This is the 41st edition of the Golden Burrs Quarterly Newsletter sponsored by the Events Committee Members.  


In this issue under the "West Catholic Prep Banner" you will find a report on the 98th Annual Alumni Communion Breakfast, followed by a report on the success of the 61st Anniversary Luncheon of the West Boys' Class of 1958; a report on the reunion of the Ammendale Novitiate Class of 1958; an announcement about the hiring of a new football coach at West; a report on the West Catholic Prep class of 2019's college decisions and scholarship awards; and thank you letters from West Catholic Prep and the Christian Brothers for donations made on behalf of the Class of 1958. 


Sadly, we learned of the passing of our classmates Vince Reynolds from Good Shepherd -April 12, 2019 and Bob Madden from St. Barnabas - June 5, 2019.


In the "News Features" section there is a report about the priests of the archdiocese who are celebrating significant anniversaries of their ordination to the priesthood and a report about the sale of the Saint Charles Seminary Campus.


We conclude this edition with Mail received from our Classmates and Friends; a "Remember When".... series of local historic pictures submitted by Frank Adolf;  prayers for classmates who are ill; remembrances and prayers for our deceased classmates; and Rich Buzza's "Final Thought".








submitted by:  FRANK METZLER


Hotel, Essington, PA.  The celebrant for the Mass was Reverend Vincent Burns, a 1959 graduate of West and  a U,S. Army

Chaplain for the past 28 years.  He has served the Church from Philadelphia, to Nome, Alaska and throughout the world,

including Europe and Korea.  Father Burns will also be the celebrant for the Class of 1959's 60th Reunion Mass.  There were approximately 180 loyal graduates and family members in attendance.


Sister Cora Marie Billings, RSM '56 received the Brother Anselm Award for her distinguished service to the Archdiocese

of Philadelphia and the Church in general.  She was the first African American Sister of Mercy to teach in the elementary

and the secondary schools in the Archdiocese.  In 1968, Sister Cora was a founding member of National Black Sisters'

Conference which brings together women religious congregations throughout the nation and the world.  In 1970 Sister

Cora returned to West Catholic Girls' for 7 years before going to the Archdiocese of Richmond Virginia to serve in many 

leadership roles. In 1998 Sister received the Mayor Rendell Recognition Award for her series "Black Women First" in Ebony Magazine.  During her lifetime, Sister put forth her efforts to combat prejudice and to promote racial equality and social justice.


The Margaret Porter Blue and Gold Award was presented to Patricia McLaughlin '61 who remains a very active member of the West Catholic community.  She is currently serving a second term as President of the Alumnae Association, and with this position serves on the West Catholic Prep Board of Directors.  She  is the Website Manager for the Alumnae website and Editor for the Alumnae Associations' newspaper, The Harvester.


Hannah Dougherty Campbell was presented with the 50th Anniversary Golden Burr Award for many accomplishments in her life and her representation to West Catholic.  Since graduation in 1969, Hannah worked her way up the corporate ladder from steno clerk to Secretary to the Vice President of the local office of New York Life  Insurance at the company's home office on Madison Avenue.  She has been the 1969 class representative for her classmates since graduation, promoting all
Alumnae events, Communion Breakfasts, and any special West Catholic events.  Hannah is currently a Substitute Teacher in the Archdiocesan Elementary Schools and is working on her Class' 50th Reunion.


The 50th Anniversary Golden Burr Award was given to Charlie Donnelly '69 for his continued service to West, devoting much of his time keeping his fellow alumni active and connected with West.  Charlie is on the Burrs of the Beach Committee, serving on the planning committee, greeting guests at the front desk, and/or hawking tickets in the months leading up to the event. Charlie's alumni activities have also included organizing annual Alumni Soccer games, and serving as the soccer referee for over 40 years.

Another 50th Anniversary Golden Burr Award was presented to Jim Reilly, '69.  After graduation and serving in the US Navy, Jim married and raised his family in Southwest Philly and worked 43 years in the Post Office.  He coached CYO sports and a member of the Southwest Coaches Association, including as the Association's Chaplain.  Jim is still active in the community and is helping to organize the Class of 1969's 50th Reunion.


Margaret Sheffield Panichelli '65 received the Bishop John J, McCort Award in recognition of her service to the West Catholic family and community at large.  She continually volunteers for many activities, active in organizing the Alumnae Communion Breakfasts and raising monies for cancer research and dance-athons.  She continually promotes "Be proud of your education at West."

Brother Martin Strickroth, FSC Award was presented posthumously to Joseph "Otto" Dietzmann '71.  He was an active member of the AOH Organization and the Knights of Columbus, attending all their events.  He was dedicated to the youth in St. Barnabas and to the CYO Program in Southwest Philly.  He was the Athlete Director and coached the football team.  He was also one of the founding members of the Southwest Coaches Football Association. Sadly, Joe passed away earlier this year.

John Dukes Jr. '73 received the William H. McGarvey Award.  John is an very active member of the Board of Governors of the West Catholic Alumni Association.  He serves on the Veterans, Communion Breakfast, and the Scholarship Committees. John played a key role in the reconstruction of the Grotto at the current West Catholic.  In the past John served as a
letter carrier, became postal police officer, fire arms instructor, CPR/AED instructor, officer survival instructor and defensive tactics instructor.  John worked on the Postal Reform Act, volunteered at the World Trade Center after 911, Katrina relief in New Orleans, and the Astro Dome in Houston, Texas.


Eric M. Rutherford '81 was presented the Golden Burr Award and recognized for his many accomplishments both on and

off the field.  Eric was active in football and basketball, running cross country, indoor and outdoor track, besides achieving high academic standing.  He attended Bucknell University and had a business career at the Philadelphia Stock Exchange.

He coached football at West in his spare time, and was a Phys Ed teacher and coach at St Francis de Sales School.  He is

an active supporter of West and the students today,


The 25th Anniversary Silver Burr Award was presented to Jimmy Reilly, '94 who stated that "The West Catholic Community played a LARGE part in who I am as a person today!"  After graduation from Ursinus College, Jimmy joined the basketball coaching staff at West.  He then coached with Herb Magee at the Philadelphia University, now Jefferson University.


Our class of 1958 was represented by George Light, Charlie Johnson, Bill Marella, Larry Doran and Anthony Evangelista.





submitted by:  FRANK ADOLF



Once again the Class of 1958 held their annual reunion luncheon at the Clarion Hotel near Philadelphia International.  This is the 14th year that these events have been held at the Clarion.  You can't beat the price of $20.00 per person for a great buffet with all the trimmings and delicious desserts. 



Clarion Hotel




Our long distance traveler Al Gresh, flew in from Florida before the luncheon and headed back on the evening flight. 




Joe Semeister, Al Gresh




The final attendance count was 40, including Bob Houlihan and his wife Elizabeth.  We had seven NO SHOWS, which at our age is something that we are starting to experience.  


The conversations around the room were all about our time together at West and more current issues such as health related problems, including updates on recent surgeries.  We have a lot of guys sporting new knees, hips, shoulders, etc.  




Tom Hughes, George Light, Charlie Johnson, Angelo Sivieri




Joe Grimley, Jim Gallagher, Joe Gavaghan, John Gillespie 


Brother Steve Casale offered the luncheon invocation, which including reading the names of those classmates who's passing we learned about since our 2018 reunion.




Lunch is Served





George Light was our MC for the event and had to stand-in for Paul Colistra who was unable to attend.  Sadly, as George was beginning his after luncheon update, he received a phone call informing him that Tom Dorrian, co-chair with George of The Burrs at the Beach Committee, passed away the previous evening.  George was visibly shaken by this tragic news, but carried on with the program. 




A special recognition award was presented by Rich Buzza to our own Jim Clark.   The award says it all.   We jokingly refer to Clarkie as the Class of 1958's professional mourner. 







John O'Connell won the 50-50 drawing and generously donated back $50.00 of his winnings.


George announced that West Catholic and the Christian Brothers will each receive donations on behalf of the Class of 1958 in the amount of $250.00.




John Staiber, Sam McGhie with Burrs at the Beach Tickets


The luncheon was concluded with the singing of the West Catholic Boys' school song.




Singing the West Catholic Boys School Song


After singing the school song, the party continued for those who just wanted to stay a little longer.  It was apparent that  everyone had a good time spending the afternoon with friends who are so much a part of our lives.    


A special thanks to John Staiber for the above pictures.  A complete set of pictures from the luncheon are available on our Website at:


Thanks to all those who attended and we hope to see you in May of 2020 for the 15 year in a row, at which time we will celebrate the 62nd anniversary of our graduation from West Catholic. 





submitted by:  JACK CAPUTO


    On June 16, 1958, nine members of the class of 1958 - Charlie Howe, Charlie McClelland, Jack Neuschel, Jack Caputo, Tom Henry, Steve Casale, Bob Sentman, Larry Dempsey and Don Thompson - boarded a bus at the 49th & Chestnut Street campus bound for Christian Brothers Novitiate in Ammendale, MD, where they would begin the period of formation to become Brothers.  There they were joined by 13 West Catholic boys who had left West and completed high school in the "Junior Novitiate" at Ammendale - Mike Hughes, Frank Metzler, Rich Levis, John Broderick, Bob McCoy, Joe Speakman, Al Kern, Ed Butler, Des Butler, Larry Brumfield, Gerry Vernot, Joe Crowe, and John McLaughlin.  There were 45 members in the Novitiate group most coming from high schools run by the Brothers in the middle Atlantic states, the largest group before or since, and 22 of them were from the West Catholic class of 1958, a robust confirmation, to say the least, of how deep an impression the Christian Brothers had made on everyone during our days at West Catholic.


    On the weekend of May 17-19, a reunion was held at the Clarion hotel of the 1958 Novitiate group.  Of the 22 Burr novices, 2 remained in the Brothers (Larry Dempsey and Steve Casale), 3 have died (Larry Brumfield, Rick Levis, Bob McCoy), and no less than 10 (Charlie McClelland, Jack Neuschel, Jack Caputo, Steve Casale, Don Thompson, Joe Speakman, Des Butler, Al Kern, John Broderick and Joe Crowe) were able to attend the reunion, coming from as far away as Seattle and Texas.  A number of others sent their best wishes but were prevented by circumstances from attending.  Six other members of the Novitiate group, hailing from other Brothers' high schools, along with John Broderick's older brother, Brother Malachy Broderick, also attended.   


    The reunion was skillfully and tirelessly organized by Frank Metzler, who chaired the reunion committee that also included Des Butler, Jack Caputo and Brother Joe Mahon (La Salle High, 1958), another of the four members of the original 1958 Novitiate group who is still in the Brothers.  A tip of the hat goes to WC '58 classmates Frank Adolf and Rich Buzza for sharing their reunion experience with the committee, helping to coordinate the event with the annual class of '58 luncheon (May 16), and lending invaluable assistance to the committee with details and logistics like name-tags and menus.


    Many people had stayed in touch with one another, but many had not seen each other in sixty-one years.  No matter conversation and conviviality were instant, picking up where they left off with stories from long ago, hilarities that were only possible in a Novitiate and only understood if you had been there.  The seven wives also in attendance were especially tolerant and good-natured about the latter.  The reunion was kicked off with a Friday-night session marked by the Clarion's Philly Tour buffet (cheesesteaks and Tastykakes), served in a room adorned with pictures and memorabilia of old buildings and the smiling faces of young novices in whom we could barely make out ourselves.  On Saturday morning, a number of people assembled at La Salle University - after the Novitiate came college (the Scholasticate") - where they were treated to a tour of a campus that has been greatly transformed over the years.  This was followed by lunch, hosted by members of the 1958 Novitiate Class currently residing at the new and quite impressive Anselm Hall on the La Salle campus.  Brother Steve Casale lives there, but Brother Larry Dempsey, for reasons of health, lives in Lincroft, New Jersey.  On Saturday evening, there was a lovely banquet, more banter and laughter, lots of pictures and a few toasts, and then on Sunday morning a very beautiful liturgy, celebrated by Rev. Bob Albright (Central Catholic, Pittsburgh, 1958), a member of the '58 Novitiate group who had left the Brothers and been ordained a priest in the Baltimore Diocese.  It was a remarkable and memorable three days, marking a very special and formative time in the lives of everyone n the class of 1958 who entered the Brothers and those who discovered there that their vocation lay elsewhere.  Either way, they were, they are, they always will be Brothers' boys.





Front row l to r: Bro. Steve Casale, Bro. Joe Mahon, Rev. Bob Albright, Jerry Flohr and Jack Neuschel

Second row l to r: Des Butler, John Broderick, Bro. Pat Carney, John O'Neil, Frank Metzler, Joe Crowe, Al Kern
     Joe Speakman, and Jack Caputo


Missing: Andy Thompson who left early



Gleaned from WCP Website





West Catholic Preparatory High School announces that it has selected Brian Wood as the 19th Head Coach of its football program. Wood, a West Philadelphia native, graduated from St. Francis de Sales and West Catholic Prep (1996). Wood earned All-Catholic honors as a tight end in his senior year and also played defensive end. After West Catholic, Wood went on to play offensive line at Albright College, where he was a two-time all-conference selection.

Wood spent seven years coaching at the collegiate level, first in 2001 as an assistant at Bowie State (MD), then at Millersville from 2003-08. Wood started his high school coaching career in 2009 as an assistant at Downingtown West High School, then at Coatesville High School from 2010-2014 where the Red Raiders made four consecutive PIAA state playoff appearances and were the PA State Runner-Ups in 2013.

Wood has spent the last four seasons as the Defensive Coordinator at Oxford High School, where he was part of turning the program around, earning its first playoff appearance in 24 years in 2017, and again in 2018.

“We are excited to begin this new era of West Catholic Prep football.  Mr. Wood brings with him a reputation of excellence as a coach and as a role-model for young men as they develop as student athletes.  We welcome Mr. Wood to the West Catholic Prep athletic program.” Said West Catholic Prep Principal Kelly Lanza about the selection of Mr. Wood.

“It’s a special honor and humbling experience to accept the Head Coach position at West Catholic Preparatory High School.” Said Wood.  “As a 3rd generation graduate of West Catholic; I feel the West Catholic Community has prepared me for college and the real world. It’s a privilege to come back home to West Catholic and share my experience and tradition with the future shareholders of society”.





Gleaned from WCP Website


We are proud to announce the West Catholic Preparatory High School class of 2019 college decisions. The class of 2019 has 100% college acceptance and more than $20,000,000 in college scholarships. Principal Kelly Lanza discussed the importance of the class of 2019's achievements. "We're incredibly proud of all the accomplishments of the class of 2019. They have spent the past four years developing spiritually, academically and socially. As they embark on this next phase of their lives, we are confident that they represent West Catholic well as young Lasallians in the tradition of St. John Baptist de La Salle". 


Colleges Accepted to: 525

Colleges Attending: 82

Students planning to enlist in the armed services: 1

Percentage of class attending private Colleges and Universities: 49%

Total Scholarships: $20,887,437












Priests of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia are celebrating 25th, 50th and other significant anniversaries of their ordination to the priesthood this year. See the list of 28 priests jubiliarians

25 Years

Msgr. J. Brian Bransfield
Father William G. Donovan
Father Gregory J. Hamill
Father Carl F. Janicki
Father James A. Lyons
Father Mardean E. Miller
Father Stephen A. Moerman
Father Zachary W. Navit
Father Timothy F. O’Sullivan
Father Michael S. Olivere
Father Charles Zlock

50 Years

Father Gerald D. Canavan
Father Hugh J. Dougherty
Msgr. Thomas P. Flanigan
Father John J. Kilgallon
Father Richard J. Maisano
Father Ignatius Marneni
Father James J. McKeaney
Father Martin E. Woodeshick

55 Years

Father William P. Donnelly
Father Peter C. Funk
Father Francis M. Gallagher
Father Charles J. McElroy
Father James C. Sherlock
Father Donato P. Silveri

60 Years

Father John P. McNamee

65 Years

Father Francis J. Bartos
Msgr. Bernard J. Trinity




Gleaned from CatholicPhilly,com


The verdant grounds and stately buildings that comprise the St. Charles Borromeo Seminary property in Wynnewood has been sold to Main Line Health, according to information released Friday morning, May 24.


While the price and other details of the recently completed transaction were not made public in a letter to archdiocesan priests by Bishop Timothy Senior, rector of St. Charles, the sale represents a landmark in the nearly seven-year process to consider selling some or all of the seminary's property.

With 19 buildings comprising 630,000 square feet on approximately 75 acres, the tract is one of the largest in Lower Merion Township untouched by commercial or residential development.

Main Line Health owns Lankenau Medical Center located on 93 acres directly across Lancaster Avenue from the seminary. The health system operates six hospitals and health centers in the Philadelphia region.

In his letter Bishop Senior said the seminary will continue to operate on the property for up to five years.

"During this time Main Line Health and St. Charles. Seminary will continue to work with the township and other community partners to assess the optimal future of the property, while considering both the historical significance of the buildings as well as the needs of our growing and vibrant community," he wrote.

At the same time, the seminary continues to plan its relocation near the campus of Neumann University in Aston, Delaware County.



Charles Porrini WC '49 - Frank, Thanks for the Golden Burrs Newsletter.


Frank O'Keefe: Frankie, another great edition.  I will be sending you a check April 1, to cover some of your expenses.  Keep up the great work, have you had the hip operation yet ??

Charlie "W" Johnson:  Frank, As usual, a great job!  Sent you a check for the 61st.  Hope you and the group are well, please extend my best to them all. ...............-Charlie   


Michael Mullen: WC '59:  I always look TO YOUR NEWSLETTERS.


Fran Lawless WC '68:  Frank, it's worth reading it twice.  Your guys from '58 are First Class. Fran  


Andy Marino:  Frank, Thanks for the email (about Leo Marx), and for your continuing fine work with the newsletter.  You play a unique role in many Burr lives.  Andy


Jim McManaman:  Frank, Leo (Marx) lived around the corner from Buzzy and I on Pentridge St. (5800 block).  He was a hell of a fellow to me.  Whenever I dealt with him, he put it out there (straight forward).  Sincerely, Jim 


John Staiber:  Ran into fellow classmate Mike McGinley down the shore in March.




Left: John Staiber - Right: Mike McGinley


John Gillespie:  Frank:  Thanks for resending.  I like to keep current with happenings.  I will make an effort to visit Father Rich McAndrews and Vince Reynolds before the luncheon. 


Tom Sweeney:  Frank:  Thank you for all your efforts to keep up the news and keeping us informed on our friends at West and Transy.  Tom


Jim Gallagher:  Frank, As always, the lunch was great.  Good food, good company, good fun. Thanks to you and the Golden Burrs team for all you guys do for the W.C. class of 58.  With each passing year, the lunch takes on more of a special meaning for me.  Go Burrs.


Comments received about the passing of Vince Reynolds:


Brother Steven Casale:  Frank, Thank you for that.  Vince and I were classmates at Good Shepherd and our first year at West in the GS Annex.  I learned the word bravado from him when he used it in something he had written.

The last time I saw him was one snowy evening on the 13 trolley a few years ago, but I did not recognize him until he was about to disembark and it was too late to say anything.


Jim Lynch:  Was sorry to hear about Vince, he was a nice guy never heard him say a bad word about anyone.

Dutch O'Malley:  Thank you , Frank.  Second time within 15 minutes of learning about a friend passing away.  God Bless. 


Andy Don Thompson:  Frank, thank you for sharing this sad news of Vince's passing.  What a gentle guy.  We lived around the corner from each other and with 1958 classmates Jim McDonald and John Gillespie, for about a year we 4 got a daily lift to West via Vince's next door neighbor, John the Barber.  Vince spoke as an 18 year old of wanting to fly planes but feared his lack of 20/20 vision would prevent that.  Glad he lived his dream. 


Bill Marella:  A really good guy.  He will be missed.

Jim Clark:  Hello Guy's,  I just returned home from delivering a WC58 Pennant; with Vince Reynolds name on it, and Good Shepherd Parish on it too, to Vince's Sister & Brother in Law - Betty & Mike Jarrett over in Broomall, Pa.  Mike was WC59 & Betty was WC 61.  They were very appreciative in receiving the Pennant and thanked me.  They asked me to send Thanks to all on the WC58 Reunion Team, as well as all of the Good Shepherd guy's too.  Clarkie 


Frank Metzler:  What a remarkable and loving gentleman.  I enjoyed his company at our class luncheons.  Rest In Peace Vince! 


Jim McManamanThank you, Frank.  Didn't realize that Vince went to St. Charles.  Appreciate your taking the time.



Visitation and Mass for Bob Madden:


The Visitation and Mass for Bob Madden at St. Anastasia's Church in Newtown Square was well attended.  


Andrew Brady, Director of Institutional Advancement at West, represented the school. 

There were many former members of St. Barnabas and West Catholic grads from classes of the 1950's in attendance. 

The following members of the Class of 1958 were there: Frank Adolf, Jim Cahill, Jack & Kathy Caputo, Jim Clark, Tom & Gayle Hughes, Charlie W. Johnson, George Light, Bill Marella, Frank O'Keefe, Tom & Eileen McNeill, Angelo Sivieri, Joe Speakman and Mike Wishing.  (I apologize if I missed anyone).









submitted by:  FRANK ADOLF




1940 - Roof Top Bleachers Opposite Connie Mack Stadium




Robin Roberts - 2nd Game of the World Series





Rocky Marciano and Jersey Joe Walcott





Norm Van Brocklin





Chuck Bednarik 









Care for the Sick - Transfiguration Church


WE REMEMBER and ask for your prayers for those who are ill, especially Dave Crines who is recovering from a stroke, Jim Prendergast who is recovering from several surgeries and a recent stroke, Tom Henry who is fighting Hodgkin

Lymphoma, Rich Loftus who is recovering from heart-bypass surgery, George Powers who is receiving chemotherapy 

treatments, Frank Adolf who is recovering from a left hip replacement surgery and is scheduled for a right hip replacement on July 29th, Brother Larry Dempsey who is suffering from Alzheimer's disease and now resides at the Lincroft, NJ nursing home, Brother Robert Sentman who is dealing with back problems, and Father Richard McAndrews who has Parkinson's disease and now resides at Little Flower Manor Nursing Home. 


Two former teachers from West are in need of prayers; Brother Gregory Cavalier has moved to the nursing home in Lincroft, NJ, and former Brother Gratian Joseph (John Gardiner) is in the beginning stage of Alzheimer's disease. WE REMEMBER and pray for all of our deceased classmates who have gone on to their eternal reward, especially Vince Reynolds and Bob Madden.










Obituaries for Vince and Bob are posted on the Golden Burrs website at:





submitted by:  RICH BUZZA


It has been a few weeks since our 61st Anniversary of our Graduation Luncheon and we have had some time to reflect on the event.  As always, our 1958  Golden Burr Events Committee has performed  outstandingly with it's usual attention to detail and excellence of  planning of the event.  I, personally, received many compliments from the attendee's at the luncheon as to how thankful they were to the Committee for it's efforts in continuing this luncheon each year and how much they enjoy attending this event.  On behalf of the Committee, we thank all of those who took their time to attend our luncheon and we hope to continue these luncheons as long as we are able to do so. 


As you have read earlier in this Newsletter, we honored our own Jim "Clarkie" Clark this year.  I can say that this was truly a surprise to him as he knew nothing about receiving this award until the announcement at the luncheon.  Clarkie had no idea of who was receiving the award until I told the story of the recipient "Diving into Cobb's Creek at flood stage going after a fly ball".  Clarkie was overwhelmed and moved to tears and it took a moment or two for him to compose himself in order to come up and receive his Certificate of Appreciation.  Clarkie gets everyone's Good Guy Award. 


Well, The 61st luncheon is history and the planning for the 62nd will commence in a few weeks.  We are always open to suggestions from our classmates in planning of the luncheon, so let us know if you have a thought (improve/criticize).  Thanks again, to all of those who attended our 61st and we look forward to Burrs at the Beach on Sunday, June 23, 2019.


     God Bless WEST CATHOLIC!   Live Jesus in our Hearts.  Forever.