Manager, Penn Forest Natural Burial Park
Where I Grew Up: Greensburg, PA
Education: B.A. Economics, Clarion University
Resident Since: 2015
I've never lived anywhere like Penn Hills. We have made more friends, more quickly, in Penn Hills than anywhere we've ever lived.
Pete McQuillin, Owner and Manager of Penn Forest Natural Burial Park, is a well-travelled man, living in so many different places that he can no longer keep count.
"I got up around 28, 29, almost pushing 30 by the time I stopped counting. I think we're approaching 35 times, something like that, different places that I've lived in the world. I was in international sales for a while so any place they've built buildings in the world, I've been there."
Which is pretty much everywhere.
Some of Pete's favorite places he's lived include the Aleutian Islands in Alaska, and Napa Valley, CA. "Before it was big," he specifies.
But his favorite place is Pittsburgh, and Penn Hills, specifically.
"I've never lived anywhere like Penn Hills. We have made more friends, more quickly, in Penn Hills than anywhere we've ever lived. And I just love that about the place."
Pete and his wife, Nancy Chubb, are new residents of Penn Hills, but have owned and operated the Penn Forest Natural Burial Park here since 2011. The friends they've made here over the past four years were a big factor in their decision to move here from the Northside in 2015.
"Right away I got involved in the CDC, Kiwanis, joined the Chamber [of Commerce], so I just got involved and found this the friendliest place I've ever been."
Pete and Nancy purchased a home adjacent to the 32 acre burial park.
"When you have this much land, you need to be here to watch it, and it's asking me to do stuff."
Some of that stuff includes the development of a working farm that will include chickens, goats, a barn and possibly a blacksmith shop.
"We're changing the whole idea about what people think about cemeteries. Our newsletter is called Life at Penn Forest, it's about life, it's about using the land to grow food, raise bees, do gardening, do everything on the land that's about life. And by the way, if you like the place you can also be buried here. But the focus is not on death, the focus is on life and living."
Some of the things Pete enjoys about Penn Hills include Labriola's wedding soup, the Caribéana restaurant, and the Green Forest Churrascaria.
He also appreciates some of Penn Hills intangible assets, "Whatever you do here, you've got diversity. I think that's a real plus for Penn Hills that's not touted enough."
"I like a lot of things about Penn Hills! I'm really happy living here."