The First Generation

Mary and Bill Ellsworth
Bill and Mary Ellsworth

This photograph was taken shortly after their wedding in 1935.   Mary Briscar and John (Bill) Ellsworth settled in Connellsville, PA where they raised five children, Shirley, Rita, Gerald, Mary (Billie) and Carol.

Mary loved to bake and cook.  For many years she worked at the All-American Restaurant in Connellsville.  Aunt Mary made the best home made bread in Fayette County.

Bill was an avid amateur radio operator.  "The Voice of the Alleghenies" -W3PON - His signal carried great distances.  Listening to Dad and Uncle Bill talking to each other over the airwaves, it seemed to me that he was talking from next door.


John and Helen Chuska

John and Helen are seen here with James Guy, son of Tony Guy and Cathie Gallagher Guy.  the photo was taken in July, 1988.

John and Helen raised their family in Lemont - Ambrose Briscar, Bette Ann Chuska Smithburger, Bernadine (Chuska) Creighton and Diane Chuska Mahallick.

"Gee for sox!" - "Holy jumped-up cows!"   I remember these as John's favorite expressions  as he suffered through his beloved Pittsburgh Pirates' lean years.  His ear was ever at the radio, wishing and hoping that Kiner would drive in the runner with one of his famed long, arching home runs.   John once took me to a Pirates-Giants doubleheader and I got a chance to see Ralph Kiner and Willie Mays on the same field.  He was also the neighborhood barber - mostly to his nephews Ronnie, Ernie and Eddie.

I never saw Helen without a smile on her face.  She loved children and was always ready to feed them!  When I visited she always made sure that John went to Smith's Bakery so I would have my favorite glazed donuts with some of Aunt Helen's tea that she always kept on the stove.  Living in the Lemont house for so many years, she saw all the family come to visit, but never let anyone leave without making sure they had enough sandwiches for the trip home.


Vince and Aggie Briscar

I remember Dad as being a man with hundreds of hobbies. At various times in my life, I saw Daddy as an avid aquarist, parakeet enthusiast, ham radio operator, fisherman, huntsman, musician and all around tinkerer. If it was broken, Daddy could fix it and you could always trust Daddy to tie the most beautiful bows at the back of our dresses on Sunday mornings before mass.

Dad was most comfortable with a good friend, a good beer and good music. His smile was easy and genuine and if you sat with him long enough, you would hear some of the most fantastic stories (like the rabbit that almost bit off the top of his finger or the scar on his chest being from a Samurai warrior’s sword) or brainstorm some of the world’s next great inventions.

The most profound moments in my life were the moments that I watched my father kneel and pray before he left for work in the morning and before he slept at night. Dad was human and frail at times, as we all are. But as I became aware of his enduring faith and was privy to his daily visits with God, I was certain that my Dad was the strongest man who’d ever lived.

I think we must have been what you might call “poor” when we were kids, but mother never let us know that. Mother would take odd jobs to earn money to buy us kids the things we needed. She could clean your house, iron your clothes, wallpaper your living room or paint your kitchen. I have a particular memory of running across St Clair Avenue on Saturday mornings with my mother and sister to spend a few hours cleaning the local laundromat. We kids just loved the chance to wipe down the machines and hopefully find a dime or two lodged between the washers, while mother earned the money for our Easter outfits.

I remember my mother always being active. Whether for herself or others, the sewing machine at the dining room table forever hummed with the activity of sewing costumes for a school play or her dress for the Veteran’s Auxiliary dance. She collected clothing for the missions, and donated her time to the church and school in so many ways. Sleep and rest didn’t seem to be words in her vocabulary.

In her later years, she became an avid Indians fan. One never called mother during a game, because if you did, you were either only half listened to or completely blown off. Indians games were an "Aggie" holy day of obligation. She kept voluminous stats on the players and wore her colors proudly. She instituted a type of phone tree within her apartment building where all of her fan friends were apprised of every homer hit by her beloved Tribe with a hearty “Wooo-Hooo!!!”

She’s with Vince now, but the mark she made on all of our lives is forever indelible.

Kathryn Briscar Streets


Sally and Herschell Sampson


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Joe and Veronica Valentovich