Another tribute to Fr. John Hacala

Letter No. 224 | January 25, 2001

The Rev. John HacalaI recently discovered the Nanty Glo Home Page. I was particularly touched by Paul Ceria's letter of March 1, 1999, paying tribute to Father John Hacala. Father John was my uncle. Dad was Father John's older brother and had been transferred to Charleston, West Virginia by the A&P in 1934 while Father John was still in the Seminary. My four brothers and I all grew up in West Virginia, but had occasion to visit with Father John many times while he was pastor at St. Mary's in Nanty Glo during the 1950's and early 60's. In fact, in 1959, I was a newly commissioned Ensign in the U. S. Navy and ready to buy my first car. To do that, I came to Nanty Glo and purchased a used 1956 Dodge from Joe LaMantia at his one-car showroom dealership downtown.

Father John celebrated the 25th anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood in May 1962. Two months later, he died at the Catholic hospital in Johnstown from injuries sustained in a car crash.

Perhaps a little-known fact involves his younger sister, Catherine, a nurse by profession, who had never married. She was head nurse at the Veterans' Hospital in Pittsburgh during the 1950's. However, when Father John died, she was a patient in the same Johnstown hospital, very ill with cancer. She also died some two months later. They are buried in adjacent plots in St. Mary's Cemetery in Nanty Glo. My Father, Martin, had died five years before. Thus, all three children of that Hacala generation died within five years, none older than age 52.

However, that was not the end of the Hacala family. My mother, Mary, is now 90 years old and still lives in the same house in Charleston where her five sons all grew up. She has eleven grandchildren and fourteen great-grandchildren. My younger brother, Joe, is a Jesuit priest.

If Paul Ceria will send me his mailing address, I will be happy to send a more recent picture of Father John than the one he included in the Home Page letter.

Martin J. Hacala
Grosse Pointe Woods, Michigan

Webmaster's note: We'll be happy to add that photo here, too, if you or Paul will send it in print or scanned form. —jk
Postscript, January 29 2001—The photo above was added on this date. I was sent by Martie Hacala, who wrote: "Here is a full screen copy of Fr.John's last portrait made a few months before he died. "—jk


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