Maria Remembers: Celebrating, reflecting during Women’s History Month

Maria Capolarella-Montante - Maria Remembers

Over 200 women gathered to celebrate the Feast of St. Patrick and Women’s History Month at the Greater Pittston Chamber of Commerce Women’s Network St. Patrick’s Dinner held at Fox Hill Country Club March 8.

In celebration of St. Patrick’s Day, “The Wearin’ of the Green” seemed to bounce off the walls, reflect on the faces and in the smiling eyes of women sporting the color.

The evening was festive and filled with laughter, conversation and for some, catching up on friendships.

Following a delicious dinner the atmosphere became tranquil, for it was time to focus on Women’s History Month and the Greater Pittston Chamber of Commerce Women’s Network Second Annual Distinguished Woman’s Award.

Women’s History Month began in Sonoma County, California in 1978, as a school district celebrated the first Woman’s History Week. Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah and Rep. Barbara Mikulaski of Maryland co-sponsored a joint Congressional resolution proclaiming a National Women’s History Week in 1981. Congress, in 1987, expanded the celebration to a month and March was declared Women’s History Month. Yearly the president of the United States of America signs a proclamation designating March as Women’s History Month.

The Greater Pittston Chamber of Commerce Women’s Network Distinguished Woman Award was established in 2015 as a “Celebration of a life lived as an example for the betterment of one’s self and for the good of others and the community.” The 2016 recipients are Edythe Kepics of West Pittston and Ellen Mondlak of Jenkins Township.

Edythe Kepics, an active volunteer throughout her lifetime, resides in West Pittston. She has raised a daughter and son, is a member of the Italian Christian Church, enjoys good health, walks each morning and most days, volunteers at the United Methodist Church Food Pantry assisting with the making of Welsh cookies, pies or pizza. During the flood of 2011, for 11 weeks Edythe helped serve lunch at the United Methodist Church and dinner at the Immaculate Conception Church where she earned the nickname, “Edythe from the flood.”

Ellen Mondlak, a Misericordia graduate, began her career as a teacher in Ashley. In 1966 she became associated in business with her husband Jerry at Mondlak Printery in Jenkins Township. She is the mother to two sons and a daughter, and she has seven grandchildren. Ellen is still active in her community serving in a political capacity and various organizations. She is a former president of the Pittston Memorial Library Board of Directors and is an avid member and volunteer of the Friends of the Pittston Memorial Library.

The honorees were presented a senatorial accommodation, a personal gift from the Women’s Network in addition to a check in the amount of $250 to be awarded to a charity of their choice. Edythe has selected the United Methodist Church Food Pantry while Ellen has selected the Friends of the Pittston Memorial Library.

The Distinguished Woman Award is presented in memory of Mary Boylan, first woman executive vice president of the Greater Pittston Chamber of Commerce, a visionary, who organized the Women’s Executive Committee to support and promote women in business and professions. Two members of the original committee were in attendance: Ann Postupack and Rosemary Dessoye, retired vice executive director of the chamber of commerce. At present the Women’s Network has a membership of 515 members.

Yearly during the month of March I have had the opportunity through this column to name a few notable women in our community.

This year I remember with a smile on my face in reverence and with a heavy heart those who have passed:

· Louis Uritz, my classmate, friend and elder of the Second Presbyterian Church in Pittston. She was filled with laughter and the love of God, and she shared it.

· Lena Parente, businesswoman, a warm, loving, generous personality that enveloped everyone with her deep love of God and Padre Pio. One never left the bakery without a hug and a fresh roll.

· Diane Tigue, wife and mother with a genuine caring that was shown in her beautiful smile and gentle manner. She complimented the office of her husband, former state Rep. Thomas Tigue, as she stood at his side.

Sending congratulations to Joan McFadden, grand marshal of the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Pittston. She is a loyal and longtime supporter of Pittston and the Jacquelines of the Knights of Columbus.

Happy Women’s History Month! Enjoy it, pass it on with dignity, humility and be a lady all the days of your life.

Maria Capolarella-Montante

Maria Remembers

Reach the Sunday Dispatch newsroom at 570-655-1418 or by email at

Reach the Sunday Dispatch newsroom at 570-655-1418 or by email at

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