R.I.P. Dr. Norb Szymula

Norb was a great guy. He had it all - athletic ability, brains, good manners and a good sense of humor. He deserved all the success he achieved through the years.

His official obit:

Norbert James Szymula, beloved husband of Annette (Sleyman) for 48 years, passed away on December 23, 2019 from complications due to a chronic illness. Born in Rochester, NY, he was the son of Phyllis (Kuras) and Walter Szymula.

Norbert graduated with honors from St. John Fisher College and UB Medical School. He served the community through his private medical practice for 32 years, specializing in ears, nose and throat conditions and in allergies. He belonged to several professional organizations, including being publicity director and lecturer for the American Association of Otolaryngic Allergy. Over the years, Norbert also worked as Medical Director of Inter-Community Memorial Hospital, as a part time physician at Mt. St. Mary's ENT Clinic and at the Air Force Base in Niagara Falls. Norbert enjoyed cruising and traveling, especially to Vegas, visiting casinos, playing golf, and spending time with his family.

Norbert is survived by his wife, Annette; his daughters, Maureen "Molly" ("Petie") Rickard, Genevieve "Gena" (Michael) George, and Victoria Szymula. He also leaves his grandchildren, Ian and Dylan Rickard, also Broderick, Shamus, Yeardley and Quinlan George; and great-grandson, Rylan Rickard. He will also be missed by his sister, Camelia Zabelny; nephews, James (Kelly) and William (Constance) Zabelny; and niece, Dr. Lisa (Ryan) Zabelny; five great-nieces and great-nephews, and dozens of cousins, many friends, colleagues, and former patients.

The family will receive relatives and friends at Rutland-Corwin Funeral Home Inc., 2670 Main Street in Newfane on Sunday, December 29th from 2-4 PM and 6-8 PM. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Monday, December 30th at 11:00 AM in St. Charles Borromeo Oratory of St. Brendan's on the Lake Parish, 5972 Main Street in Olcott, NY.

In lieu of flowers, donations in Norbert's memory can be made to MDA (Muscular Dystrophy) or the charity of one's choice. Please visit rutland-corwin.com to send a condolence to the family.

R.I.P. Lesia Kysil

Obituary as follows:

Lesia Kysil (Irondequoit) passed away peacefully amongst her beloved family on the evening of Thursday, October 31st, 2019 at the age of 71.

Predeceased by her parents, Adam & Teresa Kysil; brother, Eugene Kysil. Lesia is survived by her daughter, Christina (Matthew) Minnamon; sister, Anna Kysil; niece, Teresa (Nick) McCully; grandnephews, Ethan & Gavin McCully; granddaughter, Addison Minnamon, her absolute pride and joy.

Lesia was the most devoted Mama, Babcha, Ya-Ya, Teta and a wonderful friend to many. Lesia devoted 30 years of her life working at the Ukrainian Federal Credit Union. She retired at the end of 2018, to start her new journey in life as a Babcha.

Her spirit was one of determination and strength, that she demonstrated in all aspects of her life right until the end. She will be missed dearly by many.

Her family will receive friends Thursday, November 7th, 4-7 pm at the funeral home (570 Kings Highway South). Panachyda 6:30pm. Friends are invited to meet the family Friday, November 8th at 10:00am at the Ukrainian Catholic Church of Epiphany for her Divine Liturgy. Interment, Holy Sepulchre Cemetery. To share a memory or send the family a condolence, please visit www.harrisfuneralhome.com

Published in Rochester Democrat And Chronicle from Nov. 1 to Nov. 6, 2019

Sad news about a former teacher

Karen Czarnowsky Castellano, class of '66, informed us that Brother Barry (Aloysius James Barry) passed away November 10, 2019.

After 20 years as an Irish Christian Brother, Jim Barry left the order, becoming a father and grandfather.

His obituary reads:

Passed peacefully surrounded by the love of family & friends November 10, 2019 at the age of 85.

Predeceased by his parents, Stephen & Margaret; son, Ryan; brothers, John, Ted, Stephen"Jerry", & Thomas; sister, Ann Curtin.

Survived by children, Kiera (Bill) Swan, Gavin (Mariana), Maura(Rome) Barry; grandchildren, Olivia, Ryan, Brenna, Ella, & Finnegan; sister, Eileen McGloin; & many nieces, nephews, cousins & friends.

Jim was born in the Bronx, to a first generation Irish American family. He lived a life dedicated to service to his family & his Catholic faith. Served as a Christian Brother for 20 years & a teacher for 50 years.

R.I.P Mary Jean Filiberti

Mary Jean 'MJ' Filiberti

Dec. 18, 1948 - Oct. 22, 2018

From her obituary:

Mary Jean "MJ" Filiberti passed away Oct. 22, 2018 after a brave four year battle with breast cancer. Her partner of 16 years, Ken Neuschwanger, was always by her side; they shared their life adventures together.

 MJ grew up in Rochester, N.Y., and studied ballet and acting in NYC. She was very cultured and passionate about dance, theater, film, comedy, music, painting, drawing and fashion. MJ earned her Master's degree in Elementary and Special Ed., at PSU and loved teaching at North Clackamas School District for 25 years. MJ was an athlete, loved to run, swim, hike, kayak, ski and cycle. Excelled as a chef and loved gardening. MJ had an awesome sense of humor, loved Broadway and The Eiffel Tower. Her dream job was to be a super model! MJ was tenacious and overcame great challenges to achieve her goals. MJ will be dearly missed but always in our hearts.

Greg's addition: 

I never dated her, but if I had been a forward kind of guy, I would have. She was beautiful and humble, and I loved her sense of humor. I talked to her about a decade ago, and it was as pleasant as ever. I was impressed that she was genuinely interested in my life. The world is a colder place without her.

R.I.P. (teacher) Mike Fitzpatrick

Our former teacher, Mike Fitzpatrick, has passed away. He was my history teacher in freshman year, as well as my first debate coach. I'm not sure when he left BK, but I got to know him again after college, when he managed a bank across from Eastridge H.S. We became good friends for two years, 1970-72, during which time we occasionally hung out with our wives, so I guess he forgave or forgot all the pranks I played on him when he was our teacher.

I moved to Florida at the end of that period and lost track of him, but I remember above all that he was a good guy, fair and honest, with a good sense of humor.


Because Roger Palma's comment is so informative, I am adding it below:

Thanks for the update, Greg. I also am sorry to learn of Mike’s passing. I was in that same Freshman history class with Mike Critelli and Greg, though unlike Mike, I was not an avid student, so it was one more missed opportunity for learning. But, it was clear that he was one of the good guys on the faculty.

On the subject of faculty, I thought I’d pass on a few brief updates. As a few of you know, after graduating from college, I returned to BK as a teacher for three years. I made many lasting friendships during that time, some of whom you will remember as teachers when we were there, and some who, sadly are no longer with us. Recently, I attended a small party of ex-teachers at Jean Sellitto Massare’s home. Jean had been a mentor for me in the Social Studies Department. Her husband, Ed, has been a close friend for many years, and also a mentor during the summers when I was in law school. Sadly, Ed now has Alzheimer’s. Jean, however, is doing very well, even amidst these challenges, and is as full of life as ever.

Also in attendance were Don Griffin and Frank Sementino. Both Don and Frank were in the front end of their teaching careers, and probably had minimal overlap with the class of ’66. They are both retired, and have remained in the area. Over the years, I've seen Marty LaFica frequently as we were both members of the Blue Heron Hills Golf Club. Marty has moved to Florida and then the Carolinas. I don’t know where he lives now, but I’ll probably see his son at the golf course this summer, and learn more. I never saw Marc Zicari after he left BK, but I recently met his cousin Craig, a retired lawyer who is a neighbor in our new residence and we shared some fond memories of Marc. I made friendships with quite a few of the brothers, but had no contact with them after I left Kearney. I had very little contact with the nuns while I was there, other than Sr. Judith (Weber, now Judy Shaw) whom I see occasionally as she is a cousin of a close friend.

On a very separate note, I recently had the pleasure of seeing classmate Phil Dollard perform at the Little Theater Cafe. Phil, who just returned to Rochester recently, is a very accomplished guitarist, and can sing some folksy blues. He has an interesting and eclectic repertoire. I hadn’t seen him since we graduated from college, and in fact, we had gone through sixteen years of school together. Phil will be back at the Little at the end of September, and I urge anyone living in the area to consider checking it out. He may also be performing elsewhere before that, so keep an eye on the local music calendars.

R.I.P. Eugene Read

Some 13 years ago, when I first assembled the pioneerclass.com website, I wrote that we had no information about Eugene Read, but that I found a Eugene M. Read who was the correct age living in Suffield, Connecticut.

It turns out that was the correct Eugene. He lived two decades in Suffield. He was a stranger to our alumni community. He didn't attend reunions or stay in touch with anyone else from the class. He didn't answer our letters, although we apparently had the correct address. I don't know why. I never talked to him and was never in any classes with him. I didn't know him at all, except as a face in the hall, yet I find myself saddened at his desire to separate from us so completely, and by the fact that we didn't know about his death until 3 1/2 years after the fact.

Picture me as described by James Joyce, "His soul swooned slowly as he heard the snow falling faintly through the universe and faintly falling, like the descent of their last end, upon all the living and the dead."

That's who we are, as humans, so vulnerable that we are capable of being affected by old news about a faintly seen ghost, nothing more than a dimly remembered image from nearly 60 years past, now perished with the ancient memories unchanged. We are touched this way because his death is ours,  a memento mori, reminding ourselves of our own mortality, and the vast mileage already on our tires, with perhaps not so much wear left on the treads.

Farewell, Eugene. Nos morituri te salutamus.

Here is Eugene's obit.

Don Zientara in concert in Rochester

He's a legend in the punk rock scene, having produced many of the greats of the genre, and he's our '66 classmate.

Now Don Zientara is coming back to the Flower City for a night in which he promises "songs, stories and answers," which he can't fully realize unless you bring the damned questions!

Mark your calendars for 8 PM on April 24th for a night to remember at the Ugly Duck, 89 Charlotte Street!

Don's contact info:
  • zdz801@aol.com
  • (703) 820-8923
  • (703) 521-7781

R.I.P. Marc Zicari

The following was written by Ron Adams, '66

In today's (well, yesterday's now) newspaper is an obit for C. Marc Zicari, born 8/18/38. I would never recognize him: white hair, white beard, white mustache. He had 10 kids and something like 24 grandkids. It says he graduated from St. Bernard's Seminary, and after BKHS he taught for 29 years in Webster high schools. Death last Sunday, visitation Friday (tomorrow), funeral Saturday. No cause of death noted, but it looks like he had been in hospice, so maybe cancer.

The obit has a quote from Sainte-Exupery's novel The Little Prince, which I remember reading in French in college. I satisfied my foreign language requirement with three courses in French. In case you are in contact with Brian Goonan, I also satisfied the foreign language requirement twice more in Spanish, and here I was a math major. Satisfying the foreign language requirement thrice over drew some snide remarks from my math advisor.

I believe it was in Mr. Zicari's English class that we had to read a book and then give a book review in front of the class. I remember I chose the book Is Paris Burning, about the Nazi invasion of Paris. It just so happened that Reader's Digest was running a 3-month abridged version of the book at the time (which I didn't know when I chose the book), so I read the three issues. Well, I would have, had the third and final issue arrived in the mail on time! But it didn't, so I reviewed the first two-thirds and then ended my talk by saying something like, "And then the Nazis entered Paris." There was one question from a student, which I answered.

Oh wait, here is the newspaper photo and the entire obit I lifted:

Webster - Passed away on November 18, 2018, surrounded by his beloved and devoted wife of 54 years, Judy (Boyle) Zicari; his children, Emily (Ken McClenathan), Charlie (Maura Curtin), Meg Palmer (David), Marc (Kathleen), Michael (Suzanne), Dan (Marcy), Peter (Jeanine), Kathleen Moczarski (Curt), John (Krista) and Mary; his grandchildren: Jane; Shannon, Donny, Reese; Samantha, Brendan; Rachel, Laney; Haley, Charley, Bailey, Kiley; Alice, Patrick, Thomas, Elizabeth, Lawrence; Anthony, Jonathan; Anna, Alex; Isabella, Isaac, Elliot, and longtime family friend, Karen Donahue. He is also survived by his three great-grandchildren, numerous loving nieces, nephews, cousins, and many special friends.

Born August 18, 1938 to Charles and Margaret Zicari. The oldest sibling of Maria Bernadette Weaver (deceased) (Jack), Jane Cala (Gerry), Margaret Czerwiec (Tom, deceased), Patricia Cocquyt (Ron), Rosemary Guchone (Bill), Kitty Stappenbeck (Don), and John Zicari (Kerry). He graduated from St. Bernard's Seminary and embarked upon his teaching career at Bishop Kearney High School, followed by 29 years at the Webster High Schools. He inspired students as English Department Chair and Speech & Debate Coach and developed countless life-long friendships with cherished colleagues.
He had an affinity for superheroes and sweets. Superman was his idol; ice cream was his kryptonite.
He would want us to remember the words of the Little Prince, "It is only with the heart that one can see rightly."

Visitation Friday November 23 from 5-8 pm at Falvo Funeral Home 1295 Fairport Nine Mile Pt. Rd. (Rte. 250) Webster. Funeral will be held at St. Ambrose Church on November 24 at 11 am. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to St. Joseph's House of Hospitality of Rochester, 402 South Ave., Rochester, New York 14620.

Published in Rochester Democrat And Chronicle from Nov. 21 to Nov. 22, 2018

R.I.P. Paul Harradine

Paul R. Harradine

Rochester - Passed away October 11, 2018 at age 70 after a long illness. Survived by brothers, Bob (Kathy) and David; nieces, Donna and Kristine; nephew, Rick (Michelle) and grand nephews, Dylan, Ethan and Trent; special cousin, Karen Dan) Maginn and cousin, Susan (Dan) Hebert; sister-in-law, Michelle (Dan) Houghtling, step-nephew, Billy and step-niece, Kristen reside in Kingston NY. Pre-deceased by his brother, Mark and loving parents, Richard and Marian Harradine of Irondequoit

Paul was a US Navy Veteran, IT Analyst, former Commercial Banker and Alumnus of St. John Fisher College. For arrangements please visit, www.whiteoakcremation.com.

 Published in Rochester Democrat And Chronicle on Oct. 14, 2018

Breakfast Series at the East Ridge Diner and Steakhouse

We have been holding a series of Class of '66 alumni breakfasts.  The next two already scheduled will be held on Friday, October 12th, and Monday, November 19th, both at 9 AM.  We meet at the East Ridge Diner and Steakhouse, 765 E. Ridge Rd. 14621.  We hope to see you all there.

R.I.P. Gary Wilbert

Obituary of G. Peter Wilbert

Webster - Pete passed peacefully surrounded by his family on Monday, September 17, 2018 at age 69. Predeceased by his parents, Arthur and Mercedes Wilbert; grandfather, Harry Pero; father and mother-in-law, Leon and Rita Zukoski. He is survived by his loving wife of 32 wonderful years (39 total)* along with his three caring children Kelly, Tim (Danielle Johnson), and Kevin; brothers and sisters, Sharon Wilbert, Rick Wilbert and wife Anna, Barb Reiber (John Lockwood), and Ronald Wilbert and wife Kathy; nieces and nephews Michelle, Kari, Mark, Kim, Melanie, Brian, Christin, Eric, Aaron, Dan, Cheryl, Laura, Kaitlyn, Kristin, Matt, Kylie, Jason, Mark, Cory, and Leah; special friends, Jim and Linda, Moe and Gloria, David and Janice.

Pete's family extended further as well to all of his employees that work at the family business. Wilbert's, Inc. started in 1952 and was where Peter called home the majority of his life. It is here where his work-ethic and dedication to the family and employees helped build the team through the years. Wilbert's now encompases 4 automotive recycling facilities with over 115 "family" members. He loved to spend time every day with each and every one of his team and customers with many turning into life-long relationships.

No matter what was on the agenda, he would always find a way to make humor a part of it. From wild games that he would create for family gatherings to regular practical jokes, his day was only filled if he was able to get others to smile or laugh. He continued this outlook with grace even throughout his fight over the last few months. With this in mind, in lieu of flowers please direct any memorials to Holy Trinity Church at 1460 Ridge Road, Webster, NY 14580 or The Gusundheit Institue (PatchAdams.org)

*We tried to write this as dad would have wanted…with humor.

Friends may call 2-4, 6-8 Thursday at Willard H. Scott Funeral Home, 12 South Ave., Webster. Mass of Christian Burial 12 Noon Friday at Holy Trinity Church, 1460 Ridge Rd., Webster. Interment, Holy Trinity Cemetery. Willard H. Scott Funeral Home.

(Published in Rochester Democrat And Chronicle on Sept. 19, 2018)