Emil Trellis, M.D.
November 23, 2018

Visitation Information

November 25 2018 - 11:00 am
Ralph Schugar Chapel, Inc., 5509 Centre Avenue, Shadyside, 15232

Funeral Information

November 25 2018 - 12:00 pm
Ralph Schugar Chapel, Inc., 5509 Centre Avenue, Shadyside, 15232

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 PM. Visitation one hour prior to services (11 AM- 12 PM). Interment Beth Jacob Cemetery, New Kensington. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be sent to the charity of your choice. www.schugar.com


Send Condolence

My dear Trellis Family My sincerest sympathy for your loss of Dr. Trellis. I fondly remember your family being so lovingly important to mine. I still have photos of Cindy, Danny and Tommy, and go down memory lane every now and then. My mother loved you all, and a part of her memory, which remained very clear until we lost her. Deepest condolences to all.

By Helen Tweddle Zimmerman - November 25, 2018

Dear family members of Dr. Trellis, I am so sorry about the passing of your beloved father, husband and grandfather. with much sympathy, Mary Bower Sheats

By Mary Bower Sheats - November 24, 2018