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Monday, November 26, 2012

Judith Ann DeLanie Sunday

Judith Ann DeLanie Sunday

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Judith Ann DeLanie Sunday, 68, of Canonsburg, died Thursday, November 22, 2012. 

She was the loving wife of Richard B.; cherished mother of Christopher; dear sister of Robert and David Lynn DeLanie; treasured aunt; and friend of many.

Services are private. Arrangements are by Ball Funeral Chapel Inc., 412-343-1506, or

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Canonsburg Friend Joe Gowern Passes

Dick Garboski
Dick Garboski 11:45am Sep 15
Joe Gowern
February 1, 1937 - Sept 14, 2012
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Henry J. Dietz

Henry J. Dietz, 72, of Canonsburg, died Wednesday, August 8, 2012, in Family Hospice and Palliative Care, Mt. Lebanon.
He was born July 22, 1940, in Canonsburg, son of Henry and Naomi Carter Dietz.
Mr. Dietz was a 1958 graduate of Canonsburg High School.
He had worked for the family business, Dietz Bakery in Houston, when he was growing up and as a young adult. He then became a draftsman for Interstate Equipment Co. and for the past 10 years, he drove a school bus for Canon-McMillan School District.
Mr. Dietz was a member of North Strabane Township Volunteer Fire Department when he was younger.
He enjoyed the casino and playing penny slots. He loved his family and spending time with his grandchildren.
On September 5, 1989, he married Joann; Mrs. Dietz died July 31, 2012.
Surviving are a daughter, Deborah Pahl (Jeffrey) of Chicago, Ill.; three stepsons, Michael Furline (Adrienne) of Pittsburgh, David Furline (Gretchen) of Canonsburg and Daniel Furline (Faith) of Allison Park; two grandchildren, Thomas and Rachel Pahl; three stepgrandchildren, Toriana, Isabella and Rocco Furline; two sisters, Virginia Walker and Dianna Alderson, both of Meadow Lands; and a brother, David Dietz (JoAnn) of Canonsburg.
A sister, Amelia Alling, is deceased.
Friends will be received from 2 to 4 and 6 to 8 p.m. Sunday in McIlvaine-Speakman Funeral Home Ltd., Robert K. McIlvaine, owner/supervisor, 27 Cherry Avenue, Houston, PA 15342, where services will be held at 10 a.m. Monday, August 13. Condolences may be left by viewing the obituary at

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

4th of July "Chairs" Poll

Now that the parade chair issue has cooled down a bit... What do you think? Chime in and respond to the poll! 

What is your current view: 4th of July "Chairs"

Click here to register your Vote.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

My All-Time Pittsburgh Pirates Team

Deep Tradition, Legendary Players

Presenting the all-time Pittsburgh Pirates team:
Catcher: Jason Kendall (1996-2004)
Kendall was the face of a constantly rebuilding franchise and wore his heart on his sleeve every day he showed up to play. As a Pirate, Kendall sported a .306 average with 256 doubles, 67 home runs and 140 stolen bases. Pirate fans will never forget his dust up with the Dodgers' Gary Sheffield, which sparked a bench-clearing brawl. Kendall was named to three All-Star squads.
1st Base: Willie "Pops" Stargell (1962-1982)
Stargell was a seven-time All-Star and the 1979 NL MVP and World Series MVP. Always a leader in the clubhouse, Stargell was known for his tape measure blasts, including clobbering one out of Dodger Stadium that went 507 feet and having the only home run to reach the upper deck of Montreal's Olympic Stadium, which traveled 535 feet. He ended his career with 475 dingers, and would undoubtedly have had many more if he didn't play in the spacious Forbes Field for the first part of his career. Stargell won two World Series with the Pirates and was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1988.
2nd Base: Bill Mazeroski (1956-1972)
"Maz" was a 10-time All-Star and an eight-time Gold Glove Award winner and is best known for his 1960 World Series Game 7 walkoff home run in the bottom of the 9th vs. the Yankees, lifting the Pirates to a 10-9 victory and their third world championship. Mazeroski was so highly regarded as a fielder that players often showed up early just to watch him field balls in practice. In addition to winning the 1960 World Series, Maz was also a member of the champion 1971 squad. Mazeroski was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2001.
Shortstop: Honus Wagner (1900-1917)
Many baseball historians consider Honus Wagner to be he greatest shortstop of all time. Babe Ruth once said that Honus Wagner was the greatest right-handed hitter ever. Wagner sported a lifetime .327 average and won the National League's batting crown eight times. Wagner swiped 639 bases in his Pirates career and was caught stealing only 15 times. Wagner was a member of the 1909 World Series championship team and was elected into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1936.
3rd Base: Pie Traynor (1920-1937)
One of the greatest third basemen of all time, Pie Traynor was a career .320 hitter and had 1,273 RBIs. Traynor had such exceptional control at the plate that he only struck out 278 times in his 17-year career. Traynor was selected as a reserve in the inaugural MLB All-Star game in 1933. Traynor won one World Series title in 1925 and was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1948.
Left Field: Ralph Kiner (1946-1953)
During his career with the Pirates, Ralph Kiner was one of the lone bright spots on a perpetual losing team. As a Bucco, Kiner blasted 303 home runs, many of which were tape-measure variety. Kiner was basically the only draw for losing weary Pirates fans, and most of the stadium crowd headed for the exits as soon as Kiner took his final at-bat of the game. Kiner was a six-time All-Star and was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1975.
Center Field: Andy Van Slyke (1987-1994)
In a few years, this spot will be undoubtedly occupied by Andrew McCutchen, but for now, center field belongs to Andrew James Van Slyke. During his career with the Pirates, Van Slyke was a three time All-Star and a five-time Gold Glove Award winner. Basically, if you dared to take an extra base on Van Slyke, you'd find yourself gunned down the majority of the time. Blessed with speed and power, Van Slyke hit 117 home runs and stole 134 bases with the Pirates.
Right Field: Roberto Clemente (1955-1972)
One of the greatest players in history, Clemente was a 15-time All-Star and a 12-time Gold Glove Award winner. Clemente is considered to have the greatest arm ever, and was renown for firing balls from the right field corner to third base on the fly. Clemente finished with a .317 career average and 3,000 hits, his last a double in which he saluted an adoring crowd that gave him a long standing ovation. Sadly, Clemente was killed in a plane crash while trying to deliver aid to earthquake victims in Nicaragua on Dec. 31, 1972. Clemente won two World Series titles with the Pirates, was the 1966 NL MVP, the 1971 World Series MVP, and was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1973.
Bench: Barry Bonds (1986-1992)
Before becoming the face of MLB with the San Francisco Giants, Barry Bonds was a Pittsburgh Pirate, and one of the best players in Pirates history. While in Pittsburgh, Bonds belted 176 home runs, stole 251 bases, was a two-time All-Star, three-time Gold Glover, and the NL MVP in 1990 and 1992.
Bench: Dave Parker (1973-1983)
Dave Parker was the heir apparent to the legendary Roberto Clemente, and he did not disappoint. With the Pirates, "The Cobra" was a four-time All-Star, three-time Gold Glover, the 1978 NL MVP, and won two NL batting titles in 1977 and 1978. Parker was also a key member of the 1979 World Series champions.
Bench: Paul Waner (1926-1940)
One of the game's greatest hitters ever, "Big Poison" had a career .340 average, to go along with 558 doubles, 187 triples, and 109 home runs. Waner was the 1927 NL MVP and selected to four All-Star games. Waner was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1952.
Starting Pitcher: Deacon Phillippe (1900-1911)
Phillippe was outstanding a pitcher for the Pirates, going an impressive 168-92 with a 2.50 ERA. He has the lowest walks per nine innings in history -- an unbelievable 1.18. Phillippe was a member of the 1909 World Series championship team.
Starting Pitcher: Babe Adams (1907, 1909-1916, 1918-1926)
Babe Adams had exceptional control as a pitcher. His career 1.29 walks per nine innings is the second lowest average in the 20th century--next to another Pirate on this list, Deacon Phillippe. Adams went 194-139 with 1,036 strikeouts, 44 shutouts and a career 2.74 ERA. Adams collected two World Series titles with Pirates in 1909 and 1925.
Starting Pitcher: Wilbur Cooper (1912-1924)
Wilbur Cooper is the Pirates' career leader in wins, going 202-159 with an impressive 2.74 ERA. He also struck out 1,191 batters. In 1917, Cooper set what is still the single season team record with a 1.87 ERA.
Starting Pitcher: Bob Friend (1951-1965)
Friend may have only gone 191-218 with the Pirates, but the majority of the time he was on some awful Pirates teams. In 1955, he posted the best ERA in the NL (2.83), but only went 14-9, thanks to the Pirates finishing dead last in hits and runs scored. Friend fanned 1,662 batters, which is still the Pirates' record, to go along with 36 shutouts. He was a four-time All-Star selection and a member of the 1960 World Series championship team.
Starting Pitcher: Doug Drabek (1987-1992)
A key member of the Pirates rise to glory in the early 1990s, Drabek went 92-62 with a 3.02 ERA and was named the 1990 NL Cy Young Award winner.
Left Handed Specialist: John Candelaria (1975-1985, 1993)
"The Candy Man" was dominant with the Buccos, tossing a no-hitter on Aug. 9, 1976 vs. the Dodgers. Candelaria went 124-87 as a Pirate, with 1,159 Ks and 16 saves to boot. Candelaria was selected to the 1977 All-Star game and a member of the 1979 World Series champions.
Set-Up Reliever: Harvey Haddix (1959-1963)
Haddix is best known for throwing a perfect game through 12 innings before the Pirates fell to the Milwaukee Braves in the 13th inning, thanks to an error, a sacrifice bunt, an intentional walk to Hank Aaron, and then a double by Joe Adcock that delivered a 1-0 victory for the Braves. Haddix went 45-38 as a Pirate, and was the winning pitcher in Game 7 of the 1960 World Series vs. the Yankees. Haddix was a a three-time All-Star and a three-time Gold Glover.
Closer: Elroy Face (1953-1968)
The career leader in saves for the Buccos with 188, Face was a six-time All-Star and a world champion in 1960. Face went 100-93 with the Pirates, including a remarkable 18-1 record in 1959. He finished with 842 strikeouts.

Monday, July 23, 2012

West View Park

I grew up playing at West View Park, located, more specifically in Bellview, Pennsylvania. I was born in 1955, and began attending picnics and ticket giveways at or around 1965. The Thoroughfare grocery store chain use to provide its shoppers with West View tickets upon the purchase of groceries. On top of that, my families' friends worked for Thoroughfare Grocery Stores and so on Thoroughfare days, we had so many tickets that we could not exhaust them by riding any and all rides in the Park: Boot Hill, the Swings, racing "whippet" (two (2) set of cars on roller coaster tracks that raced each other), the big roller coaster, bumper cars, ferris wheel and an assortment of other rides that drew the attention of running, screaming, pubescent youth. Also, for the post-modern greaser - mid-1960's to early nineteen seventies, there was the grand concert hall equipped with a dancing floor where couples could still swirl around to the big band sounds of Glen Miller and Tommy Dorsey.
My last memory of West View was, in fact, around 1977 when a buddy and I strolled through the park at mid-night while the park was in the midst of deconstruction. In 1977, I had not been to West View for probably 7 years, I was 22 y.o. and walking through the park at that time of night was eery, running into all those memories, phantoms and ghosts of the Park that survived the development that concluded with West View being wipped out.
In those days, there were Kennywood families and West View families. It seemed that families attended either one or the other: no family played at both parks. Kennywood was located in East Pittsburgh while West View was North and West, pretty much diametrically opposed in geography.
-Some memories from a West View Childhood

Loved West View Park from late 1950s to 1966 when we moved to Denver, CO

I especially loved the roller coaster and train. Were there ever any collisions at the railroad crossing right under the roller coaster? Loved their homemade railroad crossing signals (o)=(o)  and bell.

Would loved to have explored the park when you did when sadly closing.

I remember the haunted house ride, where your car exited outside on the second floor and went back in.
Always wanted to know the layout of the track inside.  Could not get a good grasp of it while riding the ride in the dark.

In the house of mirrors, my friend Bob Haase smacked right into a clear panel of glass that he did not realize was there. Then I saw my reflection in a mirror and noticed that I looked so awkward and lanky and limp-wristed while laughing at him. Embarrassing.

What happened to the trolley tracks that were north of the park?

Wish we had taken pictures.  But back then, they were expensive and we never did.

Thank you,

Robert Gift
Denver, CO

I saw your page on West View & took exception to the the portion about West View & Kennywood people not visiting both parks.  For about a 5 or 6 year stretch, my family visited both parks.

I grew up in Canonsburg.  My father worked for McGraw Edison Power Systems Division (now Cooper) & the company often had the summer family picnic @ West View.  I saw the The Jaggerz and Diamond Reo in the ballroom but on different weekends.  BootHill was always one of my favorite rides just for the hokie gore.

Canonsburg held the Community Days Family Picnic @ Kennywood generally around the 4th of July.  We usually went to Kennywood for Bridgeville Days also.

I always enjoyed West View & was sad to learn that it closed.

Richard Saut
Robesonia, PA

Monday, July 9, 2012

Canonsburg of 1906

1906 photograph of West Pike Street looking eastward toward the intersection with Central Avenue.
Canonsburg 1906 - Estep
Click on picture to Enlarge

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Monday, June 11, 2012

A doo wop Pittsburgh oldies ballad - High on a Hill --

 This is when music sounded like Music.  Check this out.  Hi to everyone.  Enjoy The music.  I baby sat for 'THE JAY BIRD', JAY MICHAEL after I graduated.  Remember him?  His wife Evelyn & I used to get a baby sitter to watch the three kids and she & I would drive to' The Holiday House' and see the Four Aces,  The Four Lads  - sat with their wives.  Jay would M-C the shows on Saturday nights there.   I miss those days. 
I got this from Donald DeGennaro's wife Elinor, Thought you would like to listen to this and the others on this youtube.
Happy Fathers Day to all you  Dad's
Norma Jean Pagano

Friday, June 1, 2012

Do you remember Jesse Knotts of Morgantown WV

Let me tell you about Jesse. 
First of all, he hated his job. And you would too, for Jesse was a chicken plucker.  
That's right.  He stood on a line in a chicken factory and spent his days pulling the feathers off dead chickens so the rest of us wouldn't have to.

It wasn't much of a job. 
But at the time, Jesse didn't think he was much of a person.

His father was a brute of a man.
His dad was actually thought to be mentally ill
And treated Jesse rough all of his life.
Jesse's older brother wasn't much better.
He was always picking on Jesse and beating him up.

Yes, Jesse grew up in a very rough home in
 West Virginia. Life was anything but easy.
 And he thought life didn't hold much hope for him.
That's why he was standing in this chicken line,
 Doing a job that darn few people wanted.

In addition to all the rough treatment at home, it seems
That Jesse was always sick. Sometimes it was real
Physical illness, but way too often it was all in his head.
He was a small child, skinny and meek.
That sure didn't help the situation any.

When he started to school, he was the object of every
 Bully on the playground.

He was a hypochondriac of the first order. 
For Jesse, tomorrow was not always something to be looked forward to.

 But, he had dreams. He wanted to be a ventriloquist.
 He found books on ventriloquism. He practiced with
 Sock puppets and saved his hard earned dollars until
 He could get a real ventriloquist dummy.

When he got old enough, he joined the military.
And even though many of his hypochondriac symptoms
Persisted, the military did recognize his talents and
Put him in the entertainment corp.That was when his world changed. He gained confidence.
He found that he had a talent for making people laugh,
And laugh so hard they often had tears in their eyes.
Yes, little Jesse had found himself.

You know, folks, the history books are full of people
Who overcame a handicap to go on and make a success
Of themselves, but Jesse is one of the few I know of
Who didn't overcome it. Instead he used his paranoia
To make a million dollars, and become one of
The best-loved characters of all time in doing it!

Yes, that little paranoid hypochondriac, who transferred
 His nervousness into a successful career, still holds the
 Record for the most Emmy's given in a single category.

The wonderful, gifted, talented, and nervous comedian
Who brought us ………..
  Barney Fife

 was also known as.

Jesse Don Knotts.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Saturday, April 14, 2012

The Four Coins


Canonsburg has a holy trinity of musical talent: Perry ComoBobby Vinton, and the Four Coins.

The Four Coins got their start as members of Bobby Vinton's "Band of Tomorrow" back in the day before the Polish Prince was a household name. Jim Gregorakis, George Mantalis, and Jack Mahramas were horn players for Vinton's big band.

In 1952, they began doing side gigs as the Four Keys, joined by Mahramas' brother Michael. They became a vocal act, harmonizing along the lines of the Four Lads and other popular acts of the time.

In January 1953, the group performed on the "Wilkins Amateur Hour," a KDKA-TV talent contest in which listeners selected winners by phoning in votes. The group won the top prize for a performance of the Detroit-based Gaylord's 1952 debut "Tell Me You're Mine."

The ethnic mix in Canonsburg played a hand in capturing the cup. The Greek guys sang part of the song in Italian ("Tell Me" was lifted from an old Italian ballad), a "get out the vote" strategy that proved successful for the Wilkins' poll.

They left Vinton in 1953 to strike out on their own. The Four Keys became the house band at a Pittsburgh club called the Blue Ridge Inn for the next year, pulling down the princely sum of $250 per week.

George Heid liked their sound after hearing them cut a demo in his downtown studio, and signed them to his Corona Records label. He released their first wax, "Hot Toddy," in 1953 and the following year cut "I'll Make the Best Of It."

The recordings led to some regional gigs for the band, and they hit paydirt in Columbus, Ohio, when they impressed visiting General Artists agent Danny Kessler, who was there on his honeymoon. Kessler was also Johnnie Rays' rep.

Canonsburg orchestra leader Lee Barrett took them to Cincinnati for a contract-winning audition with Kessler. He became their manager, inked them to a Columbia Records deal, and they recorded the group on Epic, which would later become Bobby Vinton's label.

Of course, that called for another name change, and they became the Four Coins, influenced by the 1954 flick "Three Coins In A Fountain." Or maybe it was because of the Four Aces, who sang the movie theme. Take your pick; it was probably a combination of both.

The group’s first Epic single was 1954's "We’ll Be Married (In The Church In The Wildwood)," followed by a cover of Charlie and Ray's "I Love You Madly," and "Memories of You," which was the theme song for the movie "The Benny Goodman Story." All three tunes cracked the Top Thirty on the charts.

Their next hit (after a six-song drought) was to become their signature song. In 1957, the group released "Shangri-La," a powerful ballad that sold more than a million copies, earned the group a gold record, and just missed making the Top Ten, stalling at #11. It was the most-played record of 1957.

"Shangri-La" has been covered by several times over the years. Robert Maxwell rode it to a Top 40 instrumental hit in 1964, Vic Dana scored a Top 40 hit with it in 1964, and versions by the Lettermen and Al Capps appeared in 1969 and 1973. Jackie Gleason even used his melody for the TV theme of his Reginald Van Gleason III character.

The follow-ups fared well, too. 1957's "My One Sin" reached #28, while 1958's "The World Outside" peaked at #21, just missing becoming their second million seller, and "Wendy Wendy" charted at #22. They were so hot that they even turned down the chance to record "The Lion Sleeps Tonight," which became a monster track for the Tokens.

But the hits stopped coming after that, and the label-jumping began. In 1960 they switched to MGM Records and later continued on to record for Jubilee, Vee Jay, Laurie, Roulette, and Columbia Records, undergoing personnel changes along the way. Jack Mahramas took his brother Michael's spot when Mike left to become an actor.

In the mid sixties, the Mahramas brothers George, Jack, and Michael, formed the Original Three Coins, later to morph into the Brothers James. Clevelanders Tommy Richards and Ronnie Fiorento took their spots. The group carried on until 1970, when they called it quits.

They left behind a sweet legacy. The Four Coins had ten hit singles which sold more than 500,000 copies each, a gold record, and eight songs that charted.

They appeared many times on "American Bandstand," twice on "The Perry Como Show," and three times on "The Ed Sullivan Show." They also performed on "The Patti Page Show," "The Tonight Show" with Steve Allen, and several times on "The Mike Douglas Show."

The group also appeared in the 1957 Warner Brothers rock and roll movie "Jamboree," singing "A Broken Promise," and performed in the nation's top nightclubs, including the Copacabana in New York and the top Las Vegas casinos. They worked 48 weeks per year, good for the bankroll but hard on the bod.

After the break-up, they scattered to Canonsburg, South Park, Phoenix, and Palm Beach. They took on careers as a laundromat owner, business manager, maitre d', and cell phone exec. For the next three decades, they carried on their everyday life.

Then, in 2003, they decided to get together for a farewell concert at the Pepsi Roadhouse in Hanover Township after a 33-year hiatus. The crowd convinced them they shouldn't be saying good-bye, but maybe starting all over again.

The success of that gig persuaded them to repeat the show in 2004 and eventually returning to the road for short, mostly regional, stints.

The revival was helped along when they took part in T.J. Lubinsky's 2004 PBS special "Magic Moments: The Best of '50s Pop." The Four Coins reunited for the taping in Atlantic City at Trump Taj Mahal, performing "Shangri-La" in their first appearance on television in more than 40 years and restoring their mojo.

So they're back on the road again, spacing out shows and traveling the country spreading their harmonies.

The Four Coins have played the Fabulous Palm Springs Follies, Greensburg's Palace Theater, the Silks Lounge at the Meadows, Cleveland's Holiday Inn and St. Demetrios Church. They've also gigged at venues in the Poconos, Johnstown, and Columbus.

And never let it be said that the Coins are prophets without honor. They are inducted members of the Vocal Group Hall of Fame, and the Canonsburg civic fathers named "Four Coins Drive" for them.

Good music never ages; it just gets better, like a fine wine, over the years. Cent'anni!

Four Coins - "Shangra-La, 1957