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Nazareth, Pa., United States

Monday, April 25, 2016

Tribute to 32 NorCo Retirees Who Passed Away Last Year

Often maligned, most in the public sector workforce are actually very dedicated employees. They are mostly unsung heroes. Elected official will hog the limelight, but they know who's really responsible for plowing your roads and keeping you and your loved ones safe. On the County level, it could be a nurse's aid changing a bedpan or a caseworker investigating abuse. I want to take a moment to honor 32 County retirees who passed away last year.

Sadly, there are a few about whom I know nothing. But there are many more who have very fascinating stories and who touched many people.

Doris Lombardo was one such person. She was in her 70's, but could still go out with the girls on a Friday or Saturday night and enjoy herself. She knew everything, and when she retired, I know a few people who offered her jobs. She was always willing to work with someone about to lose his or her home.I also remember Charles Trapani, a courthouse fixture for many years.

As you go through these names, if you remember something about anyone who passed away last year, please share it in the comments. I will attempt to have Jerry Seyfried pass your remarks along at the semi-annual retiree luncheon on May 10.

Their keynote speaker will be the Hon. Jack Panella, Superior Court Judge of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. I once had lunch with him at the courthouse and can still remember all the women swooning over him. He recently became a grandfather. Unfortunately, his grandson was born on February 29, and will only have a birthday once every four years.


Malcolm Shaffer, 1/3/15 - He was employed as an accountant.

Lois Allen, 1/12/15, - LPN who retired from the County in 1997 after 12 years at Gracedale.

Vincent Ramunni, 2/5/15 - a U.S. Marine, Easton police lieutenant, member of Bach Choir, deeply involved at St. Anthony's.

Pat Repsher, 2/23/15 - LPN who retired from Gracedale after 20 years.

Carol Benn, 2/24/15 - a retired beautician from Gracedale and graduate of Empire Beauty School.

Charles Trapani, 2/26/15 - Army vet, self-employed mason and maintenance worker in Northampton County who retired in 1989.

Alan Fowler, 3/1/15 - He recruited Jerry Seyfried, when they both worked for the Bethlehem Steel, to run for Exec. He founded rock nband Alexander Rabbit and Pickens, where he was the drummer. He was hired to work in the County and made his way through the ranks until he was placed in charge of the county's communications system. Controversial and outspoken, he sued The Bethlehem Globe Times for libel for articles that implicated him in a marijuana-growing operation in Bethlehem Township.

Sandra Donato, 2/18/15 - A graduate of Northampton Community College's nursing program, shewas anurse at Gracedale for 15 years. She passed away at the young age of 52.

David Wood, 3/24/15 - He was nicknamed "Woody" and passed away in an auto accident.

Kathryn Werner, 4/14/15 - She was a graduate of Churchman's Business School.

Vera Sisolak, 5/4/15. - She was the real estate supervisor in Northampton County until her retirement in 1979.

Elizabeth Ace, 7/2/15 - She was a nurse's aid and then a LPN at Gracedale for 40 years.

Dorothy Neuner - 7/17/15. - She had been a dietery aid at Gracedale for 17 years and was a volunteer there as well as a driver for meals-on-wheels.

Betty Buralli, 7/3/15.- She had been the Executive Sec'yto Commissioner and then Executive Marty Bechtel. She retired around 1985 and moved to Florida.

Kathleen O'Connell, 4/16/15. -

Susan Bendus, 6/18/15. - A graduate of St.Luke's School of Nursing, she served this country as a nurse in the Korean War. She then devoted her nursing career to Gracedale, where she retired as a supervisor. She returned to nursing at area hospitals during a polio epidemic.

Pauletta "Pat" Meixsell, 8/23/15. - She worked in Northampton County's HR Department for 25 year and had only recently retired. She was also active in St. John's Lutheran Church in Nazareth.

Doris Lombardo, 8/24/15. - She ran the Sheriff's Sales in Northampton County for 30 years, and had a photographic memory. I could walk up to her with just a last name, and she would know immediately when the sale had occurred and would have the file in my hand. Though she was 78 years old, she was one of the County's hardest and most highly regarded workers.

Jane Schaeffer, 9/9/15. - retired from the laundry department at Gracedale. After her retirement, she came back as a volunteer. She was a graduate of William Allen High School.

Larry Rex, 8/17/15. - An avid outdoorsman who grew up "on the montain," was a Vietnam War vet, worked the railroad and was invilved with the Game Commission.

Elizabeth Lipko, 10/4/15. -

Frances "Fanny" Vogel, 10/4/15. - She was a nurse's aid at Gracedale until her retirement in 1992, and then came back as a volunteer.

Frank Mincavage, 4/24/15. - was a caseworker and had transferred to Lehigh County.

Margaret Brandt, 9/18/15. - a dedicated nurse that served as the STAFF DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR at Gracedale up until her retirement.

Dorothy Hariegle, 10/20/15. - She was a custodian at Gracedale who retired in 1980 and made it to age 100.

Regina Fritchman, 10/14/15. - a 40-year medical assistant at Gracedale who remained very active in St. John's Evangelical Lutheran Church in Nazareth.

Barbara Gregalis, 10/23/15. - a LPN at Gracedale for over 25 years.

Donna Bachman, 11/6/5. - a ballerina in her youth, Donna worked in the County's Area Agency on Aging, from which she retired in 2013. She was only 66.

Damon Morrell,10/31/15. - Damon worked 17 years at Gracedale, and then returned as a volunteer like so many others.

Craig Bellis, 12/28/15. - A Vietnam War vet, Bellis served as a corrections officer for 33 years before he retired in 2007.

Barbara Johnson, 11/4/15. - She was a house parent at the Juvenile Justice Center for 25 years.

Peggy Constable, 8/7/15. - a resident of Allentown.

Sandra Erickson.
- a nurse at Gracedale who also worked in Staff development.


Anonymous said...

Thank you Bernie for recognizing these individuals. I remember my first day on the job, back in 1993, when I met Craig Bellis. He scowled at me and frankly scared the hell out of me. That was his way of putting a rookie in his place. He quickly became one of my favorite people. Crusty on the outside but warm on the inside. Sadly he spent much of his retirement battling cancer, but he fought it with a smile. I will miss him...TD #117

Anonymous said...

I don't know any of these people, Bernie, but I think it's fantastic of you to recognize them and solicit others to share memories.

Anonymous said...

Margaret Brandt was a dedicated nurse that served as the STAFF DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR at Gracedale up until her retirement.
Also Sandra Erickson passed away this past year. She was a member of the Staff Development Staff at Gracedale.