- On May 13, 2023
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Tracey Taylor Perles, a gifted and engaging writer and actor who displayed her talents with incomparable vitality, died of cancer May 11. She was 62.
While pursuing writing and acting, Tracey also ran a PR consultancy and managed a patent attorney’s law firm. Tracey was, as UPMC oncologist Dr. Vikram Gorantla described her, “A force of nature.”
For good reason.
A graduate of Edinboro State College with a Master of Business Administration from Duquesne University, Tracey appeared to be on an uncomplicated path in business and public relations at Equitable Gas (now Peoples Gas), Chambers Development Company Inc., and VITAC.
Instead, Tracey instinctively took her writing skills to new levels by always finding the intriguing, if not entertaining, account that demonstrated her uncanny ability of understanding the human element that brought even bricks-and-mortar to life – the very reason VITAC and Chambers Development likely tapped her a corporate spokesperson.
“Tracey was a writer’s writer and an exceptional storyteller. She could have taught a master class about how to engage any audience. She was a consummate professional and wonderfully clever with a clear voice and a great laugh,’’ said Jack Horner, who worked as Tracey’s intern in the 1980s.
Tracey also took to the airwaves as the evening drive-time personality on WSEG-FM and as announcer and music director on WFSE-FM.
At the same time, Tracey pursued her love of the theater, always perfecting her Southern and British dialects and Alto voice at Apple Hill Playhouse, Olin Fine Arts Center, Edgewood Theater, Robert Morris Theater, Comtra Theatre and St. Alexis Playcrafters, among others.
It was Little Lake Theatre in Canonsburg, Washington County, however, that became Tracey’s home stage for dozens of performances over the years – her latest as Marnie in the 2021 production of Show People. Whether she was Lily Belle in The Curious Savage, Kate Keller in The Miracle Worker or Lyssa in An American Daughter, Tracey enraptured audiences time and again. Little Lake was where she met fellow actor Andrew Cornelius, a Bethel Park lawyer who convinced Tracey to help organize his single-practice intellectual property firm. She stayed 20 years. Tracey also continued to serve her clients at Taylor Perles Communications.
Tracey’s 2008 diagnosis of breast cancer did nothing to interfere with her serving on the board of directors of the Mattress Factory Museum and the Pittsburgh New Works Festival, or involvement with her upper St. Clair community.
Tracey and husband Terry also shared their precious times together between Pittsburgh and their second home in Palm Desert, California. They were married on Valentine’s Day 1987.
Tracey – never the sentimentalist – always felt compelled to explain that that was the first Saturday after college football recruiting season. Her late father-in-law George Perles, former Steelers assistant head coach, had become Michigan State University’s head football coach.
Family always was first and foremost for Tracey.
Several years ago, her parents, Donald and Eleanor Taylor, moved a few doors down from Tracey and Terry. Being only steps away brought them comfort when Tracey’s younger brother D.J. died suddenly last year. They all traveled a month ago to South Carolina, where Tracey mustered the strength to officiate at her niece’s wedding.
In addition to her husband Terry, and her parents, Tracey leaves:
Her sister Lisa Wolf and her husband John Wolf, and their children Travis Wolf, Jordan (Tim) Shipman, and Austin Wolf
Sister-in-law (brother D.J.’s widow) Amy Taylor, and their children, Zachary and Alea
Her aunts and uncles, Judy Tyler, Virginia Smith, Lawrence (Shirley) Woods, and William (Bea) Woods.
Her sister-in-law Kathy Perles
Her brothers-in-law John (Amy) Perles and their children, Nicholas, Mike and Kendall, and Patrick (Karen) Perles and their children, Joe, Hannah and Julia.
Tracey is also survived by other numerous family and friends.
A memorial service will be held at 10:00 a.m. Saturday, May 20 at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 1066 Washington Road, Mt. Lebanon.
in lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be bad to UPMC Hilllman Cancer Center, https://hillman.upmc.com/difference/supporting/make-a-gift/how-to-donate? or the Stanley M. Marks Blood Cancer Research Fund, https://www.stanmarksresearchfund.com/