Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Rudy Kuchta Died Oct. 10, 2017 Teacher, Founder of School's Art Program

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Rudy Kuchta Died Oct. 10, 2017 Teacher, Founder of School's Art Program

Article excerpt

Rudy Kuchta, who started and expanded the art program at Thomas Jefferson High School, used his mind to inspire students and his hands to create beautiful objects. He made copper enameling, crown molding, furniture, jewelry, photographs and stained glass.

Mr. Kuchta, 88, of Baldwin Borough, died Oct. 10 at Norbert Personal Care in Carrick of complications from a stroke. Two days earlier, he and his wife, Shirley, had celebrated their 62nd wedding anniversary.

Mr. Kuchta retired in 1990 after a 40-year teaching career in the West Jefferson Hills School District, where he also produced the annual yearbook and filmed football games. A year earlier, his 29-year-old son, Matt, had died in an accidental fall.

Mr. Kuchta served on the Baldwin Borough library board and was one of the founding directors of the community's emergency medical system. But his biggest task began when, along with his wife and daughter, Kathleen "Casey" Farnish, he bought the former convent at St. Albert the Great parish in Baldwin Borough.

When the family toured the old, neglected convent, Ms. Farnish said, "My dad immediately saw the potential for him to have all his tools and kiln in the basement."

In 1991, the family began removing dropped ceilings, refinishing original oak floors and installing crown molding and woodwork that Mr. Kuchta made in his workshop. A wood-paneled chapel became Mr. Kuchta's library for art books. He also made the front door and stained-glass windows for three of the rooms.

"When we moved in that summer, we used 120 gallons of paint to paint the interior of the house," Ms. Farnish said, adding that the 14-room home has 52 windows.

"We worked 'round the clock. By Christmas we had an open house with more than 100 people. My dad was so proud of this house and he loved it," she added.

Remodeling the convent and living there with his wife, daughter and granddaughters allowed Mr. …

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