with his wife, Ruth, by his side on January 27, 2024. Born in Creekside, PA on November 4,1926, he was the second son of Paolo and Sarah (Gualtieri) Pizzati. He grew up in Erie where he taught himself how to play tennis and won many tournaments including State championships.

Joe enlisted in the Air Force and served his country in the occupational forces in Europe after WWII. Upon his return, he attended Gannon University. He was honored as an inaugural member of Gannon's first basketball team. He transferred to Kalamazoo College in Michigan where he studied Art and competed on their elite level tennis team.

He met Ruth Carol Lusk at Kalamazoo; they married and moved to NYC. Joe went to Columbia University where he earned a Doctorate in Education in Fine Arts and Art Education.

Joe was an Art Professor at colleges and universities in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Minnesota and South Dakota. In 1972, Joe and his family moved back to his hometown to be near his parents. He taught at Mercyhurst College for 32 years primarily in Art Appreciation and Art Education. In the college setting, his love and passion for art was present in his daily life and can be seen in his hundreds of works of art.

Joe was an artist, athlete and an educator. He was most fulfilled as a teacher. As a USPTA Master Tennis Professional for over 55 years, he taught the game of a lifetime to hundreds of people of all ages. He inspired many of his assistants to become tennis professionals as well. During the summers, Joe and his family worked at various country clubs in the Midwest and Northeast.

In 2004, Joe and Ruth retired to South Carolina to be near their son and family. He continued teaching art and playing tennis. Since 2014, they have lived in Columbia, Missouri close to their daughter and her family.

Joe is survived by his devoted wife of 70 years, Ruth, and two children, Paula (John) Tinnin, and Michael (Patty) Pizzat; four granddaughters Laura (Ed) Bentley, Julie Pizzat, Hannah (Anders) Jovaag, and Sarah (Max) Yeagle. He leaves behind four great-grandchildren, Kade, Jackson, Mason and Olivia. Joe was a loving husband and father whose joy for life was infectious. He was a humble man with a deep faith in God. Joe expressed his faith uniquely through his many religious works of art.

A Funeral Mass followed by interment in Gate of Heaven Cemetery in Erie, PA will be announced later this summer. Funeral arrangements are being handled by the John R. Orlando Funeral Home, 2122 Raspberry Street, Erie, PA 16502.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Dr. Joseph Pizzat, please visit our flower store.


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