The Holy Name Gang

I couldn’t wait to share the photograph below with all of you. Thanks to Colleen Byrne Travis, I was immediately transported to the steps of Holy Name School during the 1950’s. The photo was actually taken in 1955, and based on what the boys are wearing, it must have been in the Spring. I know that Frank Mullen was a member of Duquesne High School’s Class of 1962 which means that some of this group of young men must have been in 5th Grade when the picture was snapped. Since there are so many boys in the snapshot, they must have been in a mixed grades. Seriously, if  this whole gang were in one class with one of our dear nuns, I am sure she would have left the sisterhood immediately.

Colleen and her brother Tom sat down and identifield 14 of the kids pictured. Some of the identifications are incomplete, so I hope that you all can help us i.d. more of them. Here’s what Colleen had to say:

“1955 – Back door of Holy Name School. My brother Tom (not pictured) would have been in the 8th grade, helped to identify these kids. Larry McConnell is Mrs. McConnell, the cafeteria cook’s son.  He was in my brother Patrick’s class. ? Smith was from a large family. His sister Diane was in your brother Steve’s class and his sister Rosemary was in my class. Ross Wirth is Barbara’s brother. John Connolly had a sister Ellen in my class. I guess Frank Mullen is the ne who responds to your blog. Lee Mackay had an older brother, Ray. Love the raincoat.”

Colleen sent me the actual photo to share with you along with the following note:

“I think Frank Mullen and Howard Lehman are mixed up because Howard’s brother Ronald was in my class and he had real blonde hair like the one in the picture.”

Maybe Frank or another of our friends can help identify the other boys in the picture. I’m including a clean copy of the photo as well as the i.d. copy and notes. Enjoy your trip back in time:

I remember standing at the very top of these steps and banging the backs of the chalkboard erasers together. We’d produce this big cloud of white dust and usually came back from the chore completely covered in chalk dust. I used to pound the erasers against the black handrails to clean them at times. If any of the nuns caught me doing this, I would always get into trouble.

Now, let’s see if you remember any of the names……

Here are the name that Coleen and her brother Tom associated with the faces:

1. Patrick Byrne (Colleen’s brother – R.I.P. – 1945-2012)

2. Ross Wirth

3. Lee Mackay

4. David Yoesal

5. Maybe Frank ? Minnick

6. ? Ross

7. Maybe Billy ? Minnick

8. Clifford Pitts

9. Frank Mullen

10. ? Smith

11. Frank Lokmer

12. John Connelly

13. Howard Lehman

14. Larry McConnell

I have labeled the remaining kids that you might be able to i.d. Not every face is visable, so do your best in putting a name with a face! Check the photos below to help name the boy. Use the comment section and put a name with the letter to help I.D.:

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31 Responses to The Holy Name Gang

  1. Ellen Connolly Patsche says:

    #12 in the picture is John Connolly (the last name is spelled incorrectly)

  2. Elaine Smith Cline says:

    Yes # 10 is Tom Smith. (r.I.p.)

  3. Alan Belancik says:

    Hey – a big shout out to Kathy Dobransky – who sat behind me (alphabetically) at Holy Trinity!! Remember – Mary Frances Alzo was first alphabetically and I was second (Belancik) and you were next? Didn’t you hang out a lot with Cheryl Gazdek??

    Those were the days! I’m new to the “Duquesne Hunky” so be nice and get me started by responding and letting people know I’m in the loop. Now that I’ve reached 60 (My fater never got to be this old)..I’m starting to look back more than look ahead. I’d love to hear from anyone who ever walked to Kennywood and stopped at the Dairy Queen across from Schreiber’s Chevrolet and the Eagles. I tell people (here in New Hampshire) that we’d leave the house with $1, spend 40 cents to get in (all day) and then have the rest to spend on food – like french fries, frozen milky ways, hot dogs or an ice cream bar. What’s a dollar get you today compared to that? Some of the songs they played at the pool were pretty hokey, though.

    OK – your turn..

    What’s up at your end of the world?

    Cheers,
    Alan Belancik
    Holy Trinity Class of 1965

    • Rege Kostelnik says:

      Hi Alan! We are plannng a trip to the New England states next spring and I thought of you. I found this site while looking for your address. We have wanted to get in touch since your phone call years ago. So much to catch up on. Hope to talk soon. Rege Kostelnik

      • Kathy Dobransky Hudak says:

        Rege Kostelnik!!! Remember me, from Holy Trinity??? I know it’s been a loooooooog time!!! Just saw this post now, just as I was saying to Alan too. Really… 2 years later !!!

    • Kathy Dobransky Hudak says:

      Alan !!!!!!!!!!!! OMG, U remember me!!! lol. I was looking back for something, I JUST saw this, 2 years later!!! I remember Mary Frances, Cheryl, I remember lots of the kids. I see Rege just posted something too. Wow, so how the hell u been?? New Hampshire???? Too darm cold for me!! I don’t think ur on Facebook, but u should !! There is a page for Holy Trinity peeps, and I posted our class pics on there. Talk about the past!!! LOL
      Friends with Christine Miklos, Denise Pontist, and Gregg Vesonder. Yes Cheryl was my best friend all thu High School. Loved going to Kennywood, remember the school picnics??? And the pool was fun, till the removed it. Well, I hope u get this post Alan!!

  4. Bob Chermonitz says:

    Hi Jim, I remember some of these folks very well. I recall Clifford Pitts, his brother Larry was in our class, very well. Always a gentleman he went on to be a pretty good football player for DHS. If I’m not mistaken he also became the Mayor of Wilkensburg, Pa. Anyway, the Pitts family were good people. Larry taught me a lesson I never forgot when he told me “To stop cussin’, Robert!” while playing football at the high school stadium. Alas, I believe they have both departed this world but will, for as long as I live, remain in my memory.

    • Alan Belancik says:

      Bob Chermonitz, You ole dog, you

      I know my memory is bad…. but didn’t you live on Clearview? Your dad’s name was Throck and your Mom’s was Tess, I think???

      Anyway, one time your dad was repairng something on his car – like everyone did back then, especially Joe Racan…he sent us to the Atlantic station (near Dairy Queen) and we got the wrong viscosity or whatever. Remember that day?

      We did a lot of other cool stuff, but some things stick in one’s head.

      I’m new to the Duquesne Hunky, so get things started for me by responding.

      Thanks!

      I see Jack White a couple times each year when I’m visiting from New Hampshire

      Be well,

      Alan Belancik
      Duquesne Boulevard (let’s go to Palchack’s and buy some Pepsi)

      • Bob Chermonitz says:

        Alan,
        Good gravey, Marie!! You know, I’m starting to believe Jim’s blog is kinda like the tv show Cheers. Just when you start to think it’s a dog-eat-dog world and you’re wearing milkbone underwear, somebody knows your name! Believe it, or not, I’ve thought of you from time to time. I sure hope you’re doing well. Yes, for a year or two we did live on Clearview and you and I were good friends. I remember your folks, too. Your dad always had the Lionel train set up for Christmas and he even allowed us to play with it (although we were supervised). I’m sorry to hear he’s gone. Wasn’t he a Duquesne fireman?
        You have my mom’s name correct but my dad was Bob. Throck, his nickname, came from a character he played in a high school play, “Throckmorton”. If I read correctly your mom is still alive. I can see her in my mind. Do you remember us setting up a bird trap in your backyard (a box with a stick tied to a string holding the box up) using bread your mom supplied? I do. Seemed like we waited hours and hours but we never caught a bird. I sure hope the years have been kind to you. Hope to read more of your posts here. Jim’s blog is almost addicting! Bob 🙂

  5. Tracey Prisalac Dunn says:

    My Mom is Jackie Welsh and that is her bother Mike! Its was soooo great to see all of the folks I remember for back in the day(but you guys were adults by the time I came around!) We are going thru a bunch of picture we found, so it was by luck I found this blog!

  6. Colleen Byrne Travis says:

    Kathy, I wasn’t bad just liked to talk and still do. I remember when you had detention for going to Mrs. Parker’s to buy lick m aid. Then, you were punished at home and was banished to your room. Made us short a player for Omar Street hide and seek.Remember the fun we had? We had to stay in front of our houses after “street lights”. How about all of those prank phone calls we used to make. With caller Id, we’d be in jail today. We all got on a Hoola Hoop kick for a while, too.

    • Frank Mullen says:

      Colleen, Your comments to Kathy reminded me of what play was like in those days – we interacted with PEOPLE, not devices. We were a heads-up group of children, who looked other kids straight in the eyes, not heads-down individuals, somewhat oblivious of those around us, gazing enraptured at a tiny screen “connecting” us with others. Did you notice that in every single one of the replies within this conversation initiated by Jim, we are talking about PEOPLE we got to know IN-PERSON ? It’s those individuals we miss and the whole society created by their interaction. I fear what may be lost nowadays, as so many direct their barely-divided attention onto “mumblity-pegging” their thumbs across a tiny keyboard, instead of reaching out and holding another person’s hand, as you can see two friends doing in the front row of the Holy Name School back porch photo.

      • Colleen Byrne Travis says:

        Frank, I agree. We did our chores at home, then went out to play ALL DAY LONG. My dad would come to the door and whistle. We went home for dinner, helped with dishes and back out to play. None of us were fat because we played so hard. I don’t think we even watched television in the summer. I raised my kids quite the same way. They and one other kid were the only ones out playing in our suburban neighborhood where we lived in the 80’s.

  7. Dianne Buczynski Kasten says:

    Loved the picture, thanks. I went to school with David, Ross, Lee, and both Franks. I see that people think the boy in the raincoat is probably Marty Reagan, but it looks like my husband, Paul Kasten. He looks a year younger than the other boys and Paul
    would have been 6/7 in 1955. Paul won’t admit to wearing the raincoat, so I’m on my own here. Dianne Buczynski Kasten

    • Alan Belancik says:

      Dianne,

      I don’t now iof we ever met – forgive me if we did…but I’m posotive that I went to Serra with your husband, Paul Kasten. Ask him…was it the SerraNaders? …was it the wrestling team?…

      I’m new to the Duquesne Hunky, so I’m trying to initiate conversations. Your response is most appreciated!!

      Alan Belancik
      Serra High Schol
      Class of 1969

      OK it was the SerraNaders!!

      • Dianne Buczynski Kasten says:

        Yes Alan, It was the SerraNaders. Paul was in the class of 1966. I was in St. Peter’s Class of 1965.
        Glad you found this blog. Isn’t it great? Dianne Kasten

    • Mary says:

      Hi Dianne.. I am pretty sure your husband was in my class.. Graduated 1962 8th grade.. Sister Mary Daniel was the Principal and her first year there..

  8. Colleen Byrne Travis says:

    Chuck, I do remember that substitute teacher. I don’t remember his name, but he majored in German and taught us our prayers in German. I guess that was the only job he could find at the time. He probably made $5,000.00 that year. I also remember one afternoon when our class brought him to tears. Ah well, I ‘m sure he developed character subbing @ HN. However, Sister Mary Daniel was not only one of the nicest people I have ever met, she was indeed the nicest nun I have ever met. A great lady. I remained friends with her until she passed at the age of 95 a few years ago.

    • crbii says:

      He wasn’t the only teacher we brought to tears. Remember Mrs. Julianna begging us to shut up before Fr. Burns (?) showed up.
      I am impressed/amazed that you were able to keep in touch with Sr. Mary Daniel. I lost all touch with the school, except for our North High/Holy Name crew. I just saw a post from Dianne Buczynski. Isn’t that Henry’s sister?
      >for all, wouldn’t it be cool to have an all class reunion Mass and get together – so many familiar names – wonder who is living and where – and who is gone and why.

      • Jim says:

        The best part of the idea of a reunion of sorts is that it truely would be like family coming together. Non-judgemental friends who appreciate the fact that they are able to meet, reminisce, share life experiences and just revel in the joy of camaraderie in the spirit of love. There is a bond that links all of us, regardless of when we were born, where we went to grade school or high school, or where we ended up. That bond is our love for our hometown. If it could only be.

      • Colleen Byrne Travis says:

        Yes, Diane is Henry’s sister.

    • Mary says:

      Colleen. Is Becky your sister?? We were really good friends.. You lived on Kennedy Avenue..

  9. crbii says:

    Wow, thanks Colleen for sharing. A lot of those boys were my sister’s, Marcy’s, classmates. I especially remember Ross Wirth (neighbor) and Dave Yoesal.
    And, I also remember dusting erasers off the back porch, a fun ‘job’. I remember standing lookout from there when some not-to-be-named classmates let the air out of a substitute teacher’s tires. I forget his name, but he wasn’t well liked, obviously. (Colleen do you remember him – I think we had him in 7th or 8th grade for a while. I seem to recall Sr. Mary Daniel was out ill?).

    Jim, I was just down to Duquesne a few weeks ago. Tried to enter church, but it was locked – how odd. Stood outside and just tried to remember what it was like way back when. Kind of strange not seeing the school.

    • Jim says:

      I know what you mean about missing the school. I happen to have been there the day they tore the school down and snagged a few of the bricks as momentos. They take up a spot that is front and center in our flower garden.

      • Colleen Byrne Travis says:

        Jim, I was there that day, too. I was going to Schleiffer Funeral Home to see Web Wrobleski’s father. I couldn’t believe that that beautiful old structure was being demolished. Why did they have to do that? Was it condemned? If those walls could talk…

  10. Frank Mullen says:

    Some thoughts on the names: #6. Robert (?) Ross. #8. Yes, Clifton Pitts as I recall him, often w/ hs head down like that. #9. Yes, me.(What in the world am I complaining about there? Silly boy.) #10. Tom (?) Smith. #12. You have him as John Connelly. Are we sure that boy isn’t Jay Wilson? Michael Welsh (sp?) might be “B” (?), but I’m uncertain. I was looking for Dennis Michaels, too, but don’t see him. Could Martin Regan be “C” ???? (I remember him having a safety raincoat like that.) I thought at first the photo was a group-shot of all the “Safety Patrol Boys”, accounting for the variety in ages, it appears, but nobody has his badge and white over-the-shoulder belt on. Richard Boland is “H” ???
    That’s the best I can do for now.

    Jim, I sent you a photo of the Holy Name Altar Boys, a little while back. Do you think seeing that along w/ this photo might help for cross-referencing?
    Frank

  11. Colleen Byrne Travis says:

    Well done, Jim! My dad took that picture at lunch time. Remember, the back alley was blocked off for the boys during recess. He just grabbed a bunch from the alley and took the picture. I guess that’s why my brother, Patrick was in the front row.

    • Colleen Byrne Travis says:

      The boy with the glasses behind Clifford Pitts is Billy Stanley.

      • Colleen Byrne Travis says:

        The boy in the raincoat is probably Marty Reagan. Mrs. Reagan probably told him to wear the coat and he did rain or shine! His sister Arlene was in my class. Sister Marie Ursula taped hers and my mouth shut one afternoon.Oh well, two Irish girls just having a little chat when sister was at the board. The worst part was that we had to stay after school which meant that I missed the DMCL bus and had to walk to WEST MIFFLIN!!!!! She’d be in jail today. Wore that tape until the 3:00 bell. Just remember that my brother ,Tom was in eighth grade when the picture was taken. He did his best to identify these kids. We had fun on Easter at my house trying to put a name on those cute little faces. This is a “blast from the past” Mike Welsh’s brother Richard was in my class.

      • Kathy Dobranskt Hudak says:

        Hey Colleen good job remembering!!! I didn’t realize you were that bad in catholic school!!! LOL. And I am really sorry to hear about Patrick, my sympathy to you and Tom!!. Ps, tell him I said Hi!!!! I also went to my old school, Holy Trinity in Duquesne, quit a few years ago. Sad but man a lot of memories in that school!!!!!!

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