Marking 49 years since 1964 quake

June 27th, 2015 1:42 am

First Posted: 3/21/2013


In 1964, what occurred in the city of Anchorage, Alaska that affected several Pittston Area families?

1964 – 49 years ago

John Cosgrove traveled from Washington D.C. to Pittston to attend a dinner held by the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick in his honor. Accompanying him on his trip was Robert F. Kennedy, U.S. Attorney General and brother of the late President John F. Kennedy. Cosgrove noted that he and those on the trip noticed how much Kennedy had enjoyed the event as he wished he could have stayed longer stating, “it seemed like a grand party, wonderful people.” Noting that the trip was one of the first by Kennedy since the assassination of his brother, Neil Strawser, of CBS News remarked, “it reminded him of the early days in 1960 when he was assigned to JFK.” In 2009, Cosgrove, who spent 70 years working in the media in Washington, D.C., and in public service, presented to the Pittston Library, a check for $50,000 along with his life’s collection of books and memorabilia.

Key Clubs from Exeter, Pittston and West Pittston announced that Operation Trees” was underway. Under the supervision of Pittston Kiwanis Club’s Agriculture Committee, members would plant 3,000 seedlings on “silt deposits” visible from Slocum Avenue.

West Pittston Junior Women’s Club presented “The Best of Broadway” show at the West Pittston High School. At the time, the Beatles had emerged with a string of hits, including “Love Me Do,” “Please, Please Me” and “She Loves You” which began their journey into the history books. Four club members Shirley McDermott, Marlene Justick, Rosella Fedor and Patricia Fedor donned wigs and guitars to perform as the Fab Four in the show. According to those who watched the rehearsals, the act promised to be one that would demand repeat performances.

1974 – 39 years ago

The Fine Arts Department of the Duryea Women’s Club sponsored the first Go Fly Your Kite Contest at the Germania Fire Company grounds. Box, plain, tailess and flat surface kites were all deemed acceptable for judging. Mrs. Joseph Mikiewicz chaired the event.

Plans were finalized for the Fourth Annual West Pittston Cherry Blossom Festival. Chairman, Stanley Hanczyc reported the Pennsylvania State Police Academy had agreed to have a mounted color guard open the parade. Ned Levey and Mrs. Drew Smith talked with Wyoming Area senior high girls who might be interested in seeking the Cherry Blossom queen title, dances were planned for people of all ages and entertainment was scheduled for the river bank common.

Mrs. Joseph Talerocki, along with Mrs. Wayne Fassett, members of the Wyoming Jr. Woman’s Club had spent a great deal of time preparing the club’s log book containing a summary of the year’s activities. Mrs. Talerocki entered it into the county level Class C Competition and was pleased to announce along with fellow club members Mrs. Gerald Ludden Jr., Mrs. Martin Stakley the log book had taken first place.

The Schooley Avenue Elementary School held a chess tournament for fifth and sixth-grade students. More than 62 students participated in the contest in which a participant had to win two out of three matches to advance. Paul Porfirio defeated Leonard Valenti and Paul Kolis to capture the championship. According to the website, “Chess is one of the world’s most popular games; it has been described not only as a game, but also as an art, science and sport. Chess is sometimes seen as an abstract war-game. Teaching chess has been advocated as a way of enhancing mental prowess.”

Using their famous “freeze” strategy, the St. John High School Johnniettes took the Scranton Catholic Girls Basketball League championship opener. With only a two-point lead at the beginning of the third quarter, Ann Tierney and Kathy Pace played “catch” with the basketball while Karen Mikita, Sue Brown and Kim Walsh weaved in and out of the key, confusing the Dons of Bishop Klonowski High School. It was touted as one of the “best games every played.” The Johnniettes went on to beat St. Rose at West Catholic to take the league championship.

1984 – 29 years ago

“We’ll be back” Sam Milazzo said of his Jenkins Township company Milazzo Industries after the business sustained a half million dollars in damage during a devastating fire. Al Savakinas, assistant fire chief of Jenkins Township, estimated about 75 firefighters, including those from Pittston City and Laflin, combined efforts to stop the fire. Milazzo’s father Joseph started the business as a coal operation in 1929 and approximately 25 years later the Milazzos added charcoal production. The firm manufacturers Qik Joe Ice Melt, among other products.

Laura Scarantino, Katie Toole, Charles Albertson, Michael Harrison, Michael Sciandra, Philip Strucke, Kenny Roberto, Tracy Schartzer, Chris Luke, John Cunius, Larry Christian and Diane Ridley were Luzerne Avenue Elementary fourth-grade students who received a special gift from President Reagan in response to letters they composed in their reading class. Each student received a copy of “The President’s House” containing items concerning the White House and the President’s family.


In 1964, a devastating earthquake rocked the city of Anchorage, Alaska, causing local residents to worry about family members living or vacationing there. According to the web site www., “At 5:36 p.m. on Good Friday, March 27, 1964, Alaska was devastated by an earthquake that registered 8.4 on the Richter scale, the strongest ever recorded on the North American continent. One hundred fifteen people lost their lives during the quake and the ensuing tsunami or tidal wave, 33 were swept to sea as they were standing on the wharf at Valdez. The earthquake caused property damage of more than $300 million and was felt as far away as 800 miles from the epicenter in Prince William Sound.”

“Never miss an opportunity to make others happy, even if you have to leave them alone in order to do it.” - Author unknown