Thursday, November 19, 2009

Florida reunion 2010 - including cruise - in the works

Judy Gibson Brumfield of Gainesville, Fla., and John Safran of Bradenton Beach are organizing a reunion in Florida for Gateway grads from the 1960s to be held in the fall of 2010.

They are aiming for a reunion cruise, but they need your input to get the best fares and to make decisions that reflect what the classmates want. And they need this information no later than Dec. 15, 2009.

This is only a survey to find out who might attend and whether they prefer a 3-night cruise, 4-night cruise or 2-night stay at a hotel.

For information, visit

Or contact Peggy Loughner Fisher, the Class of 1967 reunion chair, or Alana Miltak Baranick, class blog administrator, whose email addresses are provided in this blog's header.

Of course, I you know how to reach Judy or John, go for it!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Rory O'Leary: 1949-2009

Rory O'Leary, a beloved member of the Gateway Senior High School Class of 1967, died Sept. 18, 2009.

On the left is Rory's senior picture from the 1967 Portavian, our high school yearbook.

On the right is a snapshot of Rory that was taken during our 40th Class Reunion Weekend in 2007.

We're looking for more photos, comments, anecdotes and anything else we can get - even video - to incorporate into his online life story for our "Gators: Gone but not forgotten" tribute pages.

You can add comments to this post or send stuff to me (Alana Miltak Baranick) via email at


Saturday, September 26, 2009

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Mystery photo: St. Michael's Catholic School in Pitcairn?

As many of you guessed, this is a class photo (probably 8th grade) taken at St. Michael's Catholic School in Pitcairn of folks who, for the most part, went on to graduate from Gateway Senior High School. (See bigger photo in previous post.)

Let's break the photo down into sections to try to get a better look at these kids while identifying them.

In this enlarged portion of the picture are, left to right, bottom row: Billy Scherrah, Patty Gregg, Mark Waibel and Father Maher; second row: Sister Mary Brenda, Mike Cima, Kathie Mason, Larry Gisi and Janet George; top row: Ricky Siebert; Freda Litzinger, Wayne Rullo and the late Vicki Matakas.

Here are, left to right, bottom row: Mary Jane Di Cecco, Anthony Fasano and Jean Behe; second row: Becky Manovich, Ralph Jenko, Judy Gibson, Mark Wojton and Sister Agnes Louise; top row: John Safran, Gloria Solak, Charles Sipe and Teresa Shoup.

How well did you do in identifying these people?

Janet George (now Janet Knight), who provided this photo, isn't sure about Sister Mary Brenda. I suppose it has something to do with those fashionable outfits nuns wore back in those days.

I'm looking forward to hearing the "long story" about the "infamous" Sister Agnes Louise.

Janet reports that Becky Manovich moved to Minnesota soon after this picture was taken. Gloria Solak moved to California. Some of the classmates are still in touch with Gloria.

Does anyone know what happened to Patty Gregg and Jean Behe? Neither are pictured or listed with our senior class in the 1967 Portavian.

During our 60th Birthday Celebration Weekend in June, some Gateway/St. Michael alumni attended an event at St. Mike's. I've heard that Peggy Loughner Fisher took pictures that will be included in the reunion package she's assembling.

In the meantime, this blog is open to reports about that event, stories about St. Mike's (good or bad, including the one about the infamous nun) and other nostalgic photos, newspaper articles and memorabilia.

You can add to this discussion by using the "Comments" option below or by posting new blog items. (To obtain blogging rights, contact Alana Miltak Baranick at

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Who are these people?

Can you guess:
  • who these people are?
  • when, where and on what occasion this photo was taken?
  • and why members of Gateway Senior High School's Class of 1967 should care?
Answers will be coming soon. In the meantime, feel free to post your guesses below under "comments."

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

V. Lee Harrity found

It was great to see so many old classmates in June, but the one person who had been on my mind the most over the years was Mr. V. Lee Harrity. He came to teach choir at Gateway in time for us (11th Grade, I seem to recall), and I thought he was magic. He took a mediocre bunch of high school singers, and turned us into quite a finely tuned instrument, often challenging our comfort zone with very sophisticated pieces.

For senior year I was set on getting into the madrigal choir (more of that wonderful, challenging material), but it just didn't fit with my academic schedule, so I took mixed choir - I took it by the horns. I was lucky to assist Mr. Harrity a few times, and he taught me to conduct.

After the reunion, with the smart sleuthing of Phil Billings, I had his phone number, and gave him a call one evening. We knew that shortly after we'd graduated he'd married, they'd had a daughter, and he had a Christian choir that seemed very popular and respected. On the internet were also reviews of the choir from Texas, and that's where we found him.

He sounded very upbeat - exactly as I remembered him - and said he'd heard about the recent reunion. He indeed is still conducting his choir. I had a delightful half hour chat with him. The one sad note is the loss of their daughter to cancer just a few years ago. He remembered our class as being a particularly talented bunch of students. And he was very pleased to hear how music had remained part of my career.

In fact, in my building (Performing Arts Lodge, Vancouver) we're holding a first meeting on Thursday evening about forming an in-house choir (we have a theatre, and a garden, on our top floor).

And if the urge hits you, Phil and I have V. Lee's number.

After the reunion, I also heard from Amy (Brill) Rafferty - we've now tracked down 3/5 of the original Poor Boys from the Talent Troupe; the other we're in touch with is (Mag)Gie Parsons.

Ellie O'Day
survivor of the 2009 west coast heat wave

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Gators have coffee at Monroeville Mall - Saturday July 25, 2009

After the breakfast at Eat 'n Park (see previous post), Dana Comito, Larry Gisi's family, and I met at Gloria Jean's Coffee Beans at Monroeville Mall.

It was a humorous hour-and-a-half visit. We had lots of fun scratching (and winning) lottery tickets.

If Larry's family hadn't been there (by chance) Ed (Janet's husband), Dana, and I would have been the only Gators to share coffee. Maybe we all have great karma.

It was an unbelievable accidental reunion with the Gisi's! That was the amazing discovery.

I had my Portavian, and Tawnie (Larry's wife) wanted to see a few pictures. Her Dad is such a happy, outgoing man. He went to an eyeglass store, but first asked us to stay until he returned.

We did some "scratchies", and Tawnie had to keep going back for more tickets that we had won!

Dana mentioned that she has been "all over" on business trips with her husband. However, she couldn't stay long.

I hadn't seen her for more than 42 years. We both attended St. Michael's -- along with Mike Cima, Artie Trunzo, Kathy Mason, Judy Gibson, Judy Miller, Mary Jane DiCecco, Mark Wojton, Mark Waibel, Ralph Jenko, John Safran, Anthony Fasano, and Freda Litzinger.

I was disappointed that Kathy and Freda just could not be in 2 places at the same time.

Breakfast at Eat 'n Park on Saturday July 25, 2009

Becky Richard-Maley (right), Tom Kunkle, and I (Janet George Knight) met at Eat 'n Park in Monroeville for a chat.

Becky attended the all-class Pitcairn High School reunion events during the week.

In the future, these Pitcairn reunions will be held every three years.

What luck! ! My two family reunions had been planned for the same weekend.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Remember Patti Bartels?

Judy Gibson Brumfield writes:

Patti Bartels McClung and I met after 43 years on Sunday in Daytona and talked non-stop for 8 hours! It was so good to see her.

She left Gateway in 11th grade to move to Murrysville and then to Atlanta, so she did not graduate with us.

Pictured here are Patti, left, in blue, with Judy, right, in red.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Breakfast at Eat 'n' Park before coffee at the mall

Kathie Mason Bolton asked that we post this as an extension to Janet George Knight's previous post about the coffee:

Eat 'n' Park at 9, and Gloria Jeans for coffee at 10.

Have fun, Gators!


Hi Gators,

Some of us are planning to meet at Gloria Jean's Coffee Beans (I assume it's still there.) in the food court at Monroeville Mall on Saturday. I want to be there around 10:00 or 10:30 ish. If you are in the area, please come by and visit. You may want to bring your favorite photos to share and a camera. Look for any of the above faces. Janet George Knight

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Would you believe? More Birthday Pix!!!

Joyce Crispin Johnston, pictured here with her arm around Wendy Cook Bair's shoulders, and her husband/classmate Rick Johnston, wearing glasses and pictured below with Mark Waibel, understand that it's not too late to send pictures from the Gateway Class of '67's 60th Birthday Weekend. Take note, Gator shutterbugs!

The Johnstons traveled from Lantana on the Atlantic coast of south Florida to celebrate our collective birthday.

Rick and I had a great time, Joyce reports.

The photos above and the one at the right depicting (left to right) Bonnie Gardner Hillier, Ellen Lewis, Ron Quaglia, Cheryl Lang Powell and Judy Duffy Roman were taken at D'Imperios on Fri., June 5, 2009.

This photo of three lifelong friends was taken at the Wooden Nickel on Sat., June 6, 2009.

Joyce explains: The one picture with me in the middle is of Sherry Jacobs Kline (on left) and Christine Grey Davis (on the other side).

Sherry didn't graduate with us but went to school with us all from 2nd grade til her family moved after the end of 9th grade. She attended another reunion many years ago and knew some of those who attended the party.

The three of us lived in Turnpike Gardens and played together all the time.

I met Sherry in 2nd grade and Chris in 3rd grade.

I keep up with Sherry twice a year on our birthdays. It was great having both attend the party.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Battle Hymn of the Baby Boomers

This video, which Jay Lehman found, seems appropriate for Gators who have turned or are about to turn 60.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Gators' 60th Birthday Weekend photos and thoughts from Donna Fisher Wiley

Donna Fisher Wiley, the Gator gal in bright blue on the right, did the smart thing camera-wise. She handed her camera to someone else to preserve moments to remember from Gateway Class of 1967's 60th Birthday Celebration Weekend in Monroeville, Pa., June 5-7, 2009.

Here, whoever served as photographer, captured Eileen Ruffner Baca, immediately to Donna's right in the picture above, in a laugh-out-loud moment during the Friday night gathering at D'Imperios. Also laughing it up are Joyce Crispin Johnston, with her arm around Eileen, and Janet Bova Sieracki.

Donna, pictured above left with Wendy Cook Bair and above right with Marti Wilkinson at the Friday night kickoff to the reunion weekend, says: I haven't been in touch with any of my classmates since graduation.

After the 40th reunion emails, I was able to contact several of my close high school girlfriends through email and was excited to get to see them at the 60th birthday blast.

Pictured right are Kathy Casper Faix, Judy McCluskey Crookston and Donna at D'Imperios.

Donna added: I spent all my time with them and enjoyed every minute of it.

I would have loved to have seen Jerry Mason, Vicki Hollibaugh and Phyllis Furlow.

But my time with Kathy Casper and Eileen Ruffner will always be treasured.

Donna, who posed with Kathy, above, and Eileen, right, at the Gators Breakfast Club's Saturday morning meeting at Denny's Restaurant, also said: I was amazed at how the gals aged so beautifully and were as nice as they were in high school.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Gators Golf Outing, June 6, 2009

Sam Viggiano took these pictures at the golf outing he arranged for Gator golf enthusiasts during the Gateway Class of '67's 60th Birthday Celebration Weekend.

As usually happens with the person taking the photos, Sam didn't have a picture of himself on the golf course. At least, he didn't share any with us.

Above are Bob Conley and Paul Krusey, cruising the beautiful, well-maintained Willow Brook Country Club course in the woods of Apollo, Pa., where Tom O'Brien is a member.

The Gator Golfers teed off at 10:30 a.m. Here, Jay Lehman, Tom O'Brien and Rick Johnston lean on their golf clubs to keep themselves upright at such an early hour after the fun-filled festivities of Friday night.

Sam Viggiano was kind enough to loan his father's set of clubs to Jay, who traveled from Arkansas. Tom, Rick and Sam were on the Gators golf team in high school.

Here's a better shot of Paul Krusey and Bob Conley with Larry Gisi.

Jay Lehman says: Thanks to Jan Krusey for allowing Paul to play for the 5th consecutive day.

Here are Rick Johnston and Tom O'Brien, two 1967 Gateway grads who have the distinction of having married '67 Gator gals. Rick and his wife, the former Joyce Crispin, traveled all the way from Florida for the weekend celebration. Tom and his wife, the former Linda Pitlock, didn't have as far to go. They live in Apollo.

As for the Gators' golf game, Jay Lehman reports: Sam had several great putts, particularly on the back 9. Tom was very good and gave us a golf lesson. Has Jay ever played this game before? No animals were injured in this event, and a rare birdie was scored.

Sam Viggiano says: The golf was fun. The scores were in the mid-80s and 90s, so we don’t have to worry about anyone turning pro. It was great fun, and I can’t wait until we do it again - hopefully with more players.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Kathy Casper Faix's pictures from our 60th

Kathy Casper Faix, pictured here with Lou "Junior" Ventresco in front of a Gateway memorabilia display on Friday, June 5, 2009, provided even more photos from the Gateway Class of '67's 60th Birthday Celebration Weekend. Please let us know if you've got classmate photos to share.

Kathy echos what most classmates had to say about the weekend celebration: I am so glad that I was able to make it this weekend. It was so much fun meeting with everyone and catching up.

And our collective regret: I did not get to see everyone.

Kathy, shown here with Donna Fisher Wiley (center) and Joyce Crispin Johnston (left) (Janet Bova Sieracki is in the background), said: I spent alot of time with Donna Fisher. She and I were best friends in high school and had lost touch over the years. I got her email address after the 40th reunion, and we have emailed regularly. This was the first time we were able to actually visit with one another.

Thanks to the efforts of the reunion committee and other diligent classmates (including Kathy), who have been trying to locate all 500-plus members of the Class of '67, Kathy says: I found Mary Guzzo, who was my maid of honor in my wedding. We lost touch when she got divorced, and I had no idea how to get in touch with her. I found her on our email list as well, and so I was able reconnect with her. And it was like we just saw each other last week. We never shut up. Ha, ha. (Pictured here are Mary Guzzo Myers and her husband, Rich Myers, the most elegantly dressed man at the Friday night get-together.)

Kathy added: I was also glad that I was able to talk Janet Bova into coming and Dana Comito. Pictured here are Mary Guzzo Myers, Judy Gibson Brumfield, Eileen Ruffner Baca and Janet Bova Sieracki at the Friday night gathering.

Below is Dana Comito Narey, left, with Peggy Loughner Fisher, Eileen Ruffner Baca and Donna Fisher Wiley at the Sunday morning Gators Breakfast Club on June 7, 2009. (Denise Thompson Matthews, largely unseen, is seated to Dana's right.)

Kathy also hopes to reconnect with Janet Bole Wermager, who didn't attend.

We all talked of her and wanted her to be there as well.

(Are you reading this, Janet? Want to reach Kathy and company? Write a comment on this blog or use the contact information at the top of the page.)

A party atmosphere prevailed at the Friday night gathering at D'Imperios as Sandy Truxel Croft, Eileen Ruffner Baca, Ron Quaglia, Cheryl Lang Powell and Dianne Ilgenfritz Brudney, pictured here, can testify.

These Gator Gals got silly for this photo as Sandy Truxel Croft covered her face and head with a scarf or veil and Kathie Mason Bolton (standing) and Judy Duffy Roman (far right) joined in the merriment.


Peggy Loughner Fisher, our fearless leader;

John Kudravy with Paula Nuchols Carrera;

Kathy Casper Faix and Janet Aker Mazzotta, center, with Bob McFetridge (left), Bob Conley and Sam Viggiano (in red);

Judy McCluskey Crookston and Donna Fisher Wiley with Judy Gibson Brumfield in the background.


Phil Billings and Alana Miltak Baranick, left, at breakfast on Saturday, June 6, 2009;

Eileen Ruffner Baca and Donna Fisher Wiley, below, share a moment on Sunday, June 7, 2009, that made them (and the classmates who witnessed it) weep.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Sunday Breakfast Club

Fourteen classmates from Gateway's Class of '67 managed to make it to breakfast at Denny's Restaurant in Monroeville, Pa., on Sunday, June 7, 2009 - the morning after our collective 60th birthday party. Pictured above are (seated, from left) Dot Borst Miller, Ellie Claitman O'Day, Peggy Loughner Fisher and Alana Miltak Baranick; (standing, from left) Kathy Gossar McCormick, Mike Cima, Kathie Mason Bolton, Judy McCluskey Crookston (making rabbit ears above Peggy's head), Tim Billings (making rabbit ears above Judy's head), Becky Richards-Maley, Jay Lehman (head-and-shoulders above everyone), Linda Shoop (in green and white), Mark Waibel and Ellen Lewis.

Peggy's husband, Mike Fisher, Gateway Class of 1965, could be found lurking in the corners (as he is here, standing behind Ellie Claitman O'Day) and other places, ever ready to preserve pictorial memories of the weekend's activities.

Tim Billings, below, is ever ready to take off from his home in New Jersey to meet with classmates. Here we find him in a rare moment in which he isn't hugging one of us.

Mark Waibel and Linda Shoop, who looked way too fresh and bright-eyed for a morning after, were enjoying breakfast and connecting with fellow Gators, as were Kathy Gossar McCormick and Tim Billings whose faces are not visible in the background, when this snapshot was taken.

Here's a better view of Kathy Gossar McCormick (left) with Peggy Loughner Fisher (center) and Becky Richards-Maley, right.

PITCAIRN BLONDES: Becky Richards-Maley, a Pitcairn native and resident of Nevada, and Kathie Mason Bolton, who still lives in Pitcairn, share what appears to be a serious moment.

Much less serious were Peggy Loughner Fisher and Jay Lehman (above), Jay and Judy McCluskey Crookston (below) and the three of them in the remaining series of Gators Breakfast Club snapshots.

As the Gator gals lavished affection on Jay, our gun-toting Gator from Arkansas said, "This is heaven!"

Most of us can share that sentiment in evaluating the entire 60th Birthday Weekend. Kudos to the reunion committee.

We're looking forward to our next class gathering, which will likely be a picnic in the summer of 2010. Maybe at Kennywood!!! Mike Cima is our picnic coordinator.

Peggy and her Mike (Fisher) took a gazillion other pictures over the weekend, including some at the St. Michael Luncheon on Saturday. Peggy is putting together a DVD to music like the one she made of our 40th reunion, but it won't be ready for a few months.

The cost for the DVD is $15. She also will take orders for 8X10 class pictures from the Friday and Saturday night events, also at $15 apiece. Place orders by contacting Peggy. When ordering the class pictures, specify whether you want the Friday picture, the Saturday picture or both.

If you'd like to post class-related messages or photos on this blog, please contact Alana Miltak Baranick at