Welcome Mighty Bears!

Special Message from Tom Harrington, new webmaster for the Blakely Bears:

Hello Blakely High School Alumni!

   My name is Tom Harrington and I will be your new webmaster for the Blakely Bears web site. There are new and wonderful changes coming to the main site, so just please bear with me.

  Until then, you can post your bear tales here directly. Eventuallly they will be moved to an archive of older Bear Tales in the order in which they came. Thanks for your patience and enjoy!


Tom Harrington

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38 Responses to “Welcome Mighty Bears!”

  1. Bob Rossi Says:

    It was an honor for me to be a part of the Blakely High School football program and to have played with such players as Wayne Miller, Joe Castellani, Bllly Reese, Phil Angeli, Dan Balog, Bob Elvidge, Jim Mellow, Bob Pompey, Jim Cruse Doug Walker, Paul Roman, Russell Davey, Dick Dewey, Mike Solusky, Len Maiolatesi, Alex Piela, Billy Kwolek, Ray Ronchi, Bob Mellow, Chuck Parry, Bob King, Floyd Celli, Tom Rodway, and so many others. I mention these names because they not only were my friends, but were all hard nosed ball players.

    It was also an honor to be chosen with Bob Elvidge to be co- captains of our team and to both be chosen to play in the Lion`s Club Dream Game in Dec. 1956 and July of 1957.

    My involvement with the Papa Bear Club has been a great experience. Just meeting all the great Blakely players From the late 30`s to the late 60`s was very special.

    Playing for coach Henzes and his assistant Pete Cordelli was good preperation on how you would conduct yourself the rest of your life.
    The standards they set were very high. When you go by the statue of coach at the Mid-Valley Hospital, thank him for all the good he instilled in all of his students. A special thanks to Joe Weston and all of our club members for the job they do making all of our functions a huge success.
    A special thanks to my friend from Tennessee, Gil Morcom 1945 Blakely Graduate,for all of his encouragement to help our club.

    Proud to be a part of the Blakely tradition that will never end.

    Bob ” Rak ” Rossi class of 1957

  2. David Longmire Says:

    Dear Blakely Bears,

    I really enjoyed the get-together on August 12th. I had a lot of fun reconnecting with old friends– Erv, Beverly, Joe, Andy, Bob, Roslyn. I just sent a card to Mrs. Rozelle. I wanted to thank her for teaching me how to write well and for giving me such a love of literature. I wish I could thank Miss Owens for the math she taught me. I taught blind and visually impaired children in the New York City public schools for 26 years. The English and math I learned at Blakey High School helped me enormously as a teacher. The main difference was that my students learned by using braille.

    I was not the most athletic bear of 1962. While the guys on the football team were trying not to get tackled, I was struggling with trying to get clarinet reeds to work, watching the games while freezing my tail of in the bleachers. However, what would the football games have been like without Mr. Augustin conductig us in playing “The Blue and the Gold” and all those Souza marches? I will surprise everyone who knew me then (still surprised myself) to tell you that I received my black belt in karate at age 61. I guess in some ways I’m more of a turtle than a bear!

    I retired from teaching in 2004 and now I have a private psychotherapy practice that I’m enjoying enormously. My mother always wanted me to become an Episcopal priest, so maybe she would understand that I chose a second career not the same as she envisioned, but similar to her early goals for me.

    I read many of the other Bear Tales before writing mine. Ever hear the saying, “Nostalgia isn’t what it used to be.”? Having been away from my home town for 45 years, it was very touching to be reminded of the names of all the hangouts where we spent many hours enjoying each other’s company. We were all very lucky that Peckville was (and still is, I guess) so Italian. Great memories of fantastic pizza! At age 63, I wonder what the red wine was like.

    Hoping to get some bear e-mails. All the best, David Longmire


  3. Tom Picchini Says:

    The Papa Bear Club is doing an outstanding job of keeping a great
    tradition going. The monument to Coach Henzes is first class. Also the
    cooperation we had with you in erecting the monuments to coaches Henzes, Davis and Reap at John Henzes Stadium was well appreciated by the James Davis Committee.
    I played football and baseball for the Rams ( 1960-1964 ) and played against great Blakely football and baseball teams. mostly on the losing side as you well know. I also was fortunate to play in the 1964 Dream Game coached by Papa Bear, his son Jack, and Jerry Preschutti.
    One of my good memories of those weeks of practice was when Coach
    Preschutti picked me and two Bear lineman to take on the backs in a
    monkey drill contest. Some of the Bears on that team were : Rick Ruby, Ron Dushney, Jim Capezio, Jim Zipay, Bob Fioretti, Dave Paolucci, and John Sanderson.
    Playing baseball I remember being struck out by Gary Ruby and trying
    to find a baseball that Joe Dzedzic hit over my head and off the VFW for
    a home run. My freshman year I learned about the ” Special Offense ”
    Coach Davis had for the Bears. We had a spread formation with a center and a quarterback in a long snap position on one side and the rest of the team on the other side. The Bears were fooled. They only had one player against our 9 when the ball was centered. Ed Killiany broke through the 8 Ram blockers and tackled the runner for a loss.
    The first experience I had playing in a football game against the Bears
    was playing defensive tackle in front of Kokomo Rossi and not making a
    tackle all night.The next year trying to tackle Ron Dushney and Erv Brong. My senior year trying to block Rich Ronchi, watching Rick Ruby block a punt, and trying to stop Pretzel and everyone else from beating us to death. Theywere a great team.
    Today I`m still around Bears- not running over me but dancing around me. My friend Joe Weston and his wife Lorraine, my wife Diana Newton, and sometimes DJ Phil Spinka Jr. Especially in football, some of the players were great athletes, but some were just average guys that played to the best of their ability because they were ” The Blakely Bears. ”
    Tom Picchini ‘ 64 Archbald Rams

  4. Joe Kearney Says:

    What can be said that hasn`t been said before-The Bears
    were the absolute best. My hats off to all the great Blakely players
    and their number one coach- Coach Papa Bear Henzes.
    Congratulations to all on your web-site.

    Joe Kearney Olyphant St. Pats Class of 1959

  5. George Grancey Says:

    Congratulations to all the Bears on their great web-site.
    My best to all my old classmates and all the other former
    Blakely graduates.

    George Grancey
    Blakely class of 1960

  6. Louie Fringuellotti Says:

    Glad to see the Bears being remembered on this
    great web-site. It brings back a lot of memories.
    Nice job by all.

    Louie Fringuellotti
    Blakely Class of 1957

  7. Dave Parry Says:

    This is mostly a request that one of you history buffs might
    want to research : girls sports activities at Blakely High. My mother
    ( Grace Philips Parry ) used to entertain us with stories about Blakely
    High`s girls basketball team back in the 1930`s. She played on both the Blakely High and Peckville teams and her coach was Mrs. Rozelle.
    Grace also played on the tennis team.I also remember her telling stories about Tom Stafford` mother`s athletic accomplishments.
    Who says title ix was necessary for women`s sports? Apparently, Blakely High had women athletes before we were even little sparks in our mothers` minds.
    Can any of you Blakely Bears shed some light on early women`s sports
    teams at Blakely High ? I`m sure others would like to learn about it before
    that generation of Bears is gone.

    Dave Parry
    Class of 1960

  8. John Cicilioni Says:

    I am a proud member of the class of 1954.
    We had a good group of people. If your reading
    this website , I would like to say hello to all of you.
    The website has brought a lot of us back together.
    If you have visited the site, but did not leave a
    bear tale or your e-mail address, please take
    the time to do so. It`s a wonderful way to keep in
    contact with each other.

    John Cicilioni class of 1954

  9. Margaret Ann Dutchman Says:

    No big message, just a hearty hello to all
    my former classmates and the entire Blakely
    family. Long live the beautiful ” Blue and Gold. ”

    Best wishes to all
    Margaret Ann Dutchman
    Class of 1959

  10. Ernie " EJ " Weston Says:

    I would like to personally congratulate my
    Uncle Joe Weston and all the members of the
    Papa Bear Club for the outstanding job they
    have done in remembering Coach Henzes and
    The Legendary Blakely Bears. Everybody knew
    the Bears and now the website will keep the
    Blakely name alive forever.
    My best wishes to all the “Old Bears.”

    Ernie ” EJ ” Weston
    Valley View Class of 1987

  11. Andy Safko Says:

    Thanks for the memories, the website has kept them all.
    This was such a tremendous idea. Leave it up to the Blakely
    People to come up with this tremendous concept.
    My best wishes to all my old classmates.

    Andy Safko
    Class of 1968

  12. Fred Cicilioni Jr. Says:

    I would like to thank the Blakely Bear Club
    for remembering my father Fred ” Frogie ” Cicilioni
    on their remarkable website. My Dad was a very
    proud graduate of Blakely and a former player for
    the Bears. I would like to extend my appreciation
    to the entire Papa Bear Club.

    Fred Cicilioni Jr.
    Valley class of 1973

  13. Russell Barrett Says:

    I`m proud to say I`m a Blakely graduate
    and to have been part of the great Blakely
    legacy. The website is a wonderful way to continue
    the magical Blakely spirit.

    Russell Barrett
    Blakely graduate of 1965

  14. Tony Polito Says:

    I would like to congratulate the Papa Bear Club
    on their outstanding website.The Blakely Bears were
    something else. They were always good. I played for
    the Archbald Rams with some pretty good players-
    Joe Persimoni,Primo Picchini, Claude Ghilardi, Lou Antenori,
    to name a few. We had some pretty good teams and always
    played our best. Our greatest challange always came from
    the ” Bears ” and the likes of Pete Shopa, Joe Merli, George
    Semkew, Henry Davidson, etc. Blakely beat us in my Junior
    and Senior years, but the friendships I made with most of the
    Blakely players have lasted a lifetime- all nice fellows.
    My best to all my old Blakely friends.

    Tony Polito
    Archbald class of 1950

  15. Pete Shopa Says:

    Coach Henzes was the most important person
    in my life. He encouraged me to become a better
    student and pushed me to be the very best athlete
    I could be. He stressed getting a good education
    and becoming a productive person in society.
    The basis of my whole existance came from my
    experience at Blakely High School and knowing
    Coach Henzes.
    Congratulations to the ” Papa Bear Club ” and all
    their accomplishments. They have brought the
    ” Bears ” back where they belong– RIGHT AT THE TOP

    Pete Shopa class of 1950

  16. Joyce Meyers Petrulak Says:

    Congratulations to everyone who had a hand in
    putting together BHS All Class Reunion on August 12th.
    It was the first one I attended , but it won`t be the last.
    My husband Andy and I thoroughly enjoyed seeing and
    meeting old and new friends from BHS . In fact, Andy
    who graduated from Jessup, met up with several of his
    old buddies. Everything from the food, entertainment,
    organization, and weather was terrific. Kudos to all.

    Joyce Meyers Petrulak
    class of 1960

  17. Al Gerek Says:

    : Papa Bear Reunion 2007.
    I had a ball at the recent Papa Bear Reunion.
    Met sooooo many friends from my time spent
    at Blakely High. Thanks to all who made this possible!

    Al Gerek
    Class of 1954

  18. Bob Rossi Says:

    Webmaster Tom, Please add Andy Gerek to the players I
    played with on the first bear tale on this site.
    Thanks, Bob Rossi

  19. Al Gerek Says:

    After leaving Blakely High I spent the following 20 years in the US Air Force. My heart never left Peckville/Blakely. Every year I come back to visit the site of Good Ole Blakely High. I may forget what I had for dinner yesterday but I will never forget the great times at Blakely High. The dances in the “Grand Ballroom” of our gym always comes back to me. What fun we had. There are three people that I met in my life that guided me thorughout my life, Papa Bear Henzes, Gino Merli, and B/Gen Chuck Yeager.

    The Mighty Bear Class of 1954 will have our 54th Reunion on September 20, 2008 at Rossi Ristorante’ in Archbald. Looking forward to see all my Classmates again.

    GOD BLESS all you Might Bears.

  20. Gilbert Morcom Says:

    Dear “PAPA BEAR” Henzes club memebers et al.

    I am sure that it must be exciting and rewarding for Bob Rossi, and other officers and supporters of the “PAPA BEAR” Henzes club to witness the positive flow of participation in various ways to make this site and other areas in “COACH” HENZES memory a success. Without dedication to the cause, unwavering service and “BEAR” determination to accomplish the mission that was set before them, the victory of this recognition of a most deserving individual as John Henzes, per se, might not have been. Blakely High comradery is obvious in the involvement of so many of it’s Alumni. The comments of other well wishers and friends are and should be noted and appreciated as well.

    To have been raised up in the wonderful town of Peckville, attended and graduated from it’s noble learning institution and to have associated with the many fine folks of the community has made me extremely proud and fortunate. It is with extreme pride when I refer to “our” Blakely High School and it’s coaching and teaching staff. God bless them all and may their memories live within our hearts and minds forever because we owe so much to them.

    Let us all be grateful for the many blessings that we all have had bestowed upon us thru out the years by our attendance at “our” great Alma Mater, “BLAKELY HIGH”. An excellent place to have gained wisdom and knowledge for use on our journey thru life.



    Gilbert Morcom
    class of 1946

  21. Rancy Ceccotti Says:

    : My memories of Blakely High are endless. To this day I can correct
    the grammar in everything I read. Thank you Mrs. Rozelle. Academic
    courses were not my ” Strong Suit. ” I took only the courses necessary
    to graduate. ” Electives”….not part of my vocabulary. I had 4 courses
    and 4 study halls per day. I quickly discovered at the start of each year
    if I did not report to study hall initally no one knew where I was [except Coach Henzes.] Study hall [4 times per day] consisted of strategizing
    either football or baseball with Coach Henzes in the gym.
    I was also fortunate after graduation to begin dating and later marrying
    Elaine Ciabocchi, two years my junior. She lived 2 doorsfrom Coach and Mrs. Henzes. Coach and Mrs. Henzes were invited dinner guests each time
    the “Waft” of barbecue reached their porch.
    Thank you Joe Weston and the entire staff for keeping our ” Bear ”
    family together.

    Rancy Ceccotti …. Class of 1958

  22. Jerry Kudajeski Says:


  23. Jerry Kudajeski Says:

    When I first started out as a football official, Coach Henzes gave
    me the opportunity to officiate the Blakely games. This gave me a
    good start to a long career in officiating. One game, with West Scranton
    playing Blakely for the championship, I asked Coach Henzes if he still
    wanted me to be on the officiating crew because I graduated from West Scranton. Coach said ” Jerry ” you do all my games and this one will be
    no different. The final result of the game, a hard fought battle between
    two good teams, was West Side 7… Blakely 6 . The game was decided
    on the field by the players.
    Thank you Coach Henzes.
    Jerry Kudajeski… West Scranton graduate, football official, and former
    professional baseball player.

  24. Gary Marsili Says:

    : My very best to all my class mates
    at dear old Blakely High.
    Long Live The Blue and Gold
    Dr. Gary Marsili
    Class of 1969

  25. Gary Andrasko Says:

    :Stephen Andrasko [1910-2002] , referenced in this website by his nickname, ” Sty “, was Coach Henzes first assistant coach. He taught at Blakely from 1932 through 1941. Dad passed away in March 2002 at the age 92 but was first and always a Blakely Bear. I can remember growing up that no team here in my native New Jersey could ever compare to his beloved Bears and after watching them play in 1967, I had to agree.

    :My father was a 1927 graduate of BHS and what some of you may not know is that they actually had a football team, abeit club, back in his high school days. Dad had the bad fortune of having his ribs broken making a tackle against Olyphant in 1926. The senior Dr. Brundage taped him on the sideline but his injury brought the entire team into the principal`s office the following Monday morning where they were told it was either football or school. They chose school and the illustrious ” Blakely Ham Scholars ”
    [aka BHS ] football team came to an end until it`s resurrection in 1936.

    :Dad left Blakely High after the 1941 school year to work in a war plant in Connecticut but returned to buy the Gulf gasoline station on Main St. in front of the stadiumin 1947. [ I think he bought the gas station to be close to the football field ! ] He came to New Jersey in 1952 to return to teaching and would rise to superintendent of the Essex County Vocational Schools before he retired. His heart, however, never strayed far from Peckville. Looking at pictures of Artie Williams [The Marine`s Marine ] Geno Merli and Fraser Donlan took me back to the Memorial days of my youth. [ By the way, the only time I think Dad was ever happy to see his and my alma mater, the University of Alabama lose a game was when he went to see Mr. Donlan play against them in Yankee Stadium in 1941 or 42- the game program is somewhere in my attic.]

    :Blakely Bears football was truly something special and I thank you for putting up this website . If you pass by Union Cemetery,say a prayer for Dad but know he`s still and always be in your corner.

    Son… Gary Andrasko… Springfield, New Jersey

  26. Rena Turissini Marsili Says:

    :Greetings to all the wonderful people at good old Blakely and to all my classmates who graduated in 1939.

    My best to all
    Rena Turissini Marsili…..Class of 1939

  27. Jim Tarby Says:

    : I was a Blakely Bear for two years 1967-1968 kindergarden and first
    grade, but I will always remember going to the Bear games on Friday night
    with my Godfather jim Middleton and my Dad Alex ” Porky ” Tarby who are both deceased now. We would go in any old car we that they could fix up
    for that season. The best part was stopping for that burger after the game. After all, I was just a kid then. After the Blakely High School burned , bringing the school bell to the home Valley View games and ringing it as the players entered the field from under the bleachers, and after each touchdown { Boy we rang it a lot .} Well that`s some of my memories of the Blakely Bears and some that I will never forget !!

    Jim Tarby……Valley View – Class of 1980

  28. Janet (Simpson) Orlando Says:

    : I recently made a trip back to Pa. and met a few of my old classmates. They told me about this website and I think it is just the greatest. Class of “63” hopes to get a reunion together for next summer around the time of your next outing so we can take advantage of seeing so many old friends.
    We will always be the Blakely Bears !

    Janet ( Simpson ) Orlando…. Class of 1963

  29. Arlene Jenkins Evans Says:

    : My message to all my friends and classmates is — Please let us never
    forget our one and only alma mater — dear old Blakely High.
    Thanks to all for this great website.

    Arlene Jenkins Evans …. Class of 1947

  30. Gene Biondi Says:

    : Great job by the ” Papa Bear ” Club in putting this very unique website together. I also enjoyed the outing. It was nice seeing old friends, especially my buddy Pete Shopa. The old school and the ” Bears ” , with the help of this website, will be remembered forever.
    Great job ! Go Bears
    Gene Biondi…. Class of 1950

  31. Liza Says:

    My friend on Facebook shared this link with me and I’m not dissapointed that I came here.

  32. Aberdeen plasterer Says:

    amazing post,I’ll be checking back to this site for sure.aberdeen plasterer

  33. Jack Says:

    The Blakely Bears were one of the greatest high school teams of all times. The 49 game winning streak will never be topped.

  34. Bill McElroy Says:

    My memory of the Blakely Bears was getting a chinstrap from one of the players after the game. It was a competition in school on Mondays to see who was able to get one. Mine was from a player named Pullman, but I forget if he was Bobby or John, but he was forever my favorite, even though he wasn’t one of the stars. I also remember the tragedy of his death and I’ll never forget how sad I was. The players were our heroes and we tried to mimic them on Saturday mornings in the sandlots. We lived in the good days.

    Bill McElroy VV’74

  35. rac717 Says:

    Hi Bill! Hope you are well. It was “John” Pullman. I remember that heartbreaking story so well. My dad used to watch practices daily in ’68, and he said that John had the most distinctive run that one couldn’t forget. Loved the old Blakely years, as I think most all of us did. It was surreal growing up in the town which was true Americana. It seemed that losing football games was the destiny of other towns, not ours! Our centenniel festivities may seem campy to kids today, but we were so proud, and the adults of the town were behind us kids 100% in all our endeavors. That America is long gone, tragically.

  36. Pete kwolek Says:

    I love the bears always did. Played from 1956 thru 1960. Long live the bears.

  37. Carol Fregly Says:

    I had the pleasure of teaching English at Blakely in 1969 and would love to know how all the wonderful students from there are doing.

    What a great group they were! I was a chaperone on the Washington DC senior trip, among other adventures, and I think often and fondly of everyone.

    Glad to know about this website and the newsletter.

    Thank you for keeping it going.

    Carol Fregly, English Department Emerita
    City College of San Francisco

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