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.