Bridgeville High School in the late 1940s |

Bridgeville High School in the late 1940s

Three recent deaths and the donation of a collection of valuable artifacts to the Bridgeville Area Historical Society have influenced me to focus on Bridgeville High School in the late 1940s, a subject we have discussed recently in our series of “Second Tuesday” workshops.

Incidentally, we should report that the historical society has canceled the September “Second Tuesday” workshop because of a conflict with the annual 9/11 memorial service at Holy Child Church. We will be back on Oct. 9 with our review of the 1954 and 1955 BHS classes.

Arlene Scola Ellenberger recently donated an envelope full of photographs of BHS students in the years 1946 through 1949, which is a valuable addition to our archives. Arlene was an enthusiastic member of our 1949 class.

Most of the photographs are posed; there is a nice one of Arlene with her close friends Vivian Kirkpatrick and Loraine Andrews.

I was especially pleased to see a picture of five of my favorite 49er girls — Mary Fryer, Patsy Winnechuke, Dolores Kovach, Bonnie Engel and Ethol Snyder — each holding a single rose. I wonder what the occasion was; I would have been happy to present a rose to each of them.

There are, of course, pictures of boys in the set as well — a neat one of the Batch twins, Emil Codol, and Emory Barzan; one with Don Emma and Ron Lesko; a pairing of Al Bigi and Joe Stalma; and solo shots of Dick Rothermund and Fred Donelli.

Arlene has identified some of the people in the photos; John Rosa and I added a few more names. Next time you’re at the History Center, ask for the album and see if you can identify anyone else.

Our “Second Tuesday” workshop for July featured the graduating classes of 1952 and 1953. In the short time since then, three of the students we featured have passed away.

Arthur “Buzzy” Fryer and Armella Colussy Dozzo were stalwart members of the 1952 class; Ron Rothermund, of the 1953 class. I knew each of them when they were small children.

Although I had no contact with Buzzy as an adult, I was privileged to know Mell and Ron well in recent years, primarily through the historical society. Mell was a major influence in the development of the society, full of positive suggestions. She projected an air of dignity that infused everything she did.

I was closer to Ron than to Buzzy and Mell. When we were in high school, his brother Dick and I were best friends; I got to know Ron well.

In recent years, Ron became a fixture at our octogenarian brunches, and our friendship was renewed. I hesitate to suggest that old friendships are the most precious, but I certainly cherished this one. I am blessed to have so many wonderful “old friends” and it is particularly sad to lose this one.

As our group of Bridge­ville High School alumni continues to dwindle, it is more important than ever that we do everything we can to archive our memories. The collection of snapshots that Arlene donated is a perfect example of this — it is a nostalgic reminder of high school life 70 years ago.

John F. Oyler is a contributing writer. He can be reached at 412-343-1652 or [email protected] Read more from him at

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