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On Friday, November 23, 2018, Emil Trellis, M.D. died peacefully. He was 89. While he enjoyed a varied career as a psychiatrist, his main source of gratification was his family. He considered himself so grateful to have had a 66 year marriage to Barbara Miller Trellis, who was the love of his life. His children, Cindy Bernstein (Hal Bernstein), Dan Trellis (the late Robin Berdahl Trellis) and Tom Trellis (Mark Gunsky) provided him with much joy and pride; his grandchildren, Paul Bernstein, Claire Trellis and Scott Trellis, have only added to his sense of gratitude as he has watched their growth. Dr. Trellis was the son of the late Paul and Minna Trellis. Following graduation from Peabody High School and the University of Pittsburgh, he received his medical degree from Jefferson Medical College where he was elected to Alpha Omega Alpha, an honorary scholastic fraternity. Internship followed at Philadelphia General Hospital. His three year residency in psychiatry at Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic was completed in 1961. The next two years were spent in the U.S. Public Health Service Hospital at Lexington, Kentucky where he was chief of the Women's Addiction Service. While in Lexington he was also appointed as a clinical instructor at the University of Kentucky, School of Medicine, Department of Psychiatry. Upon returning to Pittsburgh in 1963, Dr. Trellis developed the first comprehensive treatment program in Pennsylvania to treat heroin addicts. Although only a pilot program based at Torrance State Hospital, he received wide support from the Department of Mental Health, the courts and probation offices, the police, the Catholic Diocese and several philanthropists. The program ended in 1967 when it was moved to Woodville State Hospital under different leadership. During this period, he was on the Pennsylvania State Mental Health Task Force on Drug Abuse in preparation for the state's comprehensive Mental Health and Mental Retardation Act at which time he wrote the substance abuse section. From 1967 until 1973, he served as assistant director of the Community Mental Health Center at Western Psychiatric Institute and was appointed clinical associate professor of psychiatry. For two years, he was the director of the Hill District Mental Health Team, a treatment agency equally involved in community affairs. During this period, Dr. Trellis spoke widely about individual and institutional racism. It was during this time he received the honor of "Distinguished Life Fellow" of the American Psychiatric Association. He was also director of the Squirrel Hill Mental Health Team with a focus on adolescence in the community for two years and director of the Methadone Maintenance Clinic for two years. Dr. Trellis began a part-time practice in clinical psychiatry in 1964. When urban and suburban youth began using drugs in the middle 1960's, he was much in demand as a speaker regarding adolescence. He became a full-time private practitioner in 1973 in partnership with the late Norman Kresh, M.D., who had been a long standing, close friend. In 1973, they joined the psychiatric staff of St Francis General Hospital. In addition to individual referrals, they provided in-patient care for patients of Health America, Central Medical Pavilion and United Health Care. While there, he was chairman of the Department of Psychiatry for two years. His last community effort was as a board member of the American Jewish Committee to help establish the priest-rabbi dialogue, serving with Monsignor Ronald Lenguin of the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh. Prior to and after retirement in 1992, he and his wife spent 25 years as ballroom dancers. Together they enjoyed traveling extensively, visiting numerous countries as well as all 50 states. He was also an ardent fan of the Pirates and Steelers. He is survived by his wife, children, grandchildren, his sister, Joyce Weingartner of Nashville, Tennessee in addition to cousins, nieces and nephews. Services at RALPH SCHUGAR CHAPEL, INC., 5509 Centre Avenue, Shadyside on Sunday at 12 p.m. Visitation one hour prior to services (11 a.m. - 12 p.m.). Interment Beth Jacob Cemetery, New Kensington. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be sent to the charity of your choice


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Published in Pittsburgh Post-Gazette from Nov. 24 to Nov. 25, 2018.
11:00 - 12:00 PM
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Memories & Condolences
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16 entries
November 18, 2020
Emil was a mentor, supervisor, and always an inspiration. A perfectly wonderful boss!! Karita Hummer
Karita Hummer
November 18, 2020
The hole that was left in my heart, the sorrow that enveloped my soul on the day that Emil passed from our planet Earth into the netherland, remains as painful today as it did a year ago.

Time, it is said, heals wounds, but the passage of time shall never ameliorate the emptiness that I feel for no longer having this most kind, gentle, warm, hospitable, caring and loving man with whom I had the honor and privilege, for an all too brief period of time, to share our mutual journeys down life's path.

My G-d rest your soul, Emil. You were a king among peasants.,
John Canter
March 18, 2020
I only now learned of the death of Emil Trellis, M.D., my old boss, from Westen Psychiatric Institute and Clinic, and the Heroin Treatment program he pioneered, and I am so terribly saddened to now know of it. He was one of the best bosses I ever had, and I am forever indebted to him for his wisdom, his generosity and great spirit!!
I love you, Dr. Trellis, and I always will!

Karita Miraglia Hummer, LCSW
Karita Hummer
November 29, 2019
My heartfelt condolences on the anniversary of your loss. Dr. Trellis was my doctor in the 1970s when I was struck with a major psychiatric illness. He worked with me for over seven years with kindness, compassion, patience and insight which was instrumental in enabling me to find a path forward to a fulfilling and productive life which was something I thought I could never have. I am profoundly grateful.
Marcia G
February 3, 2019
I also saw Dr Trellis in the late 60s and he was an important person in my success. I wrote to him several years ago to thank him for asking me one question which sticks with me to this day. Blessings to his family.
January 31, 2019
Dr. Trellis was my psychiatrist in his private practice between 1972 and 1975. I was in my 20's and experiencing marital and emotional issues. He was very kind, patient, and, literally, saved my life. I have never forgotten him. I wish I had known of his passing. I would have liked to attend his service, paying my small tribute to his impact on my life. What a good, great man.
Janice O'Reilly
November 27, 2018
Dear Barbara and Family, My condolences to you and to your Family through this difficult time. I wish I could have met him. What a beautiful tribute to him. May memories comfort you, and may his memory be eternal as he continues to live in the hearts of those who knew him and loved him. Sincerely and with love, Wesley (Joann's friend from Rodef Shalom, and Lucy Serene's Relative).
Wesley Barbiaux
November 27, 2018
Emil was a true mensch - such a great friend to my parents. I am so sorry to learn today of his passing. The Wolfsons send love to all of you.
Alison Wolfson
November 26, 2018
I worked at SFGH when he was a staff psychiatrist .
Hands down one of the best in the field. Not only a great doc but a wonderful human being.
May his family find peace at this difficult time.
Marilou Berrick
November 25, 2018
I participated in Dr. Trellis' volunteer program for revovering heroin addicts at Torrance State Hospital around 1965. Our role was to befriend the families of recovering addicts in the program with all that such implied. It was a most gratifying experience. I so admired Dr. Trellis's leadership and inspiration that I spent a majority of my career as a Social Worker counselling recovering addicts.

I extend my sincere sympathy to you, his family.

Joan McGuire O'Brien
November 25, 2018
Dear Barbara & Family: We were all saddened to read about your recent loss. Please accept our sincere sympathies. May Emil's memory be forever a blessing.- Dr. Burton & Marolee and Jeff (& David) Pollock
November 25, 2018
My sympathy to you and your family. Judy Mccracken
November 24, 2018
A more gentle, kind, compassionate, warm, sincere, honest and self-deprecatory individual one could travel to the far corners of the earth and never find than my dearest friend Emil Trellis. In a world that has lost its decency, this was a man of impeccable respectfulness of others and the epitome of a gentle gentleman. I will sorely miss him.
John Canter
November 24, 2018
Emil I have been friends for many. Years. What a wonderful friend . I will miss our lunches.
Jacob Eisenfeld
November 24, 2018
Jacob Eisenfeld
November 24, 2018
Dr.Trellis was a great help to me in 1983-84 when I saw him as a patient and left treatment as a friend.
Norman Bress
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