Bisonalities, Again

A quarterly Newsletter dedicated to the Alumni of Waterford and Fort LeBoeuf High Schools

July 2004 --------------------------------------- Summer ------------------------------------ Volume 5 - Number 4

Welcome to the summer issue of the Newsletter dedicated to the alumni (students, teachers, and administrators) of Waterford and Fort LeBoeuf High Schools. This newsletter will be issued quarterly. New issues will be posted for viewing on the Web site on, or about, October 5, January 5, April 5, and July 5.

The Web site may be viewed by going to:

The success of this newsletter will depend on you. I need contributors. Do you have an interesting article, a nostalgia item, a real life story, or a picture you would like to share with other alumni? Do you have a snail-mail or an e-mail address of one of your classmates? Send it to me at the following e-mail address:

or at my snail-mail address.

Robert J. Catlin, Sr.
2670 Dakota Street
Bryans Road, MD 20616-3062
Tel: (301) 283-6549

Please, NO handwritten submissions.

The Bisonalities, Again Newsletter is available to any and all alumni, teachers, and administrators of Waterford or FLBHS on the Web site, free. If you know an alumnus, teacher, or administrator who would be interested, please ask them to contact me.

None of the material in this newsletter has a copyright. If you wish to make copies of this newsletter and distribute it to other Alumni or friends, please feel free to do so.

Death - Elaine C. Babbitt Roberts - Class of 1953

I regret to inform you of the death of a member of the class of 1953, Elaine C. Babbitt Roberts

Elaine C. Babbitt Roberts, 68, died Saturday, April 10, 2004, at her home after a lengthy illness.

She was born August 31, 1935, in Waterford, daughter of the late Paul Babbitt and Edith Seroka Babbitt.

She worked as a bank teller at the Sky Bank on Peach Street from 1989 to 1998. Prior to that, she worked at the First National Bank of Waterford from 1953 to 1959.

She graduated as valedictorian of the Waterford Academy in 1953.

She was a 49-year member of the First Presbyterian Church of Waterford, where she served as secretary from 1975 to 1993 and as financial secretary for more than 40 years. She enjoyed cross-stitching, knitting, church activities, and country decorating.

She was preceded in death by two sisters, Dorothy Andre and Evelyn Babbitt; and a grandson, Adam Richard Roberts.

Survivors include her husband, Richard R. Roberts, whom she married Oct. 15, 1955; three daughters, Leanne Martin and her husband, Jeff, of State College, Valerie Rupert and her husband, Walt, of Erie, and Cheryl Carner and her husband, Jon, of Roanoke, Va.; a son, Gregory Roberts and his wife, Robin, of Waterford; a sister, Marianne Babbitt Senger and her husband, Alfred, of Girard; a brother, Raymond Babbitt and his wife, Arlene, of Platea; 11 grandchildren; and many nieces, nephews, great-nieces and great-nephews.

Burial took place at the Waterford Cemetery.

Death of Catherine L. Resinger Abbott

It is with regret I inform you of the death of the wife of Hank Abbott, a graduate of the class of 1951.

Catherine L. Abbott, 81, of Pittsburgh Avenue, Millcreek Township, died Friday, April 9, 2004.

She was born Sept. 12, 1922, in Woodcock Township, Crawford County, daughter of the late George and Maude Long Resinger.

She had worked as dietary aide for Alpine Manor. She also had worked as a spray painter for Louis Marx, Co.

She graduated from Cambridge Springs High School.

She was a longtime member of the Star Club and was a member of the Knights of St. George.

She enjoyed bingo, crocheting, and traveling to Canada.

She was preceded in death by two brothers, Clarence and William Resinger; and a grandson, Douglas Reisinger.

Survivors include her husband, of 44 years, Henry (Hank) Abbott; two sons, Albert W. Reisinger and his wife, Sandra, of Edinboro, and Duane E. Colvin and his wife, Diane, of Erie; a daughter, Diane L. Wickramasinghe and her husband, Eardly, of Millcreek Township; 10 grandchildren; 13 great-grandchildren; and several nieces and nephews.

Burial was at Laurel Hill Cemetery.

Death of Patricia Ann Gocal Tillotson

It is with regret I inform you of the death of the Patricia Ann Gocal Tillotson, a graduate of the class of 1965.

Named Fire Lady of the Year in 1993

Patricia Ann "Pat" Gocal Tillotson, 58, of Miles Street, Union City, died at her home Thursday, April 22, 2004.

She was born in Erie on Dec. 29, 1945, a daughter of the late Stanley and Ann Gocal.

She was a member of the Union City Church of the Nazarene.

She also was a member and past president of the Union City Volunteer Fire Department ladies auxiliary. She was the 1993 recipient of the Fire Ladies of the Year award.

She was a member of Post 58 of the Veterans of the Vietnam War and belonged to the Red Hat Society.

She is survived by her husband, Perry Tillotson Sr., whom she married Oct. 14, 1967; a daughter, Sheila Brumagin and her husband, Dennis; two sons, Perry Tillotson Jr. and his wife, Stephanie Link, and Shawn Tillotson and his wife, Jacqui, all of Union City; five sisters, Marge Womack and her husband, Robert, of Trenton, N.J., Mary Higley and her husband, Robert, of Canadohta Lake, Rose Gehres of Union City, Veronica Miller and her husband, Joseph, and Nancy Hildum and her husband, Larry, all of Union City; three brothers, Steve Vargo and his wife, Carol, of Corry, Edward Gocal and his wife, Cathy, of Hydetown, and Stanley Gocal of Boston, Mass.; four grandchildren and several nieces and nephews.

Burial took place at Evergreen Cemetery, Union City.

Death of Robert E. Steffy - Retired from American Sterilizer

I regret to inform you of the death of Robert E. Steffy

Robert E. Steffy, 61, a resident of IHS of Erie at Bayside, died Monday, May 17, 2004. He was born Feb. 12, 1943, in Erie, son of Raymond Leroy Steffy Sr. and Marjorie Hickox Steffy of Waterford. A former resident of Waterford, he had lived at IHS for two years.

He worked for American Sterilizer Co., retiring after more than 20 years.

He graduated from Fort LeBoeuf High School in 1961, where he played baseball and football.

He was preceded in death by his wife, Rita Bambauer Steffy, in 1988; and a brother, Raymond Leroy Steffy Jr.

Survivors include two daughters, Susan Steffy Nichols and her husband, Keith, of McKean and Amanda Steffy of Erie; a stepson, Jason Hanmore of Erie; a brother, Charles J. Steffy and his wife, Heidi, of Erie; four grandchildren; and many nieces and nephews.

Burial took place at Waterford Cemetery.

Death of Paul Michael Colvin - Class of 1977

It is with sadness that I inform you of the death of Paul Michael Colvin.

Paul Michael Colvin, age 44, died Tuesday, June 8, 2004 at his residence following a heroic battle against cancer. He would have celebrated his birthday this coming Father's Day.

He was a 1977 graduate of Fort LeBoeuf High School.

Survivors include his wife Tracey J. Boyer Colvin; a daughter Lindy, attending Fort LeBoeuf Middle School; a son, Riley W. Colvin, a student at Robison Elementary School; his parents, Shirley Baressi, Sun City West, AZ and John W. Colvin, Erie; two sisters: Linda Rhodes and her husband Eric Schnurer, West Chester, PA; Mary Jo Gorman and her husband Paul, Leonardtown, MD; a brother, Jack Colvin and his wife Cindy, Williamsport, PA, and his mother and father-in-law Sally and Bernard Boyer, Apollo, PA. Many cousins, aunts, uncles, nieces and nephews also survive.

Burial took place at Calvary Cemetery.

When now-common household appliances seemed miraculous
by Herb Walden

I was thinking about our home appliances the other day. That's what happens when you're retired and have time to think.

I've thought about almost everything, and am now down to reminiscing about home appliances, specifically our first refrigerator. It was a new 1941 Philco, the last of the pre-war refrigerators. It was wonderful! There was a light inside, and you could actually freeze water and make little blocks of ice! You could even make ice cream! (We did; just once; it was awful.)

Inside the refrigerator were "crisper" drawers for vegetables, and a meat-keeper drawer under the freezing compartment. Below the door was a tilt-out potato bin.

If you're wondering why we were so excited about our new Philco, it's because it was replacing our old ice box. Ice boxes were sort of wooden cupboards with three or four doors. One of the doors opened to hold a block of ice, usually 25 or 50 pounds; the other doors revealed food compartments. A pan underneath caught meltwater.

Ice used to be cut out of Presque Isle Bay each winter and stored in insulated ice houses for summer use.

Back home in Waterford, there was a time when ice was harvested from Lake LeBoeuf. It was cut by hand with big cross-cut saws (by the Williamson brothers, Bob and Jim) and hauled away on bobsleds pulled by teams of horses. Since the teams and sleds were driven out onto the lake, the ice must have been pretty thick. All this was before my time. I wish I could have seen it. Ice for our ice box was manufactured, probably by the Koehler Brewing Company.

Forrest "Smiles" Moore delivered ice all around Waterford, stopping at homes that had ice cards in the windows (a square card with the word "ICE" in big letters).

Sometimes in the summer we needed ice between deliveries. There were small ice houses at the Mobil and Keystone gas stations. In the late '30s and early '40s, cars had bumpers made of heavy steel that stuck out a foot or so in front of and behind the car. A cake of ice fit nicely between the bumper and front fender if you set it in cornerwise. That's the way everyone hauled ice.

Nowadays, with all the talk about food poisoning and this bacteria and that bacteria, I wonder how all we ice box users ever survived.

My earliest memories of a kitchen stove are of a three-burner Perfection kerosene range. The burners used circular wicks which were lighted with a match and turned up and down with brass knobs. They were connected to a pipe carrying the kerosene from a glass reservoir that sat in a bracket on the end of the stove and held about a gallon of kerosene.

Around 1943, we got a Magic Chef gas range. It used bottled gas since there were no natural gas lines in Waterford then. Like the refrigerator, the gas stove was wondrous! Just turn a knob and on comes the flame!

But even more wondrous was the gas water heater. As long as the bottled gas lines were being installed for the stove, Dad had a water heater put in. Prior to that, our hot water came from a large tea kettle or pan on the kitchen stove. Mom heated water for laundry in a big galvanized tank that sat on another kerosene stove, similar to the kitchen range, in the back shed off the kitchen.

Talk about high tech! After the water heater was connected, we could get hot water right out of the faucet! It almost made a kid want to take a bath. I said "almost."

Mom did the washing in our Montgomery Wards' wringer-washer. A garden hose was connected to the drain valve so that the washer drained out onto the lawn. What a great place to slosh around in bare feet and pick up fishing worms. Worms do not like soap suds in their burrows, so they come to the surface in a hurry. And they are very clean.

The old wringer-washer lasted until 1951. When sparks and fire began to fly out of the motor as it was plugged in, Mom and Dad decided it was time for a new one.

They purchased a new Maytag automatic. This was really state of the art! It filled, it drained, it washed, it rinsed, it spun! And it did this all by itself! It was the smartest machine I had ever seen!

These were the days before sewage treatment plants and sewer lines. All the houses in Waterford were on septic tanks and cess pools. We were living in our new house by this time, and we had a cess pool for a basement drain. (For the younger generation, technologically a cess pool is a hole in the ground).

The basement drain was adequate for our needs. At least it had been up until now. Unlike the wringer-washer, which drained by gravity in the form of a slow drizzle, the new automatic pumped its water out. The first time we used it, we found our cess pool didn't quite soak up the water fast enough. In fact, after the first ten seconds of draining, we had a fountain of hot, soapy water shooting up out of the drain!

I suppose we could have shut it off, but this was the inaugural load of clothes! We hadn't even had time to read the instructions yet! So while the fountain continued, we scurried around trying to get things up off the floor before they got soaked. Dad finally got things fixed. It turned out the drain tile was partially plugged. The cess pool itself was plenty large enough.

So much for appliances. There were times I've thought my life hasn't been exciting. Imagine that!

Picnic to Honor Coach Shesman

A picnic was held in Porter Park at Lake LeBoeuf on Sunday, June 13, 2004, honoring coach Joe Shesman.

There was a good turnout, on a beautiful day, under the pavilion, with a lot of good eats and lots of good stories. It was a great representation of attendees. Some were graduates of Waterford Academy who had got to know Joe through football with their sons. There were coaches such as Norb Cyterski, Bob Sensor, Jim Wolf, Clarence Schrimper, Art Steves and Ed Orris. Cheerleading coach, Betty Davis also attended. Players who also coached such as Marty Rimpa, Sean Wolfrom and Walley Mahle attended. Carm Bonito and his wife, Alice, were there to honor Joe. Joe brought Izzy, who used to teach English at the school. There were a lot of players. They ranged from the 50's, when Joe was an assistant, to many from the 80's and 90's, while he was head coach. Many kind and funny stories were related and some typical heartfelt remarks from Joe which were kind and inspiring.

The players gave a DVD player to both Joe and Carm Bonito so they can watch the DVD about the history of FLB football.

The DVD is to be finished next February and will be available to the public at that time.

Be safe!

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