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Written by on February 13, 2024

Before he moved to Clairton, John Perryman led a Walter Mitty life: a teenage hatmaker in Seattle, then itinerant dock worker and eventual union head, traveling everywhere from Saudi Arabia to the Soviet Union before retiring to Pittsburgh and co-founding an orphanage in Ethiopia. Perryman “has experienced the American work scene from the bottom up,” reads a newspaper clipping he keeps in storage, “and can spot a phony a mile away.”

Then one day in 2019, he collapsed walking up the stairs. “My doctor told me if I want to live I’d better get out . . .

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