Theresa "Teri" Greissinger, 80, died suddenly Thursday, May 10, 2021, after sharing a wonderful Mother's Day with her daughter, Kim, her son-in-law, Terry, and her grandson, Spencer. The rest of Teri's children, Lisa, Paul, Shelly and Karl, had given their celebratory Mother's Day wishes throughout the day. Teri leaves her five children and their spouses, her 10 grandchildren, and Chloe, her beloved Rottweiler (her sixth child), bereft at her sudden passing. In April, Teri shared her birthday celebration via zoom with her children, grandchildren and family in Germany. She was looking forward to her in-person birthday celebration scheduled in July. Born April 26, 1941m in New York City, N.Y., to Nicholas and Paula (Krieger) Schneider, Teri grew up in the Bronx before moving to Northern New Jersey where she attended middle and high school. During high school, she was known for her good looks, vivaciousness and laughter. Despite the move to the Garden state, Teri never lost her veneer of New York toughness. But after her death an old suitcase, filled with two decades of artwork and notes from her grandchildren, revealed the truth: Teri was pure marshmallow. Teri was known for her fierce independence, boundless energy and her knack for offering unvarnished observations and opinions. She was genuine and generous, opening her home to those in need of respite and advice. Teri had a wealth of sayings, especially for her children: "God gave you a brain; use it;" "You can be anything you want to be;" "Life isn't fair;" "You've made your bed, you have to lie in it." These aphorisms were instructions for how to make your way in the world, accept responsibility, work hard and use your gifts. You always knew where you stood with her, and you knew she loved you by her actions. As an adult, Teri's life had two very two different chapters, life with Walt and life without Walt. Chapter 1: Life with Walt: After Teri graduated from Emerson High School in Emerson, N.J., she attended the University of Colorado, Boulder. There she met a German Fulbright scholar, Walter Greissinger, while on a double date. (She was dating his friend, and he was dating hers.) The next year, when Teri went to Germany, they reconnected at the University of Erlangen. Walt would later tell their children, "If your mother hadn't married me, I would have entered the seminary." Teri and Walt were married Dec. 26, 1961. Theirs was a life filled with family, friends and adventures. From salmon fishing in Washington state as Orcas fed around them, elk hunting in the Cascades while Teri was nine months pregnant (and going into labor) or raising Pennsylvania's first herd of angora goats: they embraced the outdoors. Their Fasching parties and New Year's celebrations featured whiskey sours, laughter until dawn hour and families bunked throughout the house. Teri and Walt were inseparable. Best friends, they created an oasis with gardens, and fruit trees, and peace. Their greatest pleasure was sharing their home with family and friends. Once the kids were in high school, Teri stepped in to manage Walt's medical practice. Even after a long day at the office, she would accompany him while he made his evening hospital rounds. Not known for her patience, Teri would quietly wait, needle pointing in the physician lounge until Walt finished seeing his patients. Chapter Two: Life without Walt: In 1991, after the sudden death of Walt, Teri had to start over at the age of 50. Calling upon her NYC grit, she went back to school and earned her BSN from Slippery Rock University. At an age when others might retire, Teri re-entered the work force as a nurse. She worked as a nurse in the burn and surgery clinics at Mercy Hospital and then as a floor nurse at Kane Hospital-Ross campus. When she retired from nursing in 2016, Teri doubled down on her investment interests and joined three different investment clubs. She held various leadership positions including secretary and treasurer. She also began painting, something she had always wanted to do. Teri enrolled in art classes across the Pittsburgh area, created an art studio and jumped in. She mastered the landscape and entered many of hers into local art shows. (Her portraits were works in progress.) Retirement offered Teri the opportunity to resume travel, a hobby which she loved dearly in her youth. She would look forward to her annual family trip to Grayton Beach, Fla. Teri, not an avid fan of flying, would stop in Atlanta on her way to Grayton and visit her daughter, Michelle, and granddaughter, Maxena. She was especially happy when Maxena got her permit, meaning she would not have to drive from Atlanta to Grayton. Teri's work schedule caused her to miss Thanksgiving for many years. Thus, upon retirement, Teri created a new Thanksgiving tradition; a trip to Italy. She loved seeing the master works of Caravaggio, Michaelangelo and Veronese. Upon seeing a Giovanni Bernini exhibit at the Borghese Gallery in 2018, Teri remarked that she wished she could spend days at each museum. As per usual, Teri would wander off from the rest of the family to spend as much time alone with each individual piece as possible, perhaps to find inspiration in the delicate brushstrokes and intricate carvings. Recently, a fully vaccinated Teri was excited to resume travel, with plans of visiting her son, Karl, in Texas, and the Louvre for Thanksgiving. Teri was overheard saying to a friend, "as a parent, you give your children wings so they can fly away and create their own lives, while at the same time allow them to fly home." If Walt was the master cook, Teri was the master baker. Friends and family alike will miss her tins of Christmas cookies or biscotti, banana bread, brownies and cheesecakes. Teri baked for the enjoyment of creating something tasty; she'd then send her treats out into the world, saying, "I need to get this out of the house, or I will eat it all myself!" Teri leaves a hole in our hearts and our lives. But we take comfort in a memo that she had posted on her desk: "We cannot feel saddened over the loss of those we love without first remembering the joy of loving them. The real sadness would have been never having them in our lives at all. Remembering is a journey the heart takes, back into a time that was, and our thoughts are the only tickets needed to ride." Teri is survived by her children, Lisa (James Salser), Paul (Julie), Michelle (Peggy Rainbow), Karl (Dionne) and Kim (Terry Krysinski); her grandchildren, Charles and Leland (Salser), Katherine, Alexander, Benjamin and Annabelle (Greissinger), Maxena (Greissland), Finnley and Abigail (Greissinger) and Spencer (Krysinski); her sister, Lisa Nemeroff; and a large group of friends. She was preceded in death by her loving husband, Walter Greissinger.
Published in Sewickley Herald on Jun. 10, 2021.