Frank Charney's Sunday Postcard
December 14, 2008
Judy Rose's write-up on Tom Sharpe
Judy Rose wrote an excellent article (on her blog, Blacklick Valley and Beyond) about Tom Sharpe, organizer and brains behind the successful Nanty Glo High School '50's Pizza Party Reunion that was held in September and in three previous years.
Tom deserves credit for his efforts. So with Judy's permission I'm running it for the Sunday Postcard. Although I am several years older, Tom was a next door neighbor of mine and we grew up as youngsters. I knew his parents and relatives.
Tom Sharpe, the organizer
Tom Sharpe is the driving force behind the very successful Blacklick Valley Pizza Parties. The first three Pizza events were held at Penn Gables Restaurant in Ebensburg. The first, in 2005, was attended by 64 people. The second, a bit larger, drew 112 people. The third and final party to be held at Penn Gables was attended by 145 verified people and all indications pointed to the need for another venue for Pizza Party 4, which was held in Nanty Glo's VFW. Party 4 drew close to 300 people and demonstrated the need for yet a larger location for 2009's reunion. Plans for Pizza Party 5 are under way, and as of this writing, will be held September 19 at the Nanty Glo Fire Hall.
When asked why he decided to initiate the Valley get-togethers, Tom said: "It's a community service. I want to do things that keep us in touch with our roots. I've always liked to organize things and see a positive outcome. Because of my memories and love of the Blacklick valley and its wonderful people, I feel the need to draw out the same feelings, especially those of my age group; those born between 1930 -1943. Those born before 1930 are mostly gone, and those born after 1943 are baby boomers and the 'boomers' have a different view of things and life in general. The Pizza party idea is...or was, a five-year plan to bring it to the Valley..to get my age group, or what's left of it, to rally to a cause. It could never be done by the locals only. It needs those from out-of-town also. The challenge, the execution, and the pleasure, that's why I organize them."
Tom is a 1955 graduate of Nanty Glo High School and a 1959 Graduate of Penn State University with a degree in metallurgical engineering. He has held management positions with various companies and hospitals from Massachusetts to New Jersey. Tom and his late wife, the former Elizabeth O'Hara of Vintondale, produced and raised three sons. Now retired, Tom makes his home in Williamsport. Aside from his willingness to take on the daunting task of organizing the annual Valley pizza get-togethers, Tom volunteers his time at a local Orthodox Christian Church. He helps with the making of pieroghis which are sold to offset some church expenses.
"What kind of music do you sing?"
"Don't you mean 'a cappella', singing without instrumental accompaniment?"
"Nope. I mean 'aqua-pella', singing accompanied only by the water coming out of the shower-head."
Thought for today
The greater a man is in power above others, the more he ought to excel them in virtue. None ought to govern who is not better than the governed.
Publius Syrus (First Century, B.C.)
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