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Blacklick Valley senior called role model

County Coronor rules death of basketball team captain accidental              March 19, 2002

Dino Michael RudolphA role model for younger students and “every parent's dream” were among the appellations used to describe Blacklick Valley Junior-Senior High School senior Dino Michael Rudolph, who was fatally electrocuted in an accident in the early hours of March 17. Also referred to as an “athletic teenager with steely dreams and a soft heart” in a March 18 Johnstown Tribune-Democrat report on the tragedy by Ruth Rice, 18-year-old Dino was the captain and a senior guard of the Vikings basketball team, a member of the school track team, and a skier.

Dino was attempting to fix a water leak in a friend's house when, while standing in up to 10 inches of water, a metal floor lamp that was plugged in but not on was touched, causing the fatal shock and knocking Dino face forward in the water. A friend, 19-year-old Jason Divido, and two unidentified juvenile girls on the scene at 703 Rose Street attempted rescue efforts including CPR, and called 9-1-1. Dino was pronounced dead at 1:48 a.m., just as a medical helicopter was landing at McMullen Field to provide transport to Johnstown. Divido and two girls, one of whom had also received an electrical shock, were taken to a Johnstown hospital by Blacklick Valley Ambulance.

Recently accepted at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, where he hoped to prepare for a career in law enforcement in the FBI, CIA, or the new Office of Homeland Security, Dino had begun employment at the BiLo Supermarket in Vinco the previous Wednesday.

“His life was finally started,” his father, Dino J. Rudolph, told reporter Rice, and he was remembered by high school principal Carole Kakabar “as polite, mannerly, well-spoken and courteous, the type of young man who would hold doors open for female students and staff.” She also said he regularly gave up daily study halls to help clean up the school cafeteria, and was known to go out of his way to make conversations with “more introverted” students in the school community.

Dino was not embarrassed, Rice also reported, to tell his parents he loved them even in a room full of friends, or kiss his parents or grandparents. He regularly visited his paternal grandfather, Robert Rudolph, at Laurel Crest Manor at Ebensburg, helping feed and combing his grandfather's hair. “He touched everybody, young and old,” Mr. Rudolph told the reporter. “People have told us they never met a kid like that.”

He helped the school raise funds through the Blacklick Valley Service Team, of which he was president. Events included a Halloween dance for the junior high students, at which Dino attended in a '70s get-up, leisure suit and Afro wig. Also a Christmas tree decorating at the school and trash pickup were cited by Mrs. Kakabar, the Service Team's advisor.

He was also a member of St. Mary's Roman Catholic Church in Nanty Glo, where funeral mass was celebrated by the Rev. David S. Peles on March 20, with standing-room-only attendance by all cross-sections of the community. Interment was at St. Mary's Cemetery. His father reported that he never went anywhere without a basketball, and Dino was buried in his No. 11 Vikings jersey.

Cambria County Chief Deputy Coroner James Zangaglia, at the scene of the death Sunday morning, said that Monday would be a hard day at Blacklick Valley High School. After an autopsy, he later said the cause of death was electrocution and ruled it accidental. Mrs. Kakabar said four grief counselors were on hand at the junior-senior high school Monday morning to help students cope with the tragic news. Dino's senior class was also planning a memorial service.

Besides his father and paternal grandfather, Dino is survived by his mother, the former Michele Yaronczyk; a sister, Nicole Marie Rudolph; his maternal grandparents, Stanley and Vivian (Semelsberger) Yaronczyk (all Nanty Glo residents), and five aunts and 13 cousins. The Rudolphs' home is at 1046 Locust Street, Nanty Glo.

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The Nanty Glo Home Page expresses sincere sympathy to all
family members and friends of Dino Michael Rudolph.

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