THE WAY IT WAS: 50 Years Ago in Euclid

Editor’s note: The following news, sports, and other items were culled from the pages of a 1966 edition of the Euclid News-Journal, the city’s former weekly newspaper.

MARCH 17, 1966 – St. Joseph High’s “Little Leprechaun,” sophomore Billy Dowdell, prepares to lead the 154-member Viking band in the New York City St. Patrick’s Day parade. Dowdell, who had emigrated from Ireland to the U.S. little more than a year earlier, saw a wish come true as a freshman when he was chosen to lead the marching band—clad in his Gaelic outfit—in Cleveland’s St. Patty’s Day extravaganza.

          Also scheduled to perform in the New York parade is Pat Mueller, the Vikings’ drum major. And to add sparkle to the ensemble, Band Director Norm Novak acquired new white fiberglass sousaphones for his tuba players – Dan Gendrich, Harry Dempsey, Dennis Cvelbar, Mark Cavanaugh, John Maher, Ray Richter, and Robert Bartel.


          Meanwhile, preparing to help lead the 1966 Cleveland parade are four Euclid residents who, at one time, had been members of the Irish Republican Army (IRA): John Brown, Connell Byrne, John Corcoran, and Daniel Harrington.

          The Year 2016 marks the 100th anniversary of the 1916 “Easter Rebellion,” which launched Ireland’s struggle for independence from Great Britain—and gave rise to the IRA movement. (No doubt, in Ireland, the three-letter acronym is rarely associated with retirement savings accounts.)


          The Euclid Board of Education plans to submit a request for $256,000 in federal funding to help subsidize work on Phase II of the high school expansion.

          In its appropriations measure, the board established  new fund categories in order to qualify for money under the National Defense Education Act—including a program to support “disadvantaged” students, as well as a program to attract federal funds under the Elementary-Secondary Education Act to help pay for library books.

          Coordination of the funding proposal planning has been carried out by School Superintendent Dr. Lester Angene, along with his assistants -- Dr. Sparky DiBiasio and Dr. Ron Davis.

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          Interestingly, EuclidSenior High School isn’t the only institution in the city providing “secondary” education. The TRW headquarters plant – in its efforts to meet the demand for skilled and semi-skilled workers – is conducting an intensified training program aided by a staff of six curriculum developers. The program draws on the plant’s expert craftsmen as “on-the-job” training instructors.

          “We’re running classroom sessions around the clock,” notes Leroy (“Hap”) Berichon, the company training supervisor who is, in effect, the “principal” of the TRW “school.”

          Thanks to a greatly increased aerospace and defense workload, nearly 1,100 people are now enrolled in TRW’s nine different training programs – up from just 300 a few years earlier. The majority are undergoing on-the-job training, while 45 are studying advanced machinery, 46 are in an elementary arithmetic/blueprint reading program, and 21 are taking a maintenance course.

 “The courses are oriented to the job situation, but they include many of the basic elements of a high school education,” Berichon explains. “In some cases, we work with Euclid’s Adult Education Program to set up special classes.”


The News-Journal’s “Panther Profiles” column, written by Barry Bolka, notes that the top EHS scorer on the Mathematics Assn. of America test – for the second straight year – was junior Quentin Stout. Test administrator was Math Deptartment chairman Carl Clements.


The Bernadette Shop – “Euclid’s first Bridal Shop,” located at 22686 Shore Center Drive—announces the arrival of a selection of beautiful prom gowns….And Holzheimer’s IGA Market at 26588 Lake Shore Blvd. advertises short ribs of beef for 39 cents a pound and meatloaf for 69 cents.


Robert Holloway, former principal of Euclid Central Junior High who also served as an assistant Euclid Schools superintendent, is scheduled to speak on “Education Behind the Iron Curtain” at an upcoming Central PTA meeting. 

Holloway, now the superintendent of Beachwood’s schools, recently returned from a 30-day tour of Russian and European schools.  (Daughter Jane Holloway later spent a year in Germany as a foreign exchange student, after the Holloway family hosted a German exchange student –Barbel Krippner from Bad Mergentheim... Sorry, Barbel, but this writer can’t remember how to sprinkle an “umlaut” above the “a” in your first name.)


On the sports front:  The Euclid Panthers’ Rich Piscopo captured the 133-pound state wrestling crown with a 4-1 decision in the finals against  Bedford’s Dale Soinski at Ohio State’s St. John Arena.

After the bout Piscopo, a junior, told one sportswriter: “I just couldn’t realize it was for the state title. Then, when there were about 20 seconds left, it really hit me – and I gave it everything I had.” His coach, the legendary Clarence Eckert, added: “Tell them we’ll be back here again next year.”  [Should Piscopo repeat as state champ, he’d become the first Euclid grappler to do so since Ken (“Kinky”) Ross in 1957-58.]


St. Joseph heavyweight Ron Tumbry lost his first match in Columbus – to the eventual state champ ---but earned 2 points for Coach John Storey’s Vikings with a pin in the consolation round. He barely missed qualifying for the consolation final (for third and fourth place) when he dropped a heartbreaking 4-3 decision to a wrestler from Columbus East.


In its spring gardening advertisement, Waterwash Hardware at 345 East 200th St. offered 50 lb. of milorganite for $2.75 and a 25-pound sack of cattle manure for $1.39.

It is hard to believe that half a century has elapsed since these events occurred.  To us Euclid old-timers, it sometimes seems as though they happened only yesterday.


John Copic


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Volume 7, Issue 11, Posted 6:53 PM, 11.07.2016