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             Monday, September 23 2002  

Where are they now? Hazel Oblackovich

Hazel Oblackovich at the recent Vintondale Homecoming, Labor Day weekend.

Born February 16, 1916, in Colver, longtime Vintondale resident Hazel Oblackovich is the daughter of Harry McCracken and Bell (Laney) McCracken. The last surviving member of her family, she was a sister to Izora White, Jack Morton, and Dwight McCracken. Although she attended both Vintondale and Blacklick Township High Schools, she is a 1934 graduate of the former Ebensburg High School. According to Hazel, "We moved a lot."

The death of her husband, Vintondale native Stephen "Steve" Oblackovich in 1992 ended a marriage union that began July 11, 1936. "I met him as a freshman in high school. He was an usher at the movie theater in Vintondale, but we didn't date until after graduation." Many will remember her late husband as the Clerk of Courts for Cambria County, having served four terms in that office until his retirement in 1980.

Hazel and Steve Oblackovich are the parents of one child, Barbara Simoncini of Vintondale. Hazel's two grandchildren, Vincente, 40, and Stephen, 38, reside in Maryland, as well as her two great-grandchildren, Stephen's children, Nicholas, 2 years, and Julia, 4 months.

"I have lived in Vintondale for the past 67 years," she recalls. "I moved here the day I got married, and have never left, except for vacation trips." The clean, attractive, Vintondale of today with it's nice, well-kept homes and lawns bears little resemblance to the grimy and dismal coalmine town that welcomed Hazel on her wedding day. "It wasn't too nice back then; we had the coke ovens and the coal washer, and it was very dirty. There was no vegetation, no trees, and no paved streets. The houses were company houses and they were covered with green shingles."

But like most small mining towns, the houses were sold to their residents, and eventually the new owners remodeled, covered the dismal green shingles with modern siding, planted lawns and trees, and the town survived and thrived. Today, quaint and quiet Vintondale is home to a nationality melting pot of residents...many of whom, along with Hazel Oblackovich, donate time and service to aid the community. New and recently installed water lines, have improved the quality of the drinking water, and new sewage lines may trigger new and badly needed economic growth.

The Ghost Town Trail has had a positive effect on the community as well. Observes Hazel, "It attracts a lot of out-of-state people." This very active and pleasant octogenarian has been a member of The Modern Needlers Sewing Club for the past 15 years. The group meets to make quilts and clothing articles. She has been a member of the Fire Ladies Auxiliary for the past 20 years, at one time serving as its treasurer. A 60+-year member of Vintondale's First Baptist Church, she sings in the choir, has taught Sunday school, and served as the church treasurer.

Anyone wishing to send greetings may send them to Judy Rose at HRoses2@Peoplepc.com for forwarding.

If you have a suggestion for a subject for Where Are They Now, please write Judy Rose.

Men are not so complicated (last in series)

Means: "I make the mess, she cleans it up."

Means: "I remember the theme song to 'F Troop,' the address of the first girl I ever kissed, and the vehicle identification numbers of every car I've ever owned, but I forgot your birthday."

Means: "The girl selling them on the corner was a real babe."

Means: "I have actually severed a limb. It will bleed me to death before I admit that I'm hurt."

—Sent by Mike Harrison

Thought for today

When something happens to you, good or bad, consider what it means. There's a purpose to life's events, to teach you how to laugh more or not to cry too hard. You can't make someone love you. All you can do is be someone who can be loved. The rest is up to the person to realize your worth.

Sent by Mike Harrison

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