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Bridgeville classes of 1956, 1957 explored |

Bridgeville classes of 1956, 1957 explored

John F. Oyler
| Monday, December 24, 2018 1:33 a.m

The Bridgeville Area Historical Society continued its series of “Second Tuesday” workshops this month with a discussion of the classes that graduated in 1956 and 1957. These were large classes, with 102 graduates in ’56 and 98 the following year.

Once again, there was a change in the football coaching staff as Harry Buzzatto took over for Cyril Lane, after serving as his assistant. Thanks to a well-maintained scrapbook belonging to ’56 alumnus Rick Rickenbach, we have a wealth of artifacts from that season.

After a rocky start, Coach Buzzatto’s squad put together a successful season which included wins over Scott Township and Crafton capped with a 22-0 rout of South Fayette.

On a sobering note, the facilitator showed a clipping reporting the death of ’47 alumnus John Schulte in a collision between two U.S. Air Force jets “seven miles in the air over Troy, Ohio.” The Cold War continued to take its toll on our young men.

Rich Ferris was president of the Class of 1956; Dolores Quaresima, May Queen. We were fortunate to have class member Jerry Pappert participating in the workshop. His comments were a major contribution to its success, especially when he reminisced on playing basketball against Don Hennon. Coached by Ray Donelli, the ’56 hoopsters won their section before losing to Wampum in the playoffs.

Also a member of the class was Francis “Cisco” Salizzoni. He majored in Business at Penn State, eventually became CEO of USAir and H & R. Block.

Thanks to the recruiting efforts of Diane Dolde (Franjione), the 1957 class was represented by five alumni in the workshop. In addition to Diane, they were Ray Browner and his wife, Patricia Altmeyer (Browner), Vera Rowlands (Kehm), and Rowene McDonald (Selva). Their comments really brought this class back to life. In addition, Mrs. Kehm showed off an original oil painting of the Bridgeville Public Library when it occupied the building that now serves as the History Center.

Led by Louis Russo, the football team turned in a very respectable performance, going 6-3. They were actually in the playoff picture until Chartiers pulled an upset, 24-7. A 14-0 win against South Fayette ended the season on a positive note. The basketball team was not so fortunate in Pat Malarkey’s inaugural season, amassing a 5-15 record.

Class officers included President Ken Bonardi, Vice President Ron Erbrecht, Secretary Judy McKee, and Treasurer Georgianna Chappel. Judy also was selected as May Queen. Marlene Brown was Maid of Honor; Patricia Altmeyer was in the court.

This was the second year of existence for the Chess Club. One of our “Hilltop” neighbors, “Teddy Godwin” was its Secretary; Gilbert Colussy was identified as Tournament Champion.

Next month, the Second Tuesday Workshop will discuss George Washington’s well-documented trip into the Ohio Country in 1770, a trip that almost certainly ended with his returning to Pittsburgh on the Catfish Path, two blocks from the History Center. It is scheduled for Jan. 8, 2019.

In February we will return to our trip through the history of Bridgeville High School, focusing on the Classes of 1958 and 1959. The series will conclude in April with the 1960 Class.

John F. Oyler is a contributing writer. You can reach him at 412-343-1652 or Read more from him at

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