1950 – 65 years ago
Famed Major League Baseball player and manager Bucky Harris was in town attending a reunion of the Pittston Orioles baseball team with whom Harris played with around 1914. Harris, a Pittston native, debuted with the Washington Senators in 1919, and played mostly second base with the team. As manager, and at the age of 27, he led the Senators to their only World Series title in Washington. By 1931, Harris retired as a full time player, and went on to manage the Washington Senators two more times, the Detroit Tigers twice, as well as the Boston Red Sox, Philadelphia Phillies and New York Yankees. Some of those attending the dinner were Frank Turon, Roy Speece, Oscar Renfer and “Dy” Hoban.
Corporal Robert Venetz of West Pittston, serving with Company C, 73rd Heavy Tank Battalion in Korea, jumped into action during a firefight near Hajangdong. After his gunner was overcome by fumes from the 90 mm gun, Venetz sprang from the driver’s seat placed the sick gunner there and manned the gun, destroying two enemy tanks. For his bravery under fire, Venetz received a bronze star for gallantry in action.
1960 – 55 years ago
The Dixie Teeners Dixieland band released their first two recordings on the Cool Records label. “Skeleton Jangle” and “At the Jazz Band Ball” received a lot of air play with the local DJs. With the average age of 15, the band members directed by Charles Masters had made over 130 appearances in a two-year period. Members of the Teeners were Alan Swantkowski, Billy Dorfman, Tommy Pirnot, Donald Miller, Steve Pregmon, Neil Pascoe, and Coleman Dirhan.
Ravaged by a fire, workmen began clearing the debris from the St. John’s High School lot to make way for constructing a new wing. The new section would replace the damaged third floor and connect to the sections that were salvaged.
The Sunday Dispatch Inquiring Photographer asked, “Does Thanksgiving hold any particular memories for you?” Joseph Lombardo of Lombardo’s Men’s Shop in Pittston answered, “My favorite memory was the Pittston St. John football game in 1955 when I, as a senior, played with Pittston High, we beat St. John’s 28-14. What I think was one of the best Thanksgiving games on record.” Guy Pisano of Pittston Township stated, “I went to Pittston Twp. High and played football, our season was completed before Thanksgiving. I always regretted that fact.” Scott Ellis of West Pittston, added, “I think people celebrate Thanksgiving in the wrong manner. They should to go church, give thanks for all the blessings they have.”
1970 – 45 years ago
“We’re number one!” was the battle cry of the King’s football team, after the Golden Knights were awarded the national club championship. Local players instrumental in the Knights winning season were P.J. Melvin, Pittston, assistant coach; Frank Delaney, West Pittston; Mike Mecadon, Pittston and Bob DiPasquale, West Pittston. Other squad members were Gene DeMinico, Pittston; Carl Wint, Wyoming and Don Brady, Pittston. The team was headed to Thibodaux, Louisiana, to play a bowl game against Nicholls State University.
Memorial books, “Roads of Destiny,” in memory of Laura Dershimer and “The Campaign that Won America,” in memory of Mrs. Emma Carpenter, were presented to the West Pittston Library by Dial Rock Chapter of Daughters of the American Revolution. “Pleasures of Archaeology,” in memory of Kenneth Patience, was given by Jean and John Ruddy.
Ed Paradis, of Pittston, was named to the All Conference Second Team in the Desert Football Conference of California. He was chosen lineman of the week for the third time. Paradis played high school football under coach Bob Barbieri prior to attending Palo Verde Junior College.
Joining the likes of famed local football stand-outs Charlie Turco and Sal Licata, Rex Revesz and Ed Pieczynski of Pittston Area and Jack Smith and Bobby Langan of Wyoming Area were nominated for the Pennsylvania Big 33 team, an all-star unit chosen annually by sportswriters. Simply being nominated for the team is held as quite an honor. Turco and Licata of Pittston Area made the cut in 1967.
1980 – 35 years ago
The cafeteria at Wyoming Area School District served over 2,400 turkey dinners, over 300 pounds of bread stuffing and 150 pumpkin pies for their annual Thanksgiving dinner in 1980. Harry Giacometti, balancing his duties as cafeteria manager, Spanish teacher and business manager for the school district, planned the meal with school nutritionist Winnie Tarrantino. Homemade candy consisting of chocolate, peanut butter and corn flakes was offered after the meal. If anyone knows the name of this sweet treat, call us at 570-991-6403.
Frank Chiumento of Pittston Township Police Department was recognized as being the top graduate of the 23rd class of Pennsylvania State Police Northeast Training Center.
This Day in History:
1542 — New laws are passed in Spain giving Indians in America protection against enslavement.
1963 — Lee Harvey Oswald assassinates President John F. Kennedy in Dallas, Texas. Lyndon B. Johnson becomes president.
1995 — The first feature-length film created entirely with computer-generated imagery – “Toy Story” – premiers.
Reach Judy Minsavage at 570-991-6403 or on Twitter @JudithMinsavage