Deceased 1968 Classmates


The lighting of the classmate memorable candles made an impact on everyone at the reunion. Our classmate Sharon (Brode) Benack wrote the following poem that she read during the remembrance of our deceased classmates.

                   "I'm Free"

Don't grieve for me, for now I'm free,
I'm following the path God laid for me,
I took His hand when I heard Him call,
I turned my back and left it all.

I could not stay another day,
to laugh, to love, to work or play,
tasks left undone must stay that way.
I found that place at the close of day.

If my parting has left a void,
then fill it with remembered joy,
A friendship shared, a laugh, a kiss
ah yes, these things, I too, miss.

Be not burdened with times of sorrow,
I wish you the sunshine of tomorrow.
My life's been full, I savored much.
Good friends, good times, a loved one's touch.

Perhaps my time seemed all too brief;
don't lengthen it now with undue grief,
lift up your heart and share with me
God wanted me now, He's set me free.





















THOMAS P. KOKURA , 58, of Bear Creek Road, Dupont, died Saturday, February 28, 2009. He was born Sept. 26, 1950, in Nesquehoning, Pa. He was a graduate of Panther Valley High School and Lehigh University. He recently retired from Luzerne/ Wyoming County MH/MR. Surviving are his wife of 31 years, Madelyn Shandra Kokura; and daughter Alexandra. He was a devoted husband and loving father, and he will be missed dearly.

A memorial service will held 6 p.m. today at St. Rocco’s Church, 62 W. Oak St. Pittston. Friends may call from 4:30 p.m. until the time of the service at church. Arrangements are being provided by Graziano Funeral Home, Pittston Township. All services will be held at St. Rocco’s R. C. Church.
Published in the Times Leader on 3/5/2009


Monica (DeLauretis),  Ficara BORN: November 24, 1950 DIED: June 26, 2009:  Born and raised in Lansford, PA, Monica later resided in Warsaw, IN where she married her true love and best friend, Anthony. Shortly after they relocated to New Jersey and settled in West Deptford. Monica will be remembered for her warm and generous nature with a special touch for caring for her cats and a general love of animals. Monica worked as an office manager for Lawn Doctor in Cherry Hill for the past six years. Away form her work, Monica enjoyed volunteering at the Phila. Zoo and spending time with her husband and family at their summer home in Sea Isle City. Monica will be sadly missed by those who knew and loved her.

Monica is the beloved wife of Anthony Ficara; Dear step-mother of Brian (Cindy) Ficara; Loving daughter of Elizabeth and the late Peter DeLauretis; Devoted sister of Nancy (Ed) Cole and cherished grandmother of Gabrielle and Emma Ficara. Monica is also survived by her mother in law, sister and brothers in law and many nieces, nephews and cousins. Relatives and friends are invited to attend Monica's Visitation on Thursday after 5 PM in the McGuinness Funeral Home, 34 Hunter Street, Woodbury, NJ where a Memorial Service will follow at 7 PM. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Philadelphia Zoo, 3400 West Girard Avenue, Philadelphia, PA.



Daniel Joseph Mundy, 62, of 134 W. Patterson St., Lansford, entered into eternal rest on Sunday, July 10, in his residence. He was the husband of Catherine (Pavell) Mundy. They celebrated their 32nd wedding anniversary last August. He was employed by Cura as a dietary aid for many years until retiring in December of 2005.   Born in Coaldale, he was a son of the late Hugh J. and Helen R. (Daniels) Mundy.
He was an Army veteran of the Vietnam War, having served as a medical specialist.
Mundy was a member and past commander of the A
merican Legion Post and a member of St. Katharine Drexel Catholic Church, both of Lansford.

 Michael Lopata of Northampton, and Courtney, and her boyfriend, Peter Krajnak, of Nesquehoning; a brother Michael, and his wife, Linda (Neifert), of Coaldale; a granddaughter, Hayden Lopata; and many nieces and nephews.He was also preceded in death by a brother Eugene.
Service: Funeral service 9:30 a.m. Wednesday, July 13, Sverchek- Blazosky Funeral Home, 340 E. Bertsch St., Lansford; Mass of Christian Burial 10 a.m., St. Katharine Drexel Catholic Church, Lansford, with the Rev. James Sandy officiating and the Rev. Stephen J. Halabura concelebrating. Military graveside service, St. Michael Cemetery, Summit Hill, under direction of Panther Valley High School JROTC. Call 6-8 o'clock tonight and 9-9:30 a.m. Wednesday


Paul Yaniga International Authority on Environmental and Remediation Solutions Dies at 61. Paul M. Yaniga of Kennett Square, Pa. passed away at the Chester Co. Hospital due to a brain aneurysm Saturday morning, April 14, 2012. He was 61 years old. Paul Yaniga was co-founder of Groundwater Technology, Inc., a multi-national, publicly-traded $200 million environmental consulting and remediation firm which later merged with Fluor Daniel Corp. Mr. Yaniga was co-founder and developer of Novitrek, a joint venture for down hole selective oil recovery in the Samara, Oblast, Russia. Novitrek ultimately became part of Yukos Oil, one of Russia's leading oil companies. Mr. Yaniga also co-founded RPT, a Rome, Italy-based equipment and service company providing solutions to the petrochemical industry of southern and central Europe.
 He was a past director of SECOR, a multinational industrial service company in the petrochemical marketplace and past director of EEE, a leading-edge continuing education organization for advanced solutions for soil and geologic environments. He was a technical advisor and instructor for the Department of Defense and National Groundwater Association. More recently, Paul Yaniga was President of WISE, Ltd, an international environmental consulting company, a director of BEDCO, a US-based oil/gas field tool developer, and director of TAIC, an information and technology company servicing the DOD and Fortune 500 companies. He instructed in colleges and universities, presented professional papers and oral presentations, including an appearance before US Congress, all related to his expertise in subsurface geological matters. Paul Yaniga was born in Maine, the son of Martin and Vera Yaniga but spent his childhood and early years in Nesquehoning, Pennsylvania. He graduated from Bloomsburg College with a BA in Earth Sciences and earned his Master's Degree in Geologic Sciences from Lehigh University. He was a member of Zion Lutheran Church, Nesquehoning. Surviving is a brother, Martin G. Yaniga and his wife, Linda (Sniscak) Yaniga of Chesapeake, Va.; nephews, Dale A. Yaniga, Marty Yaniga and wife, Leslie and their daughter, Jade Marie Yaniga; and Susan B. Lawrence of Kennett Square, Pa., long time partner and friend.


Dr. Joseph Vadyak, 62, of Palmdale , CA passed away at Antelope Valley Hospital on Tuesday, Aug. 28, 2012. Joe was born in Coaldale, on June 3, 1950, to Joseph and Bernice Vadyak.
He demonstrated a talent for math and science early in his schooling. This talent along with an insatiable curiosity about how things worked led to several degrees in mechanical engineering.
Joe completed his Bachelor's and Master's of Science degrees at the Florida Institute of Technology, where he graduated with honors. He completed his doctorate at Purdue University in 1977.
In January 1981, Joe began his career with the Lockheed Aeronautics Company. Joe was passionate about his work and advancing the field of aerodynamics.
He earned numerous awards for excellence in engineering, including the prestigious Robert E. Gross Award for Technical Excellence and the Lockheed Martin Skunk Works Silver Skunk Award for Technical Excellence. He served as a Lockheed Technical Fellow for three terms.
When he was not hard at work, he enjoyed visiting with relatives at family gatherings and recounting memories about his childhood, tinkering with his stereo system or classic car, and rooting the Miami Dolphins to victory.
Joe had resided in Palmdale since 1990.
He is survived by his wife Linda of 32 years; daughters Jennifer (Will) Sampson, of Lancaster, CA, Deborah (Brian) Millberg, of Portland, TX, and Vanessa (Tyler) Havens, of Stevenson Ranch, CA; mother Bernice, of Lansford; sister Elisabeth (Jeff) Gates, of Macungie; and four grandchildren.
He is predeceased by his father Joseph Vadyak Sr.
Visitation will be held at 4 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 7, at Joshua Memorial Park . Funeral and graveside services will begin at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 8, at Joshua Memorial Park . In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations made to the American Melanoma Foundation, 4150 Regents Park Row, Suite 300 , La Jolla , CA 92037 ; or to make an online donation go to and select "Donation & Sponsorship".


William J. "Lumpy" Lawrence, 62, of 10 E. Fell St., Summit Hill, passed away suddenly on Monday, Oct. 22, 2012, at St. Luke's Miners Memorial Hospital in Coaldale. He was the husband of Patricia (Stemetzki) Lawrence . They celebrated their 38th wedding anniversary this past June 28. Born in Coaldale, he was a son of the late John and Beryl (Sommers) Lawrence. He was a graduate of Panther Valley High School , Class of 1968; and a graduate of McCann School of Business, receiving an Associates Degree in business. He worked for the Altadis Corp. in McAdoo for 42 years as a day shift supervisor. He was a member of St. Joseph Roman Catholic Church, Summit Hill. Lumpy was an avid fisherman and a past officer of the former Summit Hill Fishing Association. Surviving with his wife is a brother, Trevor Lawrence, and his wife Jacqueline, of Summit Hill; sisters, Mary Ann Snyder, and her husband Richard, of Allentown, Marlene Paulus, and her husband Joseph, of Coaldale, Theresa Reinheimer, of Summit Hill, and Robin Blasko, and her husband Robert, of Summit Hill; a brother-in-law, Joseph, of Lansford; sister-in-laws, JoAnn Wells, of Kutztown, and Carol Geyer, of Port Charlotte, Fla.; several nieces and nephews. Service: will be private at the convenience of the family. Arrangements are being handled by the Thomas J. Parambo Funeral Home, 54 W. Fell St. , Summit Hill. Online condolences may be signed at


Daniel D. Davidyock, 62, of 45 Rhume St., Nesquehoning, passed away on Wednesday, July 10, 2013, at Gnaden Huetten Hospital in Lehighton. He was the husband of Greta (Degiglio) Davidyock.
Born in Coaldale, he was the son of the late Michael and Mary (Hricik) Davidyock.
He was a graduate of Panther Valley High School, Class of 1968.
He worked for Blue Ridge Pressure Casting as a die caster and prior to that worked in the garment factory industry for 27 years.
Daniel was a member of Meed's Methodist Church in Nesquehoning.
Surviving along with his wife are two daughters, Tresa Marrow, and her husband, Corey, of Allentown, and Danielle Murphy, and her husband, Robert, of Jim Thorpe; grandchildren, Nia Marrow, Laiya Marrow, Bella Marrow, Evan Murphy, and Zack Murphy; many nieces and nephews.
Service: Memorial service on Sunday, July 14, 2013, at 4 p.m. in the Thomas J. Parambo Funeral Home, 54 W. Fell St., Summit Hill, with the Rev. Michael Netznik officiating. Calling hours are Sund
ay from 2:30-4 p.m. Interment will be at the convenience of the family. Online condolences may be signed at


Rosemary Frey,  of Craig Road, Lehighton, E. Penn Twp., died Wednesday afternoon, August 14, 2013, at Lehigh Valley Hospital, Salisbury Twp. She was the wife of Randy H. Frey since May 23, 2004. Born in Coaldale, Schuylkill County, she was a daughter of the late Lewis Ellis and Minerva (Shuck) Ellis of Lansford. Rosemary worked as a certified nurses' aide for Mahoning Valley Nursing and Rehab Ctr, Lehighton, for 18 years. She was a graduate of Panther Valley Area High School, Lansford. Survivors: husband. mother. son, Christopher and wife Lee Ann Motz of Tamaqua, stepdaughters, Heather wife of Jason Whittaker of Emmaus, Pamela Frey of Bethlehem, 4 grandchildren, sister, Martha of Lansford. Services: At the convenience of the family. Arrangements, Campton Funeral Home, Palmerton. Online condolences at Contributions: American Cancer Society, Carbon-Tamaqua Unit, 33 W. Ridge Street, Lansford, PA 18232


Mrs. Elizabeth "Betty" Aungst, 64, of 306 E. Abbott St., Lansford, passed away on Thursday, June 19, in her residence. She was the widow of Edward Aungst. She worked as a waitress for the former Harleman's Restaurant, Lansford, and also worked for the former Williams Flower Shop, Coaldale. Born in Coaldale, she was a daughter of the late Wendell and Josephine Durak. She was a graduate of Panther Valley High School and a member of St. Katharine Drexel Catholic Church, Lansford. Surviving are three sons, Christopher, and his wife, Mary Kelly, of Lansford, Edward Jr., and his companion, Lisa Mehallic, of Barnesville, and Michael, at home; three daughters, Maria, wife of William Clemmer of Lehighton, Lisa, wife of Todd Macalush of Tamaqua, and Kimberly, wife of Christopher Day of Jim Thorpe; a sister, Mary Nardini of Lansford; nine grandchildren, three great-grandchildren; and several nieces and nephews. She was also preceded in death by a grandson, Matthew Aungst. Service: Memorial service 5 p.m. Sunday, June 22, Skrabak-Parambo Funeral Home, 210 E. Bertsch St., Lansford. Call 3-5 p.m. Sunday. Graveside service 11 a.m. Monday, June 23, Sky-View Memorial Park in Hometown. Contributions may be made to the family. Online condolences can be offered at


James C. Evans, 65, of West Patterson St., Lansford, passed away on Monday, May 4, 2015, at St. Luke's Miners Memorial Hospital in Coaldale.
Born in Coaldale he was a son of the late James C. and Betty (Kassander) Evans. He was a graduate of Panther Valley High School, Class of 1968.
James worked for Silberline Manufacturing Company and for the Tobyhanna Army Depot.
He served in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War in the Spec 4, 1st Cavalry, as a radio teletypist and MP having served from 1968-70.
James attended Grace Community Church in Lansford and was a member of the Lansford American Legion.
Surviving are four grandchildren, Kyle Evans, and his significant other, Katherine Colburn, of Lansford, Jackie Beaumont of Hamilton, N.J., Justin Beaumont of Hamilton, N.J., and Josh Evans of Trenton, N.J.; two brothers, Gary Keller, and his wife Janice, of Barnesville, and John Evans, and his wife, Roseann, of Summit Hill; two sisters, Diane McDonald of Barnesville and Carol Evans of Lansford; a great-granddaughter, Ariana Evans; and several nieces and nephews and great nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by a daughter, Donna Lee Evans.
Service: Memorial service on Saturday, May 9, 2015, at 11 a.m. in the Thomas J. Parambo Funeral Home, 54 W. Fell St., Summit Hill. Military interment will follow at Old Fellow's Cemetery, Tamaqua. Calling hours are on Saturday from 10-11 a.m. In lieu of flowers, contributions in James' memory may be made to the American Cancer Society , c/o the funeral home. Online condolences may be signed at


Joanne M. "Sissy" Miller, 64, of East Holland Street, Summit Hill, passed away on Monday, July 27, in the Lehigh Valley Hospital, Salisbury Township. She was the widow of Raymond Halenar. Born in Coaldale, she was a daughter of the late Joseph and Clara (Hontz) Miller. She worked for the Gnaden Huetten Memorial Hospital, Lehighton, as a nurse's aide and CNA. The deceased was a member of the Summit Hill American Legion Auxiliary and the former Summit Hill United Church of Christ. Surviving are a sister Sandra, wife of Leonard Ogozalek of Summit Hill; a nephew, Len R. Ogozalek, and his wife, Lisa; a niece Debbie, wife of Michael Weaver; two great-nephews and three great-nieces.  Service: Funeral service 11 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 1, Thomas J. Parambo Funeral Home, 54 W. Fell St., Summit Hill, with S.A.L.M. Emma Weaver officiating. Interment, St. Michael Cemetery, Summit Hill. Call 9:30-11 a.m. Saturday. Contributions in her name may be made to the Diligence Fire Co. No. 1, Summit Hill, or the Summit Hill American Legion Auxiliary, c/o the funeral home. Online condolences may be signed at


Ronald P. Zabroski, 65, of Nesquehoning, entered into eternal rest on Sunday, Aug. 30, in his residence. He was the husband of Ann (Gogal) Zabroski. They celebrated their 48th wedding anniversary in June. He was employed by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board as a compliance representative for the Bureau of Casino Compliance in the Sands Casino, Bethlehem. Born in Coaldale, he was a son of the late Charles and Mary (Watto) Zabroski. A 1968 graduate of Panther Valley High School, he was a Navy veteran. Zabroski was a member of St. John Russian Orthodox Church and V.F.W. Post 8008, both of Nesquehoning. Surviving in addition to his widow are a daughter Renee, wife of Fred Cerimele of Nesquehoning; a sister Susan, wife of Theodore Bortnick of Coaldale; eight grandchildren, Megan, Nicholas, Sarah, Marie, Richard, Sophia, Zachary and Adam; and several nieces and nephews. He was also preceded in death by a son Richard; and a brother Charles. Service: Funeral service 11 a.m. Wednesday, Sept. 2, Joseph S. Blazosky Funeral Home, 81 E. Catawissa St., Nesquehoning, with the Rev. Robert Teklinski officiating. Military graveside service, Gate of Heaven Cemetery, Nesquehoning. Call 6-8 p.m. Tuesday and 10-11 a.m. Wednesday.


David P. Strmensky, 67, of Walker Township , Schuylkill County , PA , died on Thursday, September 8, 2016 at his residence. He was the husband of the late Linda (nee Marcovich) Strmensky. Born in Coaldale , PA on July 30, 1949, David was a son of the late John and Pearl (nee Gause) Strmensky. A 1968 graduate of Panther Valley High School , he worked for the Bethlehem Mines, Tamaqua before retiring. He was of the Catholic Faith and a member of the Tuscarora Sportsman Club. He is survived by daughters, Sonia Pucklavage and her husband, David of Hometown, PA and Nissa Strmensky of Tamaqua , PA ; grandchildren, Nichelle, Tianna and Gretchen Pucklavage; brother, Philip Strmensky of Florida ; sister, Joanne McLaughlin of Florida ; and several nephews and nieces. In addition to his wife, he was predeceased by a son David J. Strmensky who died in 2012. Graveside services will be held at 2:00 PM on Tuesday, September 13, 2016 in St. Bertha Cemetery, Tuscarora. The Zizelmann-Gulla Funeral Home and Cremation Services, Inc. is handling arrangements


James J. "Mel" Melnick, 66, of South Coventry, Chester County , passed away peacefully on Sunday, Oct. 30, 2016, in the Phoenixville Hospital . Born May 1, 1950, in Coaldale, he was a son of the late Joseph and Irene (Hedesh) Melnick. He was self-employed as a general contractor. He was a graduate of Panther Valley High School and Penn State University.
He was a member of the Pottstown Quoit Club, German Club, Holy Trinity Club and the West End Fire Company. He was dearly loved by many and had a strong compassion and love for music and life and loved fishing. He loved people and was a very generous and heartwarming person. He loved to talk! He is survived by his wife, Cardie Allen Melnick; and three children, Jesse D. Melnick of South Coventry, Matthew J. Melnick (husband of Erica Elly) of North Coventry, and Heather R. Melnick of South Coventry; and three grandchildren, Callie, Colin, and Cole Melnick; two brothers, Robert Melnick of Summit Hill, and Mark Melnick of Lansford; two sisters, Jeanne Havel (wife of Timothy) of Lansford, and Cindy Kadlecik, of Coaldale; eight nieces and nephews, and 11 great-nieces and nephews. Service: Memorial services and interment will be private and at the convenience of the family. In lieu of flowers donations can be made to the American Diabetes Association , P.O. Box 11454 , Alexandria , VA 22312 . Arrangements by Catagnus Funeral Home & Cremation Center Inc., Pottstown .




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