Voices From Duquesne – Part 4

I have been receiving so many notes from folks who are reading and enjoying the stroll through the streets of Duquesne memories. As in the past, I am posting some names, email addresses, updates and comments from our hunky friends or should I say “priatelia.” For those of you who have been keeping up with some of my quests to find some of my childhood friends, I ahve finally touched-base with Denise Hudak! In fact, when I was visiting Duquesne a few weeks ago, she and I sat for coffee and talked for hours one morning at the McDonalds near Kennywood. My hope is that you may find an old friend on this blog as well. We’d love to hear from you, so please share your update with us by clicking HERE. So sit back and catch-up on some voices from Duquesne!

Leonard Myers

comments = You missed The Men’s Service Shop up a little bit from The Capital Theatre.
That was also a good place to get boys and men’s clothes. I remember the corduroy pants that mom always bought for me for wintertime, heard them make their funny  noise as we walked???  I was in several classes with Margie and Dick Kadar (class of 1953).

John (Jack) Berta

comments = Jim, today I went on your blog and found some entries about Hunky Shopper and opened one. It didn’t seem right, it appeared to be a site to sell things. Maybe you should check this out. Please let me know right or wrong.

Roberta L. Ellish

Married Name – Roberta L. Hassman


Years in Duquesne = 1945-1969
Where do you live now? = Fountain, Colorado 80817
Comments = I just found out about this blog from a friend who graduated with me in 1963. We have stayed in touch with each other ever since we both moved away after college graduation. Going back home over the years has allowed me to visit with relations and a few friends that I still know in the area. Now that both of my parents have passed away and their house is sold, there is very little incentive to bring me back since I am now retired and my kids and step daughters all live in Co., Ok., and La. One of my dear friends has found me on Facebook and we are now happily communicating through Emails. This web site would be a great way to maybe find more of my old friends and learn what is new with them. Even just hearing about what is happening in Duquesne would be great.I do hope to be able to come back when we start traveling in our RV to visit my old house on Maryland Ave. I have looked it up on satelite and the program that allows me to get a full 3 sided close-up view which made me even now a little homesick. Keep up this web site so our town doesn’t go by the way side My grandfather came from Hungary just after 1900 and I am proud to be a Hunky.

Andrea Luketic

Married Name = Andrea Cartwright


Where do you live now? = White Oak
comments = Hi Jim! I’ve never lived in Duquesne but grew up in McKeesport and came across your site trolling for things to feature on my Facebook page, “McKeesport Memories”. I loved your stuff about the McKeesport shopping district and am posting it on my page, so if you’re on Facebook like us up and you can see the comments from our fans. Keep up the great work helping to keep the great memories of the Mon Valley alive!

Lois May Lydon

Married Name = Lois May Ray


Years in Duquesne = 1943 to 1950, 1950 to 1965 in West Mifflin (the Annex)
Where do you live now? = Plum, PA (close to Monroeville)
comments = I am so glad that you took the time and energy to create this blog, thanks. It is great to read about the different people and locations. Linda Negley Gibb sent this address to me and asked me to check it out. Sorry not a Hunky, just an Irish girl.

Mary Petrozza
Years in Duquesne = Lived in West Mifflin 1951-1973
Where do you live now? = North Huntingdon, PA
comments = Debbie Abbatangelo told me about your blog….It’s really very interesting to read…lots of fond memories of Holy Name. Me rocking!!! too funny!! I even remember when Sister Emily tied me to my chair because I wouldn’t stop!!

Carl Rumble

Years in Duquesne = 1944 – 1962
Where do you live now? = Lawrenceville, Pa.
comments = This blog really brings back some memories.

Mike Palatas

Years in Duquesne = 1930- 1952
Where do you live now? = Spring Hill, Fl; 3 mos. in Hammondsport, NY
comments = Great Blog. Brought back many memories. I worked in Kennywood for 4 yrs. Even at an underage. Finished my last yr in 1948, yr. of my graduation. Still have relatives in Monroeville, Pa.

John (Jack) Berta

Years in Duquesne = 1944 to 1963 Part of 1967 and 1968 DHS 62′
Where do you live now? = Levelgreen, Pa.
comments = Maybe some help on Denise Hudak. I went to Holy Trinity School and DHS with a Johnnie Ann Hudak. I’m sure she had a little sister. They lived on the corner of 4th and Viola.  By the way, Holy Trinity was known as Hunky Tech at least by those who went there.

Shirley Rajcan
Married name – Shirley Molnar
Years in Duquesne = 1941 to 1960
Where do you live now? = Irwin, PA
comments = I enjoy seeing pictures of Duquesne and reading about the past history.
I graduated from Duquesne High School in 1959. I lived in Duquesne Place on Overland Ave. My father was born in Duquesne and died there. He was constable in the 1st ward for many years. I have 5 brothers and sisters that lived in Duquesne their entire childhood. My dad work in Duquesne Mill for many years until he was transfered to Irvin Works.

Joe Sobeck

Years in Duquesne = 1946-1973
Where do you live now? = North Lauderdale, Fl
comments = The gang at the hilltop dairy.

John (Jack) Berta

Years in Duquesne = 1944 to 1963 Part of 1967 and 1968
Where do you live now? = Levelgreen, Pa.
comments = Jim the first thing is to say thank you, thank you, thank you. This is such a great idea. It lets anyone reach back to those great memories and remember things we have not thought about for so long. Those years we lived in comfort and contentment. Those years before the rest of our lives begin to pass by faster and faster. It also allows us a chance to share those memories with others who had the same memories of our common past. We can help each other shake some dust off those old cobwebs (memory web).
  If possible, I would like to see more pictures of the sites around Duquesne.

A friend from Connecticut that I met while I lived there, who also grew up in Duquesne, emailed me the address.

Norman Peterson

Years in Duquesne = I lived in Dravosburg. I had a lot of Friends from Duquesne.
Where do you live now? = Lake Panasoffkee,Fl.33538
comments = This blog brings back many memories of the past that I enjoyed. I worked at Kennywood Park for 2 years. I worked the Penny Pitch and Basketball Shooting. My Father worked for Liberty Baking Co. and delivered Bread and Sweets to Homes in Duquesne. He had many Friends in Duquesne. I went to McKeesport High School. The Dukes and Tigers was the Game of the Year. Dr.Micklos was My Dentist and a Great one at that. My Wife and I loved the Hot Dogs from Jim’s in West Mifflin. Our
Nephew lives in Duquesne. We have many great memories from the area. Dick Bowen who played at Duquesne grew up with Me in Dravosburg. I hope this reaches Dick a very Old Friend. He and His Family were Great People. I want to Thank You for Helping Me bring back some Great Times in My life.

Paula Goldman

Married Name – Paula Smith
Years in Duquesne = 1949 – 1980
Where do you live now? = Vienna, VA
comments = I love reading about our old haunts, the fun we had without all of the fancy toys kids have now. You must get some photos of Grant Avenue – those old brick roads. I know you already have many photos of Kennywood and I can’t wait till you start blogging on that subject!
Keep up the great work Jim!!!!!
Your cousin Paula.

Maureen Dowdle


What is your married name? = Maureen Strahl
Years in Duquesne = 1965 to 2006
Where do you live now? = West Mifflin, PA
comments = You should talk to my mother when you visit City Hall, too. Her name is Jeanne Martin Dowdle. She has lived in Duquesne all her life and so did her mother, Jeanne Daley Martin. My mom worked at Adler-Green’s when I was little. She remembers a lot of stuff! She actually works at City Hall with Rosemary Denne…in Buck’s old office.

Debra Faust

What is your married name? = Debra Faust-Clancy
Years in Duquesne = 1951 – 1973
Where do you live now? = Ayer, MA outside of Boston
comments = Hey Jim, If you get a minute, I wouldn’t mind a photo of what used to be Irene’s Pizza Shop. Also one of St. Joseph’s Church at the top of Grant Ave, I’m not even Catholic, but it was such a landmark. You could see it’s spires on the way home from Kennywood, from the Hamilton Avenue extension. Also, one night some of classmates who will remain nameless put my girlfriend Shirley Husar (Bubba) in the Goodwill Box outside of St. Joseph’s school! She got out about an hour later, but I bet it was spooky in there! Oh! Those were fun days and nights! Every Sunday morning you could walk up to what used to be Butler’s pharmacy (across the street from St. Joseph’s) and buy a giant Sunday newspaper. While you’re at it, maybe one more of the old HS football field out in Duquesne Place. I spent quite a few freezing cold nights marching down that field with the majorettes and the band and Mr Pelar. (band director). Those few photos will bring back some mighty nice memories. I hope you enjoy yourself while back in Duquesne and if you get a chance go to Latina Pizza across the street from Kennywood for some great pizza. It’s where Irene’s moved to many years ago. They have the best Sicilian pizza anywhere–very thick square pizza slices with great sauce, terrific sausage with lots of flavor — sheesh, I’m making myself hungry! Enjoy your trip back and let us know what you ended up doing.

Carol Pobojeski


What is your married name? = Carol Lancz
Years in Duquesne = 1947 -1969
Where do you live now? = Pittsburgh
comments = I love the Blog. I have a picture of the ground breaking for St Mary’s church on Kennedy Ave. Not sure where it was taken. Maybe some of the group may know. It was taken September 25, 1938 in a very large hall showing hundred of people. I am curious about and wonder if any of your readers could supply information.

Carol Janusek

Years in Duquesne = 1976-2003
Where do you live now? = North Versailles, PA
comments = not sure how many of you haunts will be there HAHA. From 5th and Priscilla to 2nd and Priscilla is well gone…

Angelina McFadden

What is your married name? = Angelina Watson
Years in Duquesne = none
Where do you live now? = Brookline, PA
comments = I’ve really enjoyed reading your blog and all the other comments people have added. WHat originally brought me to your page was a search engine. Today I purchased a coat from an estate sale in West Mifflin and the coat looks like it might be fur but the tag inside said “Sally’s Fashions”. So that led me to your page and I absolutely love reading about the history. My family’s from North Side and as recently as the 1950’s Mt. Washington. So it’s nice to hear some points of history from a different part of Pittsburgh! Thank you.

Denise Hudak  (YES! I FOUND HER!!)


What is your married name? = Denise Ventura
Years in Duquesne = 1951 to 1975
Where do you live now? = West Mifflin Pa
comments = Hello Jim! Just found out about your blog. It is fantastic! It brought back so many memories of old friends, places, and parties. You have captured a life style and put it into words and pictures. Your blog is like the “Wonder Years” of our youth, living in the city of Duquesne. It really put a smile on my face to remember all the good times. I’m sure many good things and people will be remembered by reading your blog. Thank you for doing this.

Dennis Ragan

Years in Duquesne = 1952-1976
Where do you live now? = Indiana, PA
comments = Jim — Aren’t the Jim Volpe I remember from Serra HS? You would have been one year ahead of me, Just pulled out my 69 Juniper – I see you’re on p. 84. Funny you’re doing this blog when you lived in W. Mifflin and went to Serra!

Richard Oates

Years in Duquesne = 1936 to 1948

Where do you live now? = Burr Oak, Michigan

comments = went to St Joseph grade school 1936 to 1944 and Duquesne high 1944
to 1948 worked at Kennywood for several years while in hi school during summer
vacations Billy G and i went through 1st to grad from high school together we
were and still are good friends i know all about polish hill union woods nick
lee hollow so on and so forth seems i am some years older than you.

Jim Kemerer

Years in Duquesne = 1926 to 1936
Where do you live now? = Mission Viejo, CA
comments = The blog brings back many good memories. I went to Crawford elementry school, Junior High School and graduated from Duquesne High School in 1935. I remember going to Pitt Stadium to watch Duquesne H S play in the WPIAL playoffs and near froze to death. I started working in the mill as a laborer in 1936. I lived in Duquesne during the Depression. I remember seeing snow on the blast furnaces. I remember seeing everyone I knew on Saturday night at Murphys dime store, the Plaza theater,Eagles Drug or Matt Gallagers Drug Store, where we would square dance in the basement on Tuesday night.

 I remember the Hunky weddings in the summer humid heat. I remember dancing at Holy Name, St Joesph, and the Polish church on Kennedy Avenue. I remember buying a gallon of Blue Streak gas for 13 cents and driving to Paule’s Lookout to dance and eat chicken. I thought Duquesne was the world until I joined the Army and never returned to Duquesne.

Keith Whitmore

Years in Duquesne = 1948 to date
Where do you live now? = Duquesne, PA
comments = I wasn’t born in Duquesne (West Mifflin) but I have lived there most of my life. I was away from it for 4 years, was in the US Air Force, during that time. I saw lots of places then but, like a homing pigeon I always came back to Duquesne. I worked in the mill until it shut down, I was a jorneyman Pipefitter then. After the mill shut down I became a contractor & worked for Davis Contracting for 10 years. They worked out of West Mifflin for Scalise Co. I eventually ended up working at the country club, at least that’s what we use to call it when I worked in Duquesne mill. The country club is Irvin works, and oh yeah it’s the country club. Those guys there complain about everything.
Anyways, Back to Duquesne. I went to the public school there. But, I ended up being a deserter. I went to McKeesport Vocational High school I took up electronics there. That really helped me out when I went into the USAF. there I became a Weapons Mechanic and loaded all manner of aircraft with HE(high explosives). All kinds and  types of bombs, etc. Yeah,  those years learning electronics were a big help. LOL. But, it was knowledge put to good use later on in my work as a pipefitter and as a home owner.
Speaking of which I bought 2 homes in the city. My Mom’s and Dad’s home is where my one daughter lives now. I have another daughter living in Braddock. I bought Bill and Emma Ruhe’s home on Kahler Street, where my wife and I live. The Ruhe’s I can remember them living in the cellar foundation for a lot of years before they finally built the second and third floors.

 A lot of things have come and gone for Duquesne. It’s sad to see what has become of this old town. It used to be a teeming town. All types and manners of stores and it even had 2 movie houses. It’s sad to thinks what was once will no longer be. I keep hopping it will change, maybe it will but it really needs a big shot in the arm.

Kathryn “Kitty Jean” Topley


What is your married name? = Kathryn R. Morris (Kitty Jean)

Years in Duquesne = 1931-1948
Where do you live now? = Grand Prairie, Tex. 75050
comments = I enjoy the pleasant trip down memory lane. I had many hunky friends and still visit as often as possible. Thanks to Bill Gallagher and my cousin Margie Carr – they have brought this information to my attention. Please continue sending it to me. Currently I live right in the middle between Dallas and Ft. Worth. I live about a 10 minute drive from the Cowboy Stadium and loved the activity the Steelers brought to Texas. Mother Nature played a dirty trick on us with ice and snow. Sorry Steeler fans. Sure hope you come back maybe in 2016.

Veronica “Tootsie” Oeler


What is your married name? = Veronica “Tootsie” Bowen
Years in Duquesne = 1928 to 1989
Where do you live now? = Zelienople, Pa.
comments = There’s just something about being associated with the Duquesne Hunky!

Bob Namejko

Years in Duquesne = 1947 – 1952 and 1957-1969 (Chestnut Street) 1952-1957 Maine Ave, West Mifflin
Where do you live now? = Great Falls, VA
comments = No way you can remember me, but I played with your brother Steve when I lived on Maine Avenue. We played ball on the corner lot next to Billy Zewe’s house. Steve was the youngest, I was next, then Billy and finally Jimmy Lydon. We also jumped the fence at the cemetery and played ball on the only semi-level piece of land (without tombstones). Ironically, I re-met your brother when I moved to Great Falls. Steve was part of the Little League program here in Great falls until he moved away. That being said, I have a little dispute as to whether you were really from Duquesne. As my memory serves me, Thomas Avenue was just across the city line separating Duquesne and West Mifflin. In fact, in my mind’s eye, I can still see the sign that said you are entering West Mifflin (at the corner down from the old Kopriver’s Greenhouse/Florist which was a block or so from where you lived on I believe Mifflin St. So I think you are really a hunky from West Mifflin not Duquesne:) I lived in West Mifflin for five years across the street from Carolyn Yeager and three houses up from Beverly Mingo’s grandma’s house on the corner of Maine and Mellon and and when US Steel went on an extended strike we had to move back to my grandmother’s house on Chestnut Street.

Dawn Sloss

What is your married name? = Dawn Stavor
Years in Duquesne = 1957-1979
Where do you live now? = Key Largo Florida
comments = Brings back a lot of fond memories

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13 Responses to Voices From Duquesne – Part 4

  1. Mike Bilcsik says:

    We have many pictures of old Duquesne, but no one to my knowledge ever sound recorded it. Now it’s too late. Sounds I remember are the mill boiler house which had a large stack which released steam every minute or so. Not only was it loud, on a calm day it would send steam rings up into the sky. I lived in Riverview project and constantly heard large pipes being loaded onto barges. The Duquesne mill had a very loud whistle that blew around 1pm. This whistle was to tell those workers who were allowed to leave the mill for lunch, it was time to come back. They changed to a quieter whistle around 1962 or so. The streetcars had a sound of their own. The scrap yard in the mill which had a huge loud crane. There are so many sounds unique to Duquesne. What sounds do you remember?

  2. Linda Negley Gibb says:

    Bob Namejko,
    Do you have any idea where Carolynh Yeager is these days? She is my cousin & I’ve lost all trace of her & the other cousins on my dad’s side of the family. My mother never kept up with them after they left the area & I’d love to find her or her brother Butch. also my cousing Sharlene Carr.

  3. Rome Sikora says:

    Please add me to the subscription list. thanks

    • Jim says:

      I would love to add you to the subscription list, but unfortunately, that is something you will need to do on your end. I cannot add people on this end. To subscribe, just click on the email widget in the right had column of any of my post pages and you can enter the necessary information. Welcome home!!

  4. gary dillinger says:

    If anyone wants to know my e-mail address, it’s gary.dillinger@comcast.net

  5. gary dillinger says:

    hey jim. Im the brother of john dillinger.He told me about this site and i love it.

  6. Barry Long says:

    I see Richard Oates left no address. He is a shoe-string relative & would like to know what happened to his 2 younger brothers. In age I was between Gene & Pauly. Richard was Dicky in those days. I did hear his older brother became an attorney. Anyway we are all a long way from Wilmot & Grant Ave but still remember Aunt Gerty. Dick send me an e-mail. Barry Long

    • Ken Denne (55) says:

      Pauly was a pitcher on our Polish Hill team

    • Jack Schalk says:

      I remember the Oates family moving to Gary, In. sometime in the 50s.
      I have no idea of their whereabouts now.
      What about other members of that Polish Hill crowd that played baseball, like Jim and Ron Drotar?

  7. How do you get on this list?
    Would love to hear from friends from Duquesne/West Mifflin
    1953-1972 in WM/Duquesne area
    Went to WM North
    Church 1st English Luthern Church, Duquesne across from the Duquesne High School
    Carneigie Library – swimming dancing girlscouts library etc.. everything!!! feels like i lived at that Library in Duquesne everyday!!!! It was soooo much fun growing up there.
    My cousins still live there South 4th St. Duquesne
    I really miss Kennywood!!! Although I do visit occasionally
    I live in Florida now
    Hope to hear from you all soon

    betty jean (chase)

    • Jim says:

      Betty Jean,
      To subscribe to this blog, just click the subscribe button in the right hand column and fill in the information. You’ll get automatic updates whenever a new post is added. You may want ot check out my past posts that are titled Voices from Duquesne to see if you find anyone you recognize! WELCOME ABOARD!
      Jim – The Duquesne Hunky

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