June 27th, 2015 1:23 am

First Posted: 7/15/2013


Via the technology available in 1964, members of the Greater Pittston Business and Professional Women’s Club were given a virtual tour of what “billion dollar event?”

1964 – 49 YEARS AGO

Mr and Mrs. Charles Burkel, of Hughestown, entertained Mr. and Mrs. John Paterson and their daughter, Jane, when they traveled to America from their hometown of Sauchie, Scotland. While stationed at Lake Ontario with the Royal Air Force in 1943, Paterson met the Burkels during a tour of the Northeast. Making fast friends, the two families visited each other throughout the years. Sauchie is a village in the Central Lowlands of Scotland and is located one mile northeast of Alloa and 2.1 miles east-southeast of Tullibody. The name means the place or field of the willows.

1974 – 39 YEARS AGO

After 61 years at the helm, Pittston Hospital Adminstrator Esther J. Tinsley announced her retirement.

Born in Plymouth, she graduated from University of Pennsylvania in 1910. She was present at the opening of Nesbitt Hospital in 1911 and in 1913 came to work at Pittston Hospital’s “filling in where necessary” at the 32-bed facility. At the time, hospital care cost $1 a day, so state funds and income from a vegetable and dairy farm supplemented the hospital’s income.

Tinsley received many awards for her service and in 1963, a telegram from President John Kennedy congratulating her on holding the world’s record for tenure in one position in hospital administration.

A West Pittston Girls’ Softball League team coached by Ann Gildea, Jane Firestine and Leda Pope “made history” by shutting out their opposing team for the first time since the league’s inception. Jackie Littzi was credited with an exceptional performance on the mound and at bat. Also cited for excellent play was Mary Pastore at second base, Lisa Salvo at first and Brenda Hosier in the outfield.

A question asked of Miss Universe contestants prompted the Sunday Dispatch Inquiring Photographer to ask Pittston residents, “Who do you think is the greatest person in the world?”

Jerry McFadden answered, “Members of the Washington Post who uncovered the Watergate story.”

Joe Burke stated, “The greatest person in the world is my father-in-law, Dewey Smith.”

Josephine Wall added, “My baby who will be born in October, if he is a boy my husband wants to name him Jesse James.”

1984 – 29 YEARS AGO

The Pittston Farmer’s Market was the brainchild of Ken Scaz, general chairman of the Pittston Tomato Festival along with Wil Toole, who took Scaz’s idea and brought it to fruition. Scaz contacted several farmer’s, nine of which displayed interest in the idea of a spinoff market that would run throughout the summer and into the fall. Excited about the concept and witnessing the success of the market in Wilkes-Barre, Toole stated, “with 50,000 people living in the Greater Pittston area, there’s a need.” The Pittston Farmer’s Market which debuted on July 31, 1984, opened this year on July 9 and will run to November 26.

Erica Boyer, of West Pittston, was used to the bright lights. After all, she appeared in a Resorts International variety show at the Steel Pier in Atlantic City. While there, she was “discovered” by a Staten Island talent agency that quickly signed her to appear in the upcoming feature film, “Ghostbusters.” Erica and her mother, Joann Marianacci Boyer, traveled to New York where they met Dan Akroyd and Bill Murray and experienced first-hand the making of a Hollywood blockbuster. Erica appeared in four scenes, three as she’s cheering for the heroes and one running after the Ectomobile. “Ghostbusters” was released in the United States on June 8, 1984 and made $200 million in the United States. The American Film Institute ranked the movie 28th in its AFI’s 100 Years.

1994 – 19 YEARS AGO

The Little League Tournament of Champions was set to begin. Included were two undefeated teams, First Bank of Pittston led by Bobby Shook and Chris Kroski and First Eastern Bank of Duryea with championship hopefuls Jim Salitis and Kevin Shotwell. Sponsored by Vullo Tire, the tournament had its inception in 1975. Savo’s Pizza took over from 1985 to 1990 and Mall Merchants sponsored the event in 1991. 1994 was the first season the tournament was sanctioned by National Little League organization.


Theresa Penacoli, a representative of the Bell Telephone Company, presented a half hour slide show of venues and attractions at the 1964 World’s Fair in Flushing Meadows, New York to members of the Greater Pittston Business and Professional Women’s Club.

Peace was the keynote of many of the exhibits which included businesses such as IBM, General Motors and Walt Disney Productions. The fair estimated to have cost over a billion dollars, was not without controversy and did not garner the attendance estimated by the planners.

To read an extensive history of the 1964 World’s Fair log on to

Wisdom doesn’t necessarily come with age. Sometimes age just shows up all by itself.

Tom Wilson