Pharmacist, fisherman making every moment count

Nanty Glo native Ron Peterman, 34, shows off some of his fly-fishing equipment and a portrait of him holding his prize catch, a 28.5-inch brown trout. The area pharmacist, artist and fly-fisherman stands with his children, Adrian and Camila, to whom he is passing on his love of fly-fishing. Mirror photo by Margaret Rudolph

Ron Peterman has found the perfect prescription for living his life to the fullest, maximizing every life moment and taking nothing for granted.

Passionate about his family, career and multiple hobbies, the pharmacist, fisherman and artist strives to make every single moment count in all that he does.

Peterman, 34, credits a lifelong interest in science as the inspiration for his career choice.

After graduating from Bishop Carroll High School in 2002, Peterman studied economics at the University of Pittsburgh before earning a doctorate of pharmacy degree from Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska.

The Nanty Glo native returned to his hometown after graduation and accepted a pharmacy position with the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs.

As the associate chief of pharmacy at the Van Zandt VA Medi­cal Center in Altoona, Peterman combines his clinical expertise with administrative duties to serve veterans and the VA mission.

“I like what I do and 100 percent enjoy working with people, both clinically and administratively. I want to help as many people as I can,” he said.

Laura Olienyk, pharmacy chief at the Altoona VA Medical Center, has worked with Peterman for al­most a decade and describes him as a valued team member and friend.

“Ron is the quintessential jack-of-all-trades, with boundless talent and energy, yet thoughtful, insightful and extremely humble,” Olienyk said. “He is a pretty remarkable guy, with a positive outlook on everything.”

While science helped form his career path, Peterman credits his father with instilling an appreciation for the natural beauty found in area forests and streams and in­spiring a lifelong interest in fishing.

In his early teens, Peterman became intrigued with the art of fly-fishing.

“I’ve been fishing for as long as I can remember,” he said. “My dad liked to trout fish and started teaching me the basics when I was about 3. Now, I am passing that knowledge along to my children. My son is 7 and already has some pretty impressive casts.”

Though Spring Creek and the Little Juniata River in Centre County are among his favored fishing spots, Peterman has cast his line in lakes, rivers and streams throughout Pennsylvania, New York, Virginia, Florida, Colorado, Ohio, North Carolina and Arizona, using a catch and release method on fishing excursions.

His catches include an impressive array of species, but hooking a prized 28.5-inch brown trout beauty ranks among his most memorable fishing highlights.

“The wild brown trout, with its yellow and gold coloration, is a spectacular fish, but is wise and elusive, making it difficult to catch,” Peterman said. “Fishing for them is a challenge, which increases its appeal and heightens the excitement when you get one.”

Neil Leckey shares Peterman’s love for the outdoors, and the two friends have been hunting, fishing and kayaking together for several years.

Leckey credits his friend’s positive encouragement for renewing his once faded interest in fishing.

“Ron is the best fisherman I ever met and a great teacher, with contagious energy and passion,” Leckey said. “His outgoing personality makes even challenging things seem easy, and he goes out of his way to help you learn.”

Peterman recently began sharing his angling knowledge with the next generation through extracurricular fly-fishing programs offered at area schools. Lessons include casting fundamentals, tying flies and knots effectively and assessing locations for optimal casts, depending on wind pattern and strength and tree location and proximity to shore line.

Last year, he joined with fly fishing legend Joe Humphreys to demonstrate fly-fishing skills to fifth-grade students from Blacklick Valley. With Centre County streams as their outdoor classroom, students were given hands-on experience learning fly-fishing basics during their day-long field trip.

Another workshop is scheduled next month for this year’s fifth-grade class.

“It has been an honor to meet and work with Joe Humphreys, teaching students to appreciate the art, skills and fundamentals of fly-fishing and pass along valuable tips and tricks for the students to put into practice,” Peterman said.

Ever ready for adventures finding new water or spots to fish, Peterman packs a rod for every trip he goes on, searching Google Earth for an aerial view of his intended destination and potential fishing possibilities.

In his spare time, he likes to draw, an interest that developed in high school and college art classes. Using a sketch pad and Sharpie marker, Peterman transfers his love for the outdoors onto paper.

With colorful, bold strokes, his artistic pieces capture the exquisite beauty he sees in nature.

“Living in Pennsylvania, we are surrounded by extraordinary natural beauty,” Peterman said. “There is so much to see, do and learn. I want to make the most of my life and make every moment count. I never want to take anything for granted.”


Peterman file

Name: Ron Peterman

Age: 34

Residence: Nanty Glo

Family: Wife, Jessica; son, Adrian; and daughter, Camila

Occupation: Associate chief of pharmacy, Van Zandt VA Medical Center

Education: Bishop Carroll High School; University of Pittsburgh; Creighton University