Tuesday, January 04, 2011

The SWCS Class of '66 Mexico reunion - what's up with that?

NUEVO VALLARTA, Nayarit, Mexico - For the past two years, I've been encouraging/touting/promoting a SWCS Class of '66 winter reunion here for our 45th class graduation anniversary.

And a few folks have responded, though it's unlikely the economy will call our class visitors a boom in tourism.

The dates when we will do some kind reunion - for whomever makes it - will be Feb. 11 to Feb. 25.

That's when Barb Bunce Garlock and her husband will be on scene in Puerto Vallarta. Everybody else, come on down...

This season, my wife Sylvia and I are splitting our time between Puerto Vallarta and our hacienda in Arroyo Seco, about 2.5 hours driving time to the south of here.


Well, our son is going through a divorce and fighting for child custody right now. In Mexico, family is everything and so our presence (we hope) will help tip the scale so he can have some custody of his two-year-old daughter, Sasha.

Given that our son is an American citizen, our grandaugther holds and American and Mexican citizenship, and the child's mother is a Romanian citizen, we might have to call in the United Nations to mediate.

But none of that affects my ability to mix margaritas and/or Cuba Libres.

Plus, we now have access to a panga (small boat) to tour Banderas Bay, arguably one of the most beautiful bodies of water in Mexico.

Here's a couple of videos I posted on another blog from tours of the bay.

Tom Priester featured in Jamestown Post Journal story

This story was sent to me today by Sue Siecker.

Thank's Sue!

It's from Monday's Post Journal and was written by retired Southwestern English teacher Sally Stauffer. 

Here is the link to the original story: Tom Priester story in PJ


Tom Priester is an interesting, compartmentalized man.

How he arranges his life in order to satisfy all the compartments is a story of its own.

He is a father, a coach, a USA Track and Field official, a retired and contented man, a grandfather (all largely the reason for the contentment) and passionate devotee of the local Joint Neighborhood Project. 

His days are spent sorting out the best ways to complete all the missions laid before him with these involvements but he is tireless and forever invigorated with what he does. Even as a septuagenarian and feeling like all retirees the inevitable bite of age nipping at his heels, he doesn't flinch for a minute at getting things done.
Tom Priester, back row on right

Tom retired in 1998 from three decades of teaching high school physical education at the Southwestern Central Schools. He says: "I loved every bit of it. I had good mentors like Naomi Berg and Flash Olson. I loved it that you get to see kids in physical education with their moods and their troubles. Sometimes you can help."

While teaching, he also coached tennis, boys volleyball, bowling, track and field and coached cross country for 45 years, ending with a league record of 410 wins and 255 losses for the boys teams. His girls teams were league champs for four years.

By far, the love of his athletic life at the moment is his involvement, for 25 years, serving as a certified track official with the USA Track and Field organization. He has proudly officiated at National Masters Meet, Regional USA Track and Field Championships high school championships and NCAA Divisional Championships, as well as World University Games and World Veterans Games.

In 2009 he received the Outstanding Service Award for the Niagara Association of USA Track and Field. As a track official, he must be certified every four years and the position as official is an unpaid one.

Part of what keeps him grounded with all these portions of his life is his own attitude, which he refers to as, "I get a feeling of great satisfaction in doing what I can do to help someone or aid an organization with its goals. I respond to any call for help and in doing so, can really feel good."

For many who have known Tom for all of his years here in the area, these are words of truth, for the man and for his goals and interests.
Tom has been married 45 years to a wonderful wife, Susan, and has two adult children. 

His six grandchildren, whom he sees regularly, are the sparkle in his life. His son, Dayne, lives in West Ellicott and three of the grandchildren, Eric, 14, Nathan, 12, and Sarah, 10, happily occupy a good bit of his time. His daughter Shannon, who lives in North Carolina, also has three children; Christopher, 21, Tony, 18, and Danielle, 12. He is able to do everything, in his words, with his grandchildren and revels in the opportunities. He and Sue hope to be great-grandparents, soon. Another uplifting part of his life is his 43-year involvement with Immanuel Lutheran Church.

Beyond his family, Tom's greatest involvement is with JNP, Joint Neighborhood Project. 

As all of Jamestown is aware, this is a valuable community resource. Tom has served on the board of directors for some time and cites Patty Perlee, JNP director, and Samantha Ellis, the Spanish Services navigator, as key elements of the success of JNP. He also mentions the board of directors, with John Saraka as president and Joe Pillittere as vice president, helping others on the board to do business. 

These other board members are: Jan Mara, Deb Pifer, Vicki Mason, Jane Lindboom, Tara Eastman, Sandy Merwin, Dave Anderson, Elsa Hern, Karen Rine and Kathy Robinson Jewell. The board helps to actualize the primary functions of JNP which are a Nearly New Store, a food bank, a summer camp, Live and Learn classes, a six-week summer recreational program for kids ages 5 to 10, the JNP Christmas Store for Kids and overall health promotion and protection. 

The JNP is helped by the United Way in its capital funding and many of the regional foundations, such as Chautauqua Region Community Foundation and the Lenna Fund, also provide support.

Monday, January 03, 2011

Mr. Calamungi - SWCS history teacher - passes away

This is one SWCS teacher I didn't have in my time there. I had Bruce Crist, Byron Windoff (sp?), Hubie Davis and, of course, the unforgettable Harold Burgard. And there was a fellow named Von Ryan, too, I think... And perhaps a Mr. Dominey (sp?)

I'm not sure Mr. Calamungi was teaching when the Class of '66 passed through the halls of Southwestern High School...

But here is his obituary from the Jamestown Post Journal.


Salvatore J. "Terry" Calamungi, 89, of 181 Dunham Ave., died Saturday, Jan. 1, 2011, in his home.

A native of Jamestown, he was born Dec. 12, 1921, a son of the late Vincent and Josephine Alessandro Calamungi.

He was a veteran of the U.S. Army Medical Corps serving during World War II and retired from the Army Reserve.

Following his graduation from Jamestown High School he went on to earn a bachelor's degree from Canisius College and a master's degree from St. Bonaventure University.

Prior to his retirement in 1982, he was employed by Southwestern Central School District as a history teacher.

He was a communicant of Holy Apostle's Parish Ss. Peter and Paul Catholic Church where he was active as a Eucharistic Minister and member of St. Vincent DePaul Society and church choir. His other memberships include the Celtics and Knights of Columbus, where he achieved Grand Knight status.

Surviving are his wife, Irene A. K. (Beer) Calamungi, whom he married Sept. 25, 1948; sons: Gottfried S. (Patricia) Calamungi, of St. Augustine, Fla. and Armando V. Calamungi, of Jamestown; granddaughters: Leslie A. Calamungi-Outten, of Orange Park, Fla. and Amanda Calamungi-Paddock, of Jamestown; and a great-granddaughter Nolianna Calamungi-Paddock.

He was preceded in death by two brothers: Armando and Joseph Calamungi, and a grandson Richard Vincent Calamungi.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 10 a.m. Wednesday in Holy Apostles Parish, Ss. Peter and Paul Catholic Church. Rev. Dennis W. Mende will be celebrant.

Burial will be in Holy Cross Cemetery.

Friends will be received from 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 p.m. Tuesday in the Lind Funeral Home where a Christian Wake Service will be led at 1:45 p.m.