Thursday, December 11, 2008

Another former classmate passes away

JAMESTOWN, New York, USA - Sue Siecker sent along a copy of this obituary for Diane Whitermore, who Sue says went to school with us for awhile, but didn't graduate from SWCS.

I wish I could post some good news here, and not just these kind of notices. But news is news, I suppose.

Thanks Sue, for sending it along.


Diane Whitermore

Diane S. Whitermore, 60, of Schofield, Wis., formerly of Jamestown, N.Y., died at 4:50 a.m. Wednesday, Dec. 10, 2008 at Aspirus Wausau Hospital, after an unexpect-ed illness.

She was born March 17, 1948 in James town, N.Y., the daughter of James Gustafson and the late Carol Gustafson.

Diane was a graduate of Jamestown High School and a graduate of Rafael School of Beauty. She owned and operated a beauty shop in Gerry for many years. She was a member of the American Legion Post 25 in Lake Placid, Fla. She most recently worked for Sam's club in Rib Mountain, Wis., in charge of the membership desk.

Diane enjoyed her grandchildren, cooking, baking, camping, spending time with her dog Lady, and crocheting. She was a loving and devoted wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, daughter, and friend who highly enjoyed spending time with her family especially her grandchildren and great-grandson.

Surviving is her husband of 41 years, Fredrick L. Whitermore Sr., whom she married Sept. 16, 1967 in Lakewood, N.Y. Also surviving are her father, James Gustafson of Richmond, Va.; two children; Fredrick Jr. (Patricia) of Lake Placid, Fla., and Joy (Matthew) Olmsted of Wausau, Wis; four grandchildren: Gordon Ellery III and Daniel (Melissa) Ellery), all of Lake Placid, Fla., and Matthew and Madison Olmsted of Wausau, Wis.; and one great-grandson, Payton Ellery of Lake Placid, Fla. She is also survived by three sisters: Nancy Roselle of Lake-wood, N.Y., Connie (William) Sexton, of Rich-mond Va., and Bonnie (Robert) Murphy of Melbourne, Fla.

She was preceded in death by her mother; Carol Gustafson who died Oct. 4, 2004.

A memorial service will be held in the spring in Schofield, Wis.

Memorials may be made to the Aspirus Palliative Care Unit, 333 Pine Ridge Blvd. Wausau, WI, 54401 and your local chapter of the Children's Miracle Network.

On-line condolences may be given at www. brainard

Monday, December 01, 2008

Former classmate Dick Popowski dies at age 62

JAMESTOWN, New York, USA - Dan Beckstrom sent along the sad news that Dick Popowski, a classmate of ours who disappeared from our class around 7th grade or so, has passed away.

Dick Popowski was a friend of mine when we were in 6th grade, as he was with Dan Beckstrom. I lost track of Dick while we were in junior and senior high school until the late 1960s when I ran into him at the Hideaway Restaurant on Fairmont Avenue when I dropped in for a beer.

Dick told me an incredibly funny - and pretty filthy - joke about a dog.

I still tell it occasionally, though my wife is furious when I do tell it in mixed company. (No, not people and dogs...)

I sometimes wonder about other classmates who have disappeared at some juncture. Somehow Dick Popowski led me to thing about a fellow named Dan Ryan... I remember him playing football and also spending part of a season on the wrestling team.

Below is Dick Popowski's obituary from the Post Journal.

Obituary from the Jamestown Post Journal

Richard F. Popowski, 62, of 37 McKinley Ave., Jamestown passed away at 11:14 p.m. Saturday (Nov. 29, 2008) in WCA Hospital after a brief illness.

A life long area resident he was born June 22, 1946, in Jamestown, the son of the late Chester F. and Doris M. Silk Popowski.

Richard attended Southwestern High School and was currently employed by Ohio State Security, Bush Industries.

He loved to spend time with family and friends, and his dog Brandi. He also loved fishing, woodworking, baseball and was an avid Red Sox fan. Richard will be sadly missed by his family and by all who knew him.

Surviving are a sister, Diane Rickard of Pensacola, Fla.; two brothers, Douglas Popowski and Scott Popowski, both of Jamestown; a niece, Robin Curtis of Celoron; a nephew, Randall Rickard of Pensacola, Fla.; and a grandnephew Matthew Rickard.

He was preceded in death by his father on Jan. 4, 1976 and his mother on May 24, 2002.

A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Tuesday in the Falconer Funeral Home. The Rev. Robert Lewis will officiate.

The family will receive friends one hour prior to the memorial service.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be donate to the Chautauqua County Humane Society, 2825 Strunk Road, Jamestown, NY 14701.

SWCS wins state football championship



Best In The State

Southwestern Cruises To Class C Crown

By Scott Kindberg
POSTED: November 30, 2008
SYRACUSE - Southwestern linebacker Ryan Buzzetto couldn't describe it.

Croton-Harmon coach John Catano was at a loss for words, too.

But, courtesy of a 70-second stretch in the second quarter in which they scored three touchdowns, the top-ranked Trojans seized control of Saturday's New York State Public High School Athletic Association Class C championship football game en route to a dominating, 35-7, victory over the Tigers at the Carrier Dome.

''In a game like this, momentum is going to be a killer,'' Southwestern coach Jay Sirianni said. ''We grabbed it and didn't let go of it.''

As a reward, the Trojans returned home with a plaque that signifies them as the best Class C team in the state.

No one would dispute it.

Junior running back Zack Sopak, the game's Most Valuable Player, threw for two touchdowns and ran for one; sophomore John Mistretta, the most valuable offensive back, rushed for 92 yards and a score; and the defense did the rest to secure Southwestern's first state football title.

''This is for every person who ever played at Southwestern,'' Trojans coach Jay Sirianni said. ''That's what makes it special for me.''

There was nothing particularly special early on as the game was scoreless in the first quarter. The Trojans - behind the running of Sopak, Mistretta, junior Levi Bursch and senior Eric Mazgaj - mounted a 10-play, 64-yard drive, capped by Sopak's 20-yard touchdown pass to Bursch in the right flat. Senior Dan Imfeld, who had missed a 30-yard field goal in the first quarter, booted the first of five successful extra-point tries to give Southwestern a 7-0 lead with 6:36 remaining in the first half.

It didn't take long for the Trojans to find the end zone again.

How does 14 seconds sound?

On the first play from scrimmage, the Tigers fumbled, thanks to a hit from junior defensive end Corey Carlson. Buzzetto scooped up the loose ball and sped 29 yards for the touchdown, pushing Southwestern's lead to 14-0.

''It's one of the greatest feelings I've ever had,'' said Buzzetto, who led the Trojans with 10 tackles, including two for losses, one forced fumble and one sack. ''It came right to me.''

Added Carlson: ''I could not wipe that smile off my face.''

But there was more where that came from.

See CLASS C, Page C-2

From Page C-1

On the ensuing kickoff, Croton-Harmon fumbled again, Southwestern senior John Volpe recovered and, two plays later, Sopak connected with senior Andy Lata on an 11 yard TD strike.

In 1:10, Southwestern had scored three times.

''In a game like this, you can't have turnovers,'' Catano said. ''Unfortunately, we were on the receiving end.''

The Trojans' defense saw to that.

Armed with a 21-0 lead by halftime, the kids in red and white punished Tigers' quarterback Nick Mainiero and three other running backs, holding them to 199 yards in total offense, 48 of which came on a touchdown pass late in the fourth quarter.

''It's true what they say,'' Sirianni said. ''Defense wins championships and we had the defense to do it.''

Sopak and Mistretta added second-half touchdowns, pushing the lead to 35-0 with just under eight minutes remaining in the game.

For Mistretta, who averaged 9.2 yards per carry, it was especially gratifying.

''I told him that he had to go out and run with no worries,'' Sirianni said. ''On the biggest stage in New York, you have to run like this is your last game and, fortunately for us, he's got two years left.''

Added Mistretta: ''To have a couple carries the last couple games and then to come back with 10 carries feels great. To come out on top feels even better.''

Having that winning feeling again is not a reach. In fact, with many of the top players returning next year, it's not inconceivable that the Trojans could be back at the Carrier Dome a year from now.

One of the returning players will be Sopak, who has been named an MVP each of his last three playoff games. Against Croton-Harmon, he completed 5-of-7 passes for 92 yards and rushed 12 times for 77 yards.

''It's not all me,'' he said. ''I have a great supporting cast around me, but when the game's on the line I know I have to make plays.''

The ability to make plays - on both sides of the ball - was common for Southwestern.

''We came out and proved that we should be No. 1 in the state,'' Sopak said.

When asked how he feels about having two champs in the same Chautauqua County neighborhood - nearby Maple Grove crushed Moriah, 55-7, for the Class D crown - Sopak smiled.

''It's a huge deal for Chautauqua County,'' he said. ''We both had great teams this year and we could have great teams next year, too.''

NOTES: Croton-Harmon's lone touchdown came when Mainiero hit Joe Tralli for a 48-yard touchdown pass with 4:30 remaining in the game. ... Other award winners were Bursch and Mainiero, sportsmanship; Southwestern's Drew Merchant, most valuable offensive lineman; Buzzetto, most valuable defensive lineman; and Moriah's Tom Moore, most valuable defensive back.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

LaScala restaurant burns - from the Post-Journal

The following story is from the Post-Journal, forwarded to me via Lee Johnson who had it forwarded to him from Sue Siecker.


A burned La Scala

A burned La Scala

JAMESTOWN, New York, USA - Had it not been for the woman who showed up Wednesday morning to clean, more than a building may have been lost in the fire that destroyed LaScala's restaurant.

That's according to Jerry Raab, the chief of Fluvanna Fire Department, who said late Wednesday afternoon it was the cleaning woman who saved the lives of the restaurant's owners.

''The woman saw smoke and woke the Seagren family up,'' Raab said. ''They were still sleeping at the time. Had she not done that, the family might not have made it out of the fire.''

Firefighters were called to LaScala's at about 8:15 a.m. Wednesday morning. When the call came in, Raab said he was just a short distance away from the restaurant. By the time he made it to the restaurant, heavy smoke was already visible from the structure.

''Once the family was woken up, Mr. Seagren found a fire extinguisher and tried to put the fire out, but he couldn't,'' Raab said. ''The family did get out - but when we were dispatched, we were told there might be people trapped inside.''

Two Fluvanna Fire Department firefighters were sent inside to look for anyone trapped, only to become trapped themselves.

''We sent two firefighters in to make sure everyone was out of the building,'' Raab said. ''After they were inside, the fire blew up from the basement and took out half of the stairwell so they couldn't get back down. I give a lot of credit to the Jamestown Fire Department for bringing in their aerial truck. They were ready to put it through an upper-story window so the firefighters inside could get out.''

The trapped firefighters were able to jump over the burned stairwell and get out, Raab said. Nobody was injured in the fire.

''All we lost was a building, and you can rebuild a building,'' he said. ''It was very intense, but we're thankful nobody was hurt. That's the biggest thing.''

Initially, firefighters laid two attack lines and tried an interior attack, Raab said. But at about 9 a.m., the fire came up into the dining room and kitchen and the floor collapsed. Firefighters were evacuated from the building and, after everyone was accounted for, Raab said firefighters regrouped for an exterior attack.

But because the first and second floors - and, later, the roof - collapsed onto the fire, Raab said it was difficult for firefighters to extinguish the blaze.

''Fresh fuel kept falling onto the fire, which kept it going,'' Raab said. ''We finally got it under control at about 3 p.m.''

Firefighters were still on scene after 5 p.m. Wednesday afternoon. A county backhoe was brought in to remove debris so investigators could have access to the structure's basement. Fluvanna firefighters were sent back to the scene at about 7:30 p.m. when hot spots rekindled.

''Now, the county fire investigator will determine the cause of the fire,'' Raab said. ''They need to start their search in the basement. Once that's finished, the owner will need to immediately demolish the building. It's a total loss.''

Responding to the blaze on Wednesday were 13 departments. They included the Fluvanna Fire Department, Jamestown Fire Department, Sinclairville Fire Department, Ashville Fire Department, Falconer Fire Department, Ellery Center Volunteer Fire Department, Chautauqua County Rescue, Gerry Volunteer Fire Department, Dewittville Fire Department, Bemus Point Volunteer Fire Department, Maple Springs Fire Co., Stockton Volunteer Fire Co. and Busti Fire Department.

Also responding was WCA Services, the Salvation Army, the FAST Team, the Chautauqua County Fire Investigator's office, the New York State Police, the Chautauqua County Sheriff's Department and fire police.

Raab credited firefighters with doing ''a really great job'' on the scene Wednesday.

''In this area, it's really unusual to see a fire take a big, well-known commercial structure like LaScala's,'' he said. ''The community lost an icon today, but it could have been much worse. On the whole, we were lucky.''

A Chautauqua County icon, LaScala's was known as one of the best locations in the county for fine dining.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Passing of Dave Bagley a reminder to live well

- The passing of winemaker and winery owner Dave Bagley, a neighbor really when I am living in Valois for the summer, is yet another reminder that living well, today (not tomorrow) is really important.
  • Dave Bagley obituary

  • And in living
    well, I mean enjoying what we have, loving the people around us, and not waiting until say, next summer, or next month, or next week, to make that phone call we have been putting off.

    In the last year, I had two elderly acquaintances pass away who - in both cases - I knew I should check in with to see how things were with them but, well, I was too busy.

    And, of course, too
    late, too.

    In Dave Bagley's case, his heart gave out. But I'll remember him sitting right next to me at his winery on my last visit in late August, chatting about Seneca Lake and how blessed he felt to be such a success and have so many good people around him.

    I'd write more, but I have a few phone calls to make, emails to write and even letters to pen.

    Dave Bagley
    Dave Bagley with his usual smile

    Poplar Ridge Wines
    Poplar Ridge wines

    Antlers at Poplar Ridge Winery
    Antler overs the bar at Poplar Ridge

    Saturday, September 20, 2008

    New athletic complex dedicated at SWCS

    SWCS ribbon cutting
    Ribbon cutting ceremony

    Years of hard work and dedication came together for Southwestern Central School with the opening ceremony of the new athletic complex.

    Thanks to the generosity of the community, and spearheaded by the Southwestern Schools Education Foundation, the taxpayer portion of the project ($590,000) was raised through a fundraising campaign that reached its goal at the end of June 2007.

    ''This was really an incredible effort on part of the Southwestern Schools Education Foundation, which is community members, who said when this got voted down six years ago, 'We have to do something for the school and the kids,''' said Jon Peterson, high school principal. ''They spearheaded the entire project, from the thought of it, to the fundraisers, to the designing of it and the celebration tonight.''

    ''It's really a great group of folks who care passionately about our school and our kids,'' Peterson said.

    Included in the $2.9 million dollar facelift is an eight-lane all-weather track (which will be completed later this fall), two new sets of bleachers, a new scoreboard, new fencing around the track, a new pole vault area, a new long and triple jump pit, an asphalt driveway from the school to the field, a parking lot for 50 cars and a new girls softball field.

    ''This is just phenomenal. I taught here for a long time, coached even longer. This is like a dream come true,'' said Tom Priester, Southwestern Schools Education Foundation board member. ''We've got some wonderful people in this community who are supportive of our school and the things that we're trying to accomplish.''

    The festivities will continue today, beginning with junior varsity and varsity midget football games at 1 p.m. The Lady Trojans will play a varsity soccer game at 5 p.m., followed by a boys varsity soccer game, any alumni who have played/performed at Lawson Field through the years are invited to assemble for a photograph. The day will be capped with a fireworks display after the soccer game.

    ''It's a great day for the school and the community,'' Victor Tarana, SSED board member said. ''It's very rewarding to see that something like this can be done. It's because the community, the school, the students, everybody came together and made it happen.''

    Saturday, August 30, 2008

    Millie Carlson - Randy's mom - passes away at 85

    LAKEWOOD, New York, USA - I received the news a couple of days ago that another towering figure in my upbringing has passed away, Millie Carlson.

    Ok, she wasn't towering in the physical sense - at least not standing next to Randy's dad, Art, or Randy.

    But she was a good lady to all us kids and knew a lot more about the shenanigans we were up to than she ever, ever let my mother (or other parents) know.

    She taught me how to make ice tea - not that wuss sun tea, though. She made the real deal where you throw about 20 Lipton tea bags into a pot of
    boiling water and let it all boil like hell for 10 minutes. Her recipe for ice tea makes Starbuck's coffee look like a sedative.

    By now Millie is singing with angels and has already found Art, out on the celestial golf course. They lived good lives and will be missed.

    Here is Millie's obituary from the Post-Journal:

    Mildred E. Carlson

    Mildred E. Carlson, 85, of 35 Gifford Ave., Lakewood, died at 7 p.m. on Wednes-day, Aug. 27, 2008 in the WCA Hospital.

    A Jamestown area resident most of her life, she was born March 28, 1923, in Brocton, N.Y., the daughter of Ernest and Eva M. Linner Erickson.

    She was the widow of Arthur G. Carlson, whom she married Nov.1, 1947 and died Nov. 8, 2007.

    Mrs. Carlson was a 1941 graduate of Jamestown High School, was formerly em-ployed in the U.S. Navy Office in the Resident Inspectors Office and for many years worked with her husband in their Nationwide Insurance Agency.

    She was a member of Gloria Dei Lutheran Church and was active in the choir and formerly was a member of Bethel Lutheran Church. She was also a member of Lion's Club Auxiliary and a volunteer at the WCA Hospital.

    Surviving are two sons: Randall A. Carlson of Lakewood and Gary W. Carlson of Denver, Colo.; a daughter, Janice M. (Rob) Crovo of Harwinton, Conn.; two grandchildren: Jonathan Crovo and Katie Crovo, both of Harwinton; a sister, Betty J. Thomas of James-town; and a brother, Herbert Erickson of Jamestown.

    Besides her husband, she was preceded in death by two sisters: Gladys Sandwick and Florence Barnes; and three brothers: Walter, Edward and Arthur Erickson.

    The funeral service will be held at 3:30 p.m. on Sa-turday in the Lind Funeral Home. The Rev. Timothy J. Hoyer, pastor of Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, will offici-ate. Burial will be in the Lake View Cemetery.

    Friends will be received from 3 to 6 p.m. on Friday in the funeral home.

    The family suggests that memorials be made to Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, 35 W. Fairmount Ave., Lakewood, NY, 14750

    Sunday, August 10, 2008

    Get those passports warmed up for the 2001 reunion

    VALOIS, New York, USA (August 10, 2008) - Somehow summer of 2008 got away from me and it went from June-to-July-to-August practically before I could grab a cold Molson out of my cooler.

    Maybe I grabbed a few too many cold Molson's and that's why my memory is getting soft.

    Where was I?

    In looking at the calendar, I'm not sure I'm going to be able to make a sojourn to Jamestown before I head back to California August 30, though with the Admiral leaving in a few days for Mexico, I might be able to slip out of town, house chores nonwithstanding.

    I know that Shirley Adams is in the area, as well as all of the Class of '66 who still hangs their hats there most of the year: Randy Carlson, Sue Guertin, Jim Lindell and too many others for me to list here. (I hear a Molson rustling in the cooler on the porch and must hurry...)

    Earlier today though, I received an email from Cathy Lindstrom saying that she had her passport in hand, which means of course that she is free to travel internationally in just a couple of years for the 45th reunion of the Class of '66 of SWCS.

    Cathy Lindstrom Prince
    Cathy at our 40th reunion

    Wahoo! Now I know we will have a class reunion of at least two of us in Mexico.

    When I get back to the Costa Alegre in Mexico in December, I'll start posting information about the place (beaches, etc) and maybe we can start making real plans for some kind of February 2011 soiree.

    In the meantime, if you don't have a passport, considering spending the money and get one. They are handy to have and get you through most airports a lot faster.

    Monday, July 07, 2008

    Hitting a dreaded birthday and counting summers

    VALOIS, New York, USA - A lot of the Class of '66 may have already hit the big 6-0. For me, it comes in just a few days (July 10) and while I haven't ever made much of a fuss about my birthdays, this one seems, well, more significant.

    I remember moving to Lakewood when my grandmother was in her mid-60s and wow was she old - rickety, crotchety, cranky, white-haired old.

    Does it hurt anybody else to look in the mirror some days?

    When I turned 40, I remember thinking, whoa! Same thing for 50. But 60? This birthday might take a little getting used to. How many summers more can I look forward to?

    (Do I dare eat a peach? Remember having to read T.S. Eliot in English class?)

    All of these kind of thoughts were banging around in my brain Saturday when I went to the Watkins Glen Race Track and marveled at the youthfulness and energy of the crowd. It probably didn't help that I had a world-class hangover from the July 4th activities.

    But as I was walking around I spotted a green 1965 Triumph Spitfire, a twin to the first car I ever owned. In fact, who knows, it could be the first car I ever owned, just restored. I can't imagine there are too many of those in circulation.

    Like all first loves, I remember the car quite fondly, even though it spent quite a bit of time in a shop down on Washington Street in Jamestown being fixed, draining away the money I was earning as a lifeguard at Lakewood Beach.

    Maybe for a 60th birthday present I should go shopping for another one. I think the Admiral would like it a lot better than any of the motorcycles I've been looking at buying.


    1965 Triumph Spitfire
    1965 Triumph Spitfire

    Wednesday, June 25, 2008

    Summer 2008 - time for a 'mini-reunion?'

    LAKEWOOD, New York, USA - The Admiral and I just finished up putting on a wedding in Valois for our son (and new daughter-in-law) and are making plans for a sojourn to the Jamestown environs for later this summer.

    Later? Good grief, it's almost July 4th weekend, which keeps me anchored here at Seneca Lake until right after that. Family, fireworks - all of that...

    Anyone have a suggestion for a good weekend in July or August for a Class of '66 mini-reunion? Maybe at the new and improved Surf Club or back at the SeeZurh House (that was a fun evening two summers ago).

    And does anyone know if the SWCS Class of '68 is holding a soiree this summer? We could tag along.

    Well, maybe, they are forever sophomores to our being seniors, right?

    In the meantime, I'll practice my waterskiing and dream of surfing.

    Surf's up at Chautauqua Lake
    Surf's up at Chautauqua Lake this summer

    Tuesday, May 27, 2008

    Photos of the progress at SWCS stadium

    JAMESTOWN, New York, USA - I received the photos below from Tom Priester, forwarded from someone else, of what I believe is the upgraded, updated, and upscaled stadium at SWCS.

    I'm emailing Tom this morning to see if I can get him to give me a brief written update on what's going on, which I will post right away.

    In the meantime, the Costa Alegre in Mexico is looking pretty good for our next Class of '66 reunion in 2011.

    Here's the pix:

    Grandstand 2
    Grandstand photo

    Grandstand one
    Another grandstand photo


    Wednesday, March 12, 2008

    Barra de Navidad - one place to visit at reunion

    BARRA DE NAVIDAD, Jalisco, Mexico - Out scouting for Class of '66 reunion spots (ok, I was having lunch with some amigos), it occurred to me that one place we should definitely spend some time is Barra de Navidad, about 10 miles from my home base in La Manzanilla.

    It has a lot of the tourist-town aura about it, but for any classmates who will want to shop for souvenirs of any kind, it's
    the place.

    I almost bought another hammock yesterday myself - and I have several!

    Admiral Fox says it is the place to purchase silver jewelry (and she has plenty to prove it) and it's where I purchased my straw hat - my patron hat.

    Here's two pix from Barra:

    Burros on parade
    Burros on parade during a fiesta

    View from Sea Master's restaurant
    View from deck of Sea Master's restaurant in Barra de Navidad

    Wednesday, February 27, 2008

    Guidance counselor Royce Mallory passes away

    LAKEWOOD, New York, USA - I received news today from Bob Swanson that former SWCS guidance counselor Royce Mallory has died.

    I didn't know Royce very well, though I saw him around the guidance office plenty. I needed lots of guidance.

    Interestingly, his next door neighbor in Lakewood was a fellow named Bud Storms, who told me (when I worked with Bud at a downtown Jamestown dental lab) that Royce was ruined by going to graduate school and learning to play the guitar.

    I say interestingly because music and guitar playing became his passion. So much for the wisdom of Bud Storms.

    Rest in peace Royce. Sing a duet with Joe Rushin for all of us.

    Wednesday, February 27, 2008


    Royce McKay Mallory

    Royce McKay Mallory

    2/24/2008 - Royce McKay Mallory, 74, passed away Thursday, February 21, 2008 at Select Specialty Hospital in Erie, Pa. He was born in Erie on September 18, 1933, to the late Royce Ryan and Nancy McKay Mallory.

    He grew up in Edinboro, Pa., where he was a three-sport athlete in football, basketball and golf for Edinboro High School. He was an all-state football selection his senior year in high school as part of an undefeated team. After high school he attended Edinboro State Teachers College where he again excelled as a four-year letterman for their football team on his way to graduating with a bachelor’s degree in history. He continued his education receiving his master’s degree in education from Columbia University in New York City, where he made many lifelong friends and memories while living a full year at International House in 1968.

    Royce married the love of his life, Jane Ellen Offensend, in June 1954. Together, they raised two boys, Sean Mallory of Edinboro, Pa. and Brian Mallory of New Fairfield, Conn. He is survived by his wife, two sons, two daughters-in-law, Terri and Patti, and five grandchildren that he loved dearly: Connor, Cailin, Ian, Garrett and Shane.

    As all that knew him would attest, he had a true passion for people. After starting his career as a history teacher, he soon found his calling in helping highschool students prepare for their future. He and his family moved to Lakewood, N.Y., in 1964 when he secured a position in the Southwestern Central School District as the guidance director. After two years as the principal of the SWCS High School in the early 1970s, Royce assumed the role of Director of Student Services for the balance of his career. He retired in 1988.

    In addition to his family and profession, Royce loved music and the great outdoors. He was an accomplished guitarist that was always ready to play for his church, a retirement home or a friendly neighborhood party. With his family and friends he traveled to every state on the U.S. main land and also drove to Alaska four times. His four- to six-week “summer journeys” were opportunities to spend time with those closest to him, meet interesting people in campsites across our wonderful country and fly fishing in some of the greatest streams in North America. Royce loved nothing more than getting young people excited about traveling and fishing. He and Jane spent the month of September fishing and hiking in Montana each of the last ten years.

    He was a member of the Lakewood United Methodist Church where he led the music portion of the early morning service for many years. He now joins his family and friends that have passed before him into the hands of the Lord. Those closest to him will think of him often particularly when they are on his beloved lake Chautauqua or on any fishing stream that in his words “brings us closest to God”. We love him dearly.

    A memorial service will be held on Tuesday, February 26, 2008 at 11 a.m. at the Lakewood United Methodist Church, 164 Shadyside Ave., Lakewood, N.Y.

    Friends may gather at the Glunt Funeral Home, 210 Erie St., Edinboro, on Wednesday, 6 to 8 p.m.

    Burial will be in Edinboro Cemetery at a later date. Memorials may be made to the American Lung Association, 3524 West 26th Street, Erie, PA 16506; or the Mallory Run Project c/o Sparky Jorton, 12069 Lay Road, Edinboro, PA 16412, or the Edinboro University of Pennsylvania Athletic Department, McComb Fieldhouse, 455 Scotland Road, Edinboro, PA 16444-0001. To send condolences please visit


    Coach - and teacher - Joe Rushin dies at 85

    PORT SAINT LUCIE, Florida, USA - I received word today from Sue Siecker and also from my sister Evelyn that Joe Rushin has passed away.

    Last year I wrote a piece about Joe, and how he had influenced my life - in good part by giving me a verbal boot in the ass on numerous occasions when I was slacking. And I was slacking. And his boot was pretty gentle, actually, all things considered. He knew my father had died and provided some of that stuff that dads do - like tell their sons maybe trying a little harder is not such a bad idea.

    Joe Rushin
    Joe Rushin in the early 1960s

    I knew him mostly as coach of the track team, arguably the only sport at which I had much success in high school. He wanted me to do everything and once insisted that I try the pole vault. He neglected to check out my biceps which were not up to the task of lifting my scrawny body over anything that high. So then he decided I was a hurdler. That didn't work that well either, but eventually he realized I could run like hell - for a short distance - and so I did the 100-yard dash and the 220 for four years.

    I still have the ribbons I won.

    Joe always brought his young son Randy to practices - he was just a little kid when we were in high school - and looking back, it was a measure of how good a dad Joe was.

    After his first wife died, he married SWCS librarian, Beverly Brownrigg, who I note from his obituary had been with him every day since.

    Miss Brownrigg - later Mrs
    Miss Brownrigg, later Mrs. Rushin

    I wrote to Joe last year at his Port Saint Lucie address but never heard back. I'll bet though, that he remembered me, he was that kind of guy.

    In our yearbook, there is a picture of Vern Ahlgren and Mark Swanson racing, with Vern's legs churning out yards against Mark's determination. I was standing nearby the day that photo was taken and can still hear Joe Rushin's voice urging both of them to beat the other, just as I can hear him hollering at me all the way across the football field, enunciating each syllable of my name: Fitz-Ger-AAAAALLLLLLLDDDD faster!

    Rest in peace Joe.

    Vern Ahlgren and Mark Swanson
    Racing to the finish - for Joe Rushin


    Joseph Eugene Rushin

    2/27/2008 - Joseph Eugene Rushin, 85, formerly of Lakewood, N.Y., died in Port Saint Lucie, Florida, where he has resided since 1982. He was born August 18, 1922, in Nanticoke, Pa., the son of Andrew and Francis Maksus Rushin.

    A veteran of World War II, he served as an officer in the United States Navy. He served in the Pacific Theater and was awarded the American Theater Ribbon, the World War II Victory Medal, the Asiatic-Pacific Theater Medal with three stars, and the Philippine Liberation Medal with two stars.

    He attended the East Stroudsburg Teachers College in East Stroudsburg, Pa., and received his bachelor of science degree from the University of Pennsylvania. He received his master of science degree from Rutgers University. He retired in 1982 as principal of Southwestern Central High School, after a 36-year career in education. He was a member of Saint Lucie Catholic Church in Port Saint Lucie, and was an avid wood carver.

    Surviving are his wife of 39 years, Beverly Rushin; two daughters: Christine Hessler of Bethel Park, Pa.; Carol Rushin of Golden, Colo.; a son, Randall Rushin of East Hampton, Conn.; and six grandchildren.

    He was preceded in death by his first wife and the mother of his children, Lillian Rushin in 1967.

    A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated at the Saint Lucie Catholic Church.

    A graveside service will be held at Sunset Hill Cemetery at a time to be announced by the Lind Funeral Home. Memorials may be made to Chautauqua Region Community Foundation c/o Southwestern School Education Foundation, PO Box 103, Lakewood, NY 14750.

    Friday, February 22, 2008

    Out scouting sites for next Class of '66 reunion

    TENACATITA, Jalisco, Mexico - For the past couple of weeks, I've been scouting some places for activities for the proposed SWCS Class of '66 reunion in 2011 here in Mexico.

    kind of ruled out Puerto Vallarta and Manzanillo and think that something right around this part of Mexico would work best. We have great airport access (40 minutes from my driveway), low prices at restaurants and bars (many of us are pensioners, after all) and plenty to keep us occupied.

    My connection in a local real estate office tells me we could rent several beach houses - all right in a row - and use them as a base of operations for whatever
    wild and crazy things a bunch of 60+ years old people would likely be doing.

    We can do ATV races on the beach right in front of the houses. Ok, maybe
    not that.

    But how about a coconut golf tournament?

    Below are a couple of photos from Tenacatita Beach, where I have a beach lot that may or may not have a house on it in the next few years. House or not, we are on good terms with the restaurant owners along the beach, which features a great snorkeling spot call the Aquarium.

    One site for Class of '66 reunion
    One beach to check out for Class of '66 reunion

    Near the aquarium
    Coming back from snorkeling at the Aquarium

    Saturday, February 02, 2008

    It looks like Mexico in 2011 for some folks

    LA MANZANILLA, Jalisco, Mexico - The poll closed early this morning (early for me, anyway) that I posted about the idea of having an SWCS Class of '66 reunion here in Mexico.

    And it seems like for at least 20 members of the class, it's a swinging idea.

    Here's the results:

    Mexico reunion poll results
    Polls results

    The colors are a little hard to read, but 19 people said 'Si,' a lot of people want to do it where I live here on Costa Alegre (fine with me, and can this town throw a party!). Only two folks said 'no.' Que lastima.

    Free tequila seemed like an incentive, too, and given that we have a distillery very nearby, well, lots of things are possible.

    That 45th reunion is three years away - but given how time has speeded up recently, I'll started talking with the queen of all class reunions (Cathy Lindstrom Prince) about how to get this thing off the ground. Or is on the ground?

    Hasta luego, amigos.

    Friday, February 01, 2008

    Time to vote on the next reunion

    LA MANZANILLA, Jalisco, Mexico - Amigos, I posted a poll at the left for people to indicate their preferences for a 45th class reunion.

    The poll will be open for 24 hours.

    You can vote for more than one category, so please vote early, vote often.

    Thursday, January 31, 2008

    Time to plan for the 45th reunion - in Mexico?

    LA MANZANILLA, Jalisco, Mexico - Blame it on the Mexican sun, the tequila, the warm salt water or perhaps the 60-cent tacos I eat for dinner most nights (two of which make a meal...), but Cathy Lindstrom-Prince and I are concocting a plan to hold the 45th reunion of the Class of '66 south of the border.

    Oh-my-God, you might be thinking.

    Look at it this way: Instead of waiting for June or July, perhaps have a reunion in, say, February - arguably the ugliest, coldest, least-hospitable month in the northeast.

    Think about it: In February of 2011, you could be in the top photo, or watching the waves (and for whales in the bay) in the bottom photo, sipping a special Fitz-blended margarita on my deck.

    Shoveling out, again

    View from rooftop
    View from the rooftop of Tenacatita Bay

    I know where I'll be. (At least I hope so...)

    True, it could be construed as a wacky idea. But think about this: Most of the members of the SWCS Class of '66 will be 63 or 64 years old that year. Social Security (if it's still pumping out dollars) will be going into most of our pockets. And how long do you wait to treat yourself to a nice winter vacation in a warm climate?

    Lots of details to work out, of course, but given that we are talking three years from now, I don't think anything is insurmountable.

    Hell, I might even have a bar & restaurant & small hotel up and running by that time out in Arroyo Seco. My son the financier has thrown in with us and wants to invest so he has a bar to go to in Mexico that he can call his own.

    Good grief.

    If it sounds interesting, email me - and/or Cathy, who says she's ready to get somewhere warm right now (and she lives in Georgia).

    Hasta luego, amigos...