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News !!

Alumni News

December 14, 2023
Columbus Impromptu Lunch at the Rusty Bucket - Lane Ave.

From right: Denny Mitchell, Chuck Machuga, Phil Suarez, Ron Hagan & Nick Srnec.

Great seeing everyone and catching up.

Jim Tucciarone, ’66, (pictured here with his wife Kathy Ruble Tucciarone '66) was the recipient of the ICAS Sword of Excellence, the highest award an individual air-show professional can receive.

Jim, call sign "TUCC," worked with the FAA for 35 years starting out as an Air Traffic Controller and moving into various management positions. During his time with the FAA, TUCC worked the EAA Oshkosh "Air Venture” for 11 years receiving the Controller of the Year and Rookie of the Year award. He is still working the EAA Oshkosh show now in an Air Boss capacity. After several years of working air shows, independently and for the FAA, TUCC and his partner formed Air Boss and Associates in 1989. In 1996, TUCC was part of a team of controllers that ensured secure skies for the Summer Olympics hosted in Atlanta. He has been an Air Boss for almost 30 years. He has been an instructor, and has certified over 20 additional Air Bosses since the inception of the Air Boss Recognition Program.

Longboat Key Kiwanis Club shares swan stories

"The Swan Guy" David Novak ('66) spoke at the Kiwanis Club meeting on March 2 at the Lazy Lobster.

David Novak prepares to release Chuck in November 2022.
David Novak prepares to release Chuck in November 2022.

It’s true you learn something new every day. At the latest Kiwanis Club meeting, members learned how to catch a swan. 

“Chase them out of the water. Get them on land. Run them down to where you exhaust them. Get on top of them — don’t break anything when you get on top of them — and grab the neck,” said David Novak. 

Also, be careful the wings are tucked in when you hug them from behind and tilt them up so their feet can’t reach you. Novak raised his forearms to show the audience the scars of his experience. For the last two decades, he’s been caring for Longboat Key’s royal flock of swans, who live on the Longboat Key Club's golf courses and waterways.   

When Michael Garey introduced him at the meeting, he said two words came to mind to describe Novak: dedication and commitment. 

Ed Krepela, Lynn Larson, Chris Sachs, David Novak, Jim Whitman and Michael Garey

Photo by Lesley Dwyer

In addition to being the island’s unofficial swan keeper, Novak is also a veteran and an entrepreneur. He received a purple heart for his service in Vietnam, but has no prior avian experience. Yet he checks on his “kids” daily. Right now, he’s feeding them a supplement that’s given to laying hens to produce stronger eggshells. 

Unfortunately, a perfectly manicured golf course isn’t the ideal habitat for swans, so it takes some work to keep them happy, healthy and breeding. Novak had no idea what he was getting himself into when he bought the house next to Alan Stone in 2003 but has completely embraced his now moniker, “The Swan Guy.” 

“It’s kind of like, once you start something,” Novak said, “you made your bed. You’ve got to lie in it.” 

David Novak feeds Chuck and Greta in May 2022.

Beyond supplementing their diet, Novak gathers nest supplies and performs the pinions himself. A pinion is a procedure to remove the flight feathers. By clipping the tip of one wing, the swan is left unharmed and off balance. The birds are also kept safe from inland predators, mainly alligators.  

Members had their hands up for questions following Novak’s presentation. When are the next cygnets due? By May 1. If not Longboat Key, where is a swan’s natural habitat? Eastern Europe. What about inbreeding? It doesn’t typically cause problems in birds. Why does the state require that one wing be clipped?  The swan’s territorial nature lands them in the same category as a python — invasive. 

The Kiwanis Club is also asking for new members. The next meeting will be held 5 p.m. on March 16 at The Paradise Center.  


Alumni News

Father Raymond Thomas '64 celebrated his 50th Jubilee Anniversary on July 23. He was ordained at Saint Columba Cathedral on May 27, 1972. Thanks to his cousin, Carol Thomas Zink '66, for submitting the photo. She wrote, "I took this photo as a tribute to Father Ray and his wonderful parents who for many years lived across the street from my parents and me in Girard."

The Thomas brothers ~ Rev. Raymond J. Thomas, '64, Edward Thomas '66 and Daniel Thomas '69


Alumni News

We enjoyed a lovely visit with 1966 alumna, Carol Thomas-Zink, last week. She was in Youngstown and made sure her trip included a stop at her Alma Mater with her husband Walter and granddaughter, Katie. The Thomas-Zink family lives in Lincoln, Nebraska.


Alumni News

Joyce Spangel Kale Pesta '66 retired as the Director of the Mahoning County Board of Elections after 35 years.




Phil Suarez

I just received an email from Denny Mitchell regarding Phil's publication of his first book.

Thanks Denny and congratulations Phil!!

Skating in the Moon Shadows

Nick...Thought I would pass along the info that our classmate Phil Suarez just had his first book published, and it is/will be available on Amazon.  It's a murder mystery set in 1959 Youngstown.  From the Amazon description:

The bodies of three young African American women are discovered in 1959 Youngstown, Ohio over a period of a few weeks. Our narrator, Tommy Savala, tells the story of his uncle's first major case. Frank Triano is a Mexican American Korean War hero, who uses his notoriety, family connections, and skills to become the youngest detective in the police department's history. Triano, his partner Luke McKimm, a group of eclectic men, and Emily Hughes work and rework various leads in search of the thin man that they suspect has been killing young women for years. In the process of detailing this story, Tommy tells of his life, friends, and family as he transitions from grade school to junior high. 1959 Youngstown was a wonder to the boy as he sees his world changing. His loving family helps him adjust to the challenges of growing up and being responsible. Skating with his uncle one frigid night, Tommy learns a lesson that will stay with him for the rest of his life.After a tragic loss, the detectives reconcentrate their efforts which leads to the murderer and a frozen snow covered field.

To my reading, Phil is the voice of Tommy (the narrator), and his friends are composites of many of the kids we grew up with (e.g., discriminating readers might recognize me as the Sean character...).




Congratulations to Matt Giambattista '66. Coach G was inducted into the NEOBCA Hall of Fame during the all-star game. Coach G established the baseball program at UHS. His coaching highlights include 275 wins, 3 District Championships, 2 Regional Championships and he was the head coach of Ursuline's 1988 Class AA State Championships (the first in school history).



Retired doctor discovers delight in caring for park

J.T. Whitehouse

POLAND - Anyone visiting Poland Township Park can appreciate the well-maintained grounds, trails and pavilions. Much of that is made possible through volunteers, and one volunteer stands out for his dedication. 

"Dr. Mike Luzar is our No. 1 volunteer," said Ken Filicky, Poland Township Park Board chairman. "He is faithful. He is here all the time and he helps build bird houses, trails, bridges and anything that we ask of him." 

For Luzar, it wasn't always this way. He originally came from Girard and attended Ursuline High School. He graduated in 1966 and went on to Youngstown State University where he majored in math with a minor in chemistry. From there he attended Ohio State University College of Medicine, later doing a fellowship there in rheumatology. 

"I went into private practice in 1979," he said. 

He moved to Poland in 1985 and along with wife Genie, raised three girls (Jessica, Lauren and Michelle) and one boy (Michael), all graduates of Poland Seminary High School. 

"At that time I was very busy and hired out my yard work," he said. 

In 2008, Poland Township opened the township park and Luzar began to spend time there walking the dog, jogging or just walking with his wife. 

"I retired in 2016," Luzar said. "I retired and bought a riding lawn mower, a trimmer, a chainsaw and ear muffs." 

At that point he began caring for his own lawn and plants, which he said felt good after years of working indoors. 

He continued visiting the park. 

"I would always see this fellow (Filicky) working there," Luzar said. "One day I asked him if he needed help. He told me he would welcome it, and here I am." 

Luzar wasn't new to volunteering. He said his mother was a volunteer at St. Rose Church in Youngstown. When he was attending YSU, Luzar also volunteered for the Christian Appalachia Project, which had students helping Appalachian residents fix and repair their homes and properties. 

"I still donate to them," Luzar said. "As for the park, I enjoy it so much that I get enjoyment out of helping keep it in good shape." 

Filicky said Luzar is one person he can really county on. He is there every Monday, unless it is raining. He suits up with ear muffs and mows roughly six acres around the playground, pavilion and pollinator gardens. 

"I enjoy being outside," Luzar said. "It is a friendly, pleasant environment. It's not like work." 

Filisky welcomes anyone who loves the outdoors and the park to come and volunteer some time to help keep Poland Township's hidden gem in good shape. 

"All our volunteers are helping the community," Filicky said. 

Filicky said last year, Luzar and all the volunteers were asked to stay home because of COVID-19. This year they are all getting back into the usual routine, and Luzar is back on the township's John Deere mower, enjoying his retirement


Frank Kruppa

Frank Kruppa (’66) will be featured in a National Geographic documentary later this year for his role in saving three pilots from a fiery DC-8 crash in Cuba almost 26 years ago. After seven years in the Air Force, he completed a 35-year career as a civilian fireman for the Navy. He and his wife live in The Villages, FL.

Greetings all:

I just wanted to pass along, that I found on the Smithsonian Channel the episode of Frank Kruppa’s life saving efforts explained above.  Season 13 Episode 5.

Thank you for your service Frank!



Mary Ann Rees

Mary Ann Rees (’66) was honored by having the College and Career Classroom at Bishop Hartley High School in Columbus, Ohio named in her honor. She taught science and served as the school counselor at Bishop Hartley for 43 years. She holds a B.A. Degree from St. Mary of the Springs and a Masters Degree in School Counseling from the University of Dayton.




Alumni Spotlight

Congratulations to 1966 alumnus, Terry Murphy. He taught at Ursuline High School from 1974-1981, and finished a 35-year career in education when he retired from Saint Thomas Aquinas (Louisville) recently. He was featured in The Catholic Exponent. Read the article here:



Terry Murphy '66




32 Years Ago

1988 State Championship

Tom Mitchell ('89) submitted this picture from the 1988 UHS Boys Baseball State Championship. A member of this first baseball championship for the Irish, Tom said this photo was taken immediately after the big win. Matt Giambattista ('66) was the head coach for the Irish.


George P. Banks, 81, passed away early Wednesday morning, January 22, 2020 at the Inn at George was born on March 8, 1938 in Youngstown, to Kenneth and Margaret (Conroy) Banks.

George graduated from Ursuline High School in 1956. He earned degrees from Youngstown College, Westminster College and Kent State University.

He taught Latin at Ursuline High School and retired as a school psychologist from Youngstown City Schools. 

Always a loyal supporter of Ursuline, George was honored as Alumnus of the Year in 2008. He was a member of the Booster Club and cheered on the Irish for years at football, boys and girls basketball, baseball and softball games. 

He was also well known as a stained glass artist, whose works were treasured by those who received them. George was an avid runner, racquetball player, ski enthusiast and golfer, having been a member of the YMCA for many decades. 

As a school psychologist, George tutored students in his home, passing out nickels for good work. 

George married Barbara Schmolder on July 4, 1964 and celebrated 55 years of marriage on their last anniversary. After meeting in Latin Class at Youngstown College, they spent their years traveling, enjoying lifelong friends, attending events at Ursuline and Cardinal Mooney High School and raising their children, David and Amy. 

He was a member of Holy Family Church for almost 50 years and was a major believer in parochial education. 

George is survived by his wife, Barbara; his son, David (Sharon) of Painsville and daughter, Amy of Poland. He also leaves to cherish his memory, three brothers, Robert (Patty Miller), Jack (Becky) and Michael (Joyce); one sister, Sally (Reese) Orlosky and many nieces and nephews.  

His parents and sister, MaryAnn Banks, preceded him in death.

Friends will be received on Monday, January 27, 2020 from 9:30 – 10:45 a.m. at St. Patrick Catholic Church, 1420 Oak Hill Avenue, Youngstown. 

A Mass of Christian Burial will follow at 11:00 a.m. on Monday, January 27, 2020, with Father Edward Noga officiating. 

A celebratory luncheon will be held immediately following the mass at the church. 

The family would like to thank Doctor Charles Wilkins, the staff at Briarfield Manor, The Inn at Poland Way and Hospice of the Valley.

In lieu of flowers, donations maybe made to the George and Barbara Banks (Ursuline Spirit Award) Scholarship Fund at Ursuline High School, 750 Wick Avenue, Youngstown, OH 44505.


Alumni Spotlight

It is with sadness that Ursuline High School announces the death of former principal Rev. Msgr. John P. Ashton ('48). He was appointed Principal in the 1967-68 school year when enrollment was at an all-time high. A total of 1,945 students crowded into a building designed for 1,200 pupils. A record senior class in 1968 graduated 498 students. An educational innovator, Fr. Ashton incorporated many changes in curriculum and scheduling during his four years as principal. The traditional six-period day was shifted to eight shortened periods in the '70-'71 school year, and adjusted to a seven-period schedule for the following year. A modular system emphasized a high degree of student responsibility. Msgr. Ashton often fondly referred to Ursuline as "The Academy." He left his Alma Mater in 1972 to become Pastor at Saint Luke's Parish in Boardman. 

Read Msgr. Ashton's obituary here:  https://www.vindy.com/obituaries/2020/01/rev-monsignor-john-p-ashton-1930-2020/

May he rest in peace. . . .


Nick, the 35th Annual Youngstown Day had about 20 Ursuline grads, a great representation evidenced by our singing of the UHS Fight Song.  Great to see Bill Gambrel and Ron Mullins.  Jim Tressel gave an inspiring overview of accomplishments at YSU.  The photo is of Jim and three Dana School of music graduates celebrating the 150th anniversary of its founding.  I hope Ursuline grads in Florida at this time  next year attend and support both UHS and YSU.  David Novak 




30th Annual

Distinguished Alumni Award



Congratulations !!!

David Bruno of ZRG Partners, LLC is the first ever recipient of the Presidents Award for Distinguished Service!


A fact you probably "Did Not" know about Ron Hagan !!!

Throwback Thursday - March 23, 1962 - Ursuline Sisters Mary Leah and Mary Bernard take a helicopter ride with Ronald Hagan '66.  The helicopter, three-fourths the usual size, could hover no more than 12 feet over the Ursuline turf.


 St. Patrick's Church

Spaghetti Dinners

Mickey Conway of Boardman and Loretta Moore of Youngstown

serve a customer Sunday at St. Patrick’s first spaghetti dinner of

the season.


Sharon Hoza Nicastro

Wife's kidney donation saves 2 lives


Sharon Nicastro donated one of her kidneys to a stranger in San Diego. In exchange, John, her husband of 48 years, received a kidney from a Columbus woman he’s never met.

“If you feel you can do it, and can live without one kidney, you should do it,” Sharon said. “You can bless two people with your gift.”

It’s called living donation, and the couple learned about it from their daughter, Elyce Nicastro Ervin, a University of Toledo professor.

Last month marked one year since John got his new kidney and Sharon donated one of hers.

“I really feel blessed,” John said. “It’s like I got a new battery put in.”

He was diagnosed in 2006 with chronic kidney disease.

“In 2009, his doctor told us, ‘It’s not a question of if he’ll need dialysis, but when,’” Sharon said.

For years, John suffered from fatigue and chest and shoulder pain, but stress tests never indicated he had a problem. In 2014, Sharon persuaded her husband to undergo a colonoscopy. During that procedure, John’s colon was nicked.

That’s when doctors discovered blockages to his heart. Some of them were 100 percent blocked.

He underwent open-heart surgery and that led to his kidneys shutting down.

He began dialysis.

“It was three times a week for four hours.” John said.

He hated it.

“I told [Sharon,] ‘I don’t know how long I’m going to be able to do this,’” John said.

Dialysis hampered his ability to enjoy life. If the couple went away for vacation, they had to find a dialysis clinic where John could get a treatment.

If they wanted to take a weekend trip, they had to be back by Sunday because John had a dialysis session scheduled for Monday.

He decided a year would be as long as he could take it. The couple looked into the living-donor idea.

Sharon wasn’t a match to John, and a transplant coordinator at a Mahoning Valley hospital told them they were too old for the living-donor program. They were directed to register at a few hospitals to try to get a cadaver kidney.

One of those hospitals was the Cleveland Clinic. A transplant coordinator there told them their ages didn’t disqualify them from the living-donor program.

They registered. Sharon endured a series of tests and she was matched to the San Diego recipient. John was then matched to the Columbus donor.

On Aug. 19, 2015, they both went into surgery.

“I just marked my one-year anniversary,” John said. “It’s my new birth.”

Sharon worried at first, but she trusted her doctors. She loves her husband and wanted to help him.

They remained in the hospital a few days and then went to their daughter’s home to recuperate.

“I didn’t realize how bad I felt until after the transplant,” John said.

The couple urges others to research their options if faced with a similar situation and always get a second opinion.

John continues to take 28 pills per day to prevent organ rejection, but it’s preferable to dialysis, he said.

“We can be a lot more spontaneous,” Sharon said, “We don’t have to plan around his dialysis.”

John also has more energy.

“Yesterday we went to the Lily Pond” in Mill Creek Park “and he was able to walk all the way around it,” Sharon said.

He wouldn’t have been able to do that before.

John is grateful to his wife.

“She really saved two lives,” he said.



Mahoning Couty Board of Elections Director

Joyce Spangel Kale-Pesta!

Mahoning County Board of Elections Director, Joyce Kale-Pesta, will be inducted

into The League of Women Voters of Greater Youngstown Hall of Fame on

March 29, 2016. Director Kale-Pesta is one of 5 distinguished women being

honored for their contributions in education, social justice, civil rights, voting rights,

revitalization and the arts.

The other inductees include: Detrinalyn Benson, Suzyn Schwebel Epstein,

The Honorable Cheryl L Waite and Penny Wells.


Alumni Visitors

Pat Cullen Hanley and Mary Celeste Sturgeon Armbrecht, members of the Class of 1966, returned to Ursuline this week for a tour.  They have been friends since their grade school days at Saint Edward.  Mary Celeste was traveling through Youngstown on her way back to San Jose, California. Pat resides in Girard.


Last week's e-newsletter included a "Throwback Thursday" picture of the 1966 basketball coaches and managers.  

We then received the following email from Jerry Sweed ('66), one of the student managers in the photo.  

He wrote "The Class of 1966 was the only class in the history of Ursuline High School that produced 4 Head Basketball Coaches

  Mike Tomaskovich (East and Medina)

Mitch Cerny (Ursuline and Upper Arlington)

Roy Nard (both boys and girls coach at Cardinal Mooney)


Jerry Sweed (Conneaut and New Brighton, PA)

 Coach Beck also produced two other Head Coaches

Ron Moschella '68 (Boardman) and Dan Gorski '74 (Boardman).  

A tribute to Coach Beck's fine mentoring."

Keynote Media collects musical instruments for needy schools, students

Published: Thu, November 12, 2015 @ 12:05 a.m.

Keynote Media Group, a marketing and branding firm downtown, has launched a musical-instrument donation program to help needy students and schools in the area.

The “Let’s Start A Band!” initiative is designed to collect playable used band and orchestra instruments and get them in into the hands of young people who can’t afford to buy or rent them, said Richard Hahn, Keynote founder and CEO.

Hahn is a graduate of YSU’s Dana School of Music and former public-school music teacher.

“Arts funding continues to dry up, and poverty is on the rise, a perfect storm for the arts,” he said. “Many band directors I know, especially those in inner-city and rural districts, are feeling the effect.”

A number of inquiries have been received from adults who have their high-school clarinet or trumpet still in the attic gathering dust. Using social media as the main marketing strategy for the program, Hahn said he already has had a donation inquiry from Kentucky.

Keynote is accepting the instruments at its office at 201 E. Commerce St. The initial goal is two dozen instruments before the holidays. Hahn said that if things go well “we’ll continue the program after the first of the year.”

Once the instruments have been deemed playable, they will be cleaned and given either to the band director or to a needy family at the school’s recommendation. Any interested donors, school principals or band directors wishing to inquire about the program can go online to the Facebook page www.facebook.com/letsstartaband.


Class of 1966 Alumni Return to Honor Distinguished Alumni
th Coleman Carroll '57 and John Ulicney '54 Receive Ursuline Distinguished Alumni Awards
The Feast of Saint Ursula was celebrated with a special Mass on Wednesday, October 21.  Following the liturgy, the Annual Distinguished Alumni Awards were presented to Ruth Carroll '57 and John Ulicney '54.  To receive this award, alumni must have distinguished themselves by service to Ursuline and/or to the community at large.  A complete story on Ruth and John will appear in the next Alumni Quarterly.
Above photo id:  Rich and Rosemary Schaffer LaCivita, Kathleen Cronin Conway, Mr. John Ulicney, Sharon Hoza Nicastro, Mickey Conway, Matt Giambattista











Alumni Spotlight

Two Ursuline Alumni were honored at the recent Youngstown State University Beeghly College of Education Outstanding Alumni Awards Ceremony. Carol Thomas Zink ('66) has been an educator with the Lincoln, Nebraska Public Schools for the majority of her career. Matt Manley ('79) is the Director of Professional Development and Principal at West Branch Middle School/Damascus Elementary.

Dante Zambrini '72 (Interim Vice President - Eastern Gateway Community College), Dr. Mary Lou Dutko DiPillo '67 (Associate Dean - Beeghly College of Education), Carol Thomas Zink, Cindy Kofler Korchnak '66 (Secretary - Beeghly College of Education), Matt Manley.