36th Annual Hall of Fame Dinner Scheduled in Ford City

Kathy Buccieri (left) and Kathy Crawford appeared on “Talk of the Town” to discuss the inductees of this year’s annual Ford City Hall of Fame ceremony and dinner.

The 36th Annual Induction Ceremonies and Dinner of the Ford City Hall of Fame will be held on Sunday, September 29 at 6PM at the Ford Cliff Fire Hall.

“We will induct one institution and two individuals this year,” Karen Buccieri said on a recent Talk of the Town cable show on Family-Life TV and WTYM radio.

Buccieri said there are two categories – Business/Institutional or Individual.

“Our institution would be a business that has been in operation for at least 50 years. We started with Welch’s Funeral Home which was in the 1920s, and now we are up to Klingensmith’s Drug Store and they will be inducted this year.”

 

Klingensmith’s Drug Store in the early days (above)

BUSINESS INDUCTEE – Klingensmith’s Drug Store has been a staple in Ford City since 1940. It all started when J. Henry Klingenmith purchased Kettle’s Drug Store from George Kettle. Back in those days J. Henry was a druggist from Pittsburgh. Affectionately known as “Kling” he changed the name to Klingensmith’s Drug Store and operates a traditional drug store with a soda fountain through the 40’s, 50’s, 60’s and 70’s until his retirement in 1972. At that time, he sold the store to Joseph Cippel, who had been employed as a pharmacist at the store since 1958. Joe, before graduating from pharmacy school, worked for Kling since high school.

Klingensmith’s was the classic family business. Joe’s wife, Janet, acted as a part-time bookkeeper and their three children – Colleen, David, and Joseph Jr – all eventually play active roles in the company as they grew older.

The business begins to grow in 1974 when Joe purchased an independent pharmacy in Leechburg. A year later, a fire destroyed that building and is quickly rebuilt in the same year. In 1979, a third location was purchased near the Clarion University campus. The three locations operate until 1994 when the company expanded again to a new location in Elderton.

This is the current corporate offices and retail space for Klingensmith’s Drug Store in Ford City.

Today, Klingensmith’s is a chain of drug stores with eight locations. In 1994 the Rimersburg store was purchased, and in 1999, Allen’s Drug Store is acquired and moved to its current location in Kittanning. Then in 2000, Klingensmith’s in Rural Valley made their seventh location.

Joe Cippel retired in 2000 and he named David Cippel as the President of Klingensmith’s Drug Stores. The company continued to grow with their eighth location in West Kittanning. Four years later in 2004, the Elderton store was closed and relocated in Shelocta. Also the Rural Valley store closed and reopened in Numine.

In 2006 construction began in Ford City at their “Flagship” location. Klingensmith’s now employs about 150 people.

On October 18, 2018 Joe Cippel passes away at the age of 86. Klingensmith’s continues to operate their eight locations in Armstrong, Clarion, and Indiana Counties.

Buccieri said that in nominating individuals, the Hall of Fame committee selects persons who have volunteered for things, done things on their own outside of their scope, and gone above and beyond what a normal person might do.

 

Allyssa Burk has been a cat enthusiast since she was five years old. 

INDIVIDUAL – Allyssa Prazenica Burk is a lifetime resident of Ford City. She is currently the Tax Collector for Ford City Borough. She is the wife of Dan Burk and mother of two children, Sara and Abby. In her spare time she is a Eucharistic Minister for the Christ Prince of Peace Church, belongs to the C. U. Club Ladies Auxiliary, The Ford City Parks and Rec Committee, and the Shade Tree Committee. And although a Pitt fan is a Penn State Master Gardener.

Her passion is rescuing cats. She is the self appointed “Crazy Cat Lady” with due reason. She started collecting cats at the tender age of 5 with a cat named Maple. Over the years, she has helped rescue hundreds of cats.

Ford City had a definite problem with homeless, feral, and abandoned cats and kittens. Allyssa took it upon herself to try to resolve this issue. She has been known to carry towels in her car to catch the homeless or injured. Recently she helped to capture 90 cats in Piper Manor.

She is also a strong believer in spaying and neutering your animals and is very active with the Orphans of the Storm. She and her husband Dan offer their garage once or twice a month to Orphans of the Storm or Frankies Friends to spay or neuter over 50 cats a month. Cumulatively, that is at least 600 cats a year! This is the third year of this endeavor.

Every year during the Armstrong Folk Festival she and her family park cars that the Allegheny Real Estate’s office parking lot as a fundraiser for the Orphans of the Storm Hope Fund. This fund is used for animals that need medical care when no other funds are available.

Allyssa has affectionately fostered over 500 cats and kittens. Currently she has a cat named Brandy. Brandy is over 22 years old. Allyssa also has a couple of spry kittens that bounce all over her office. They are very cute and friendly. They will be available shortly for adoption.

Buccieri said that each year, the committee also chooses someone who is no longer living and considers them for the induction.

T-Ball Mantini was well know throughout Armstrong County. He passed away in 2014. 

POSTHUMOUS INDUCTION – Terry “T-Ball” Mantini was born the second of eight Mantini children. Even from the start of his early life, he was his mothers’ co-pilot in many decisions and designated map reader on all family trips. His math skills helped determine destination and arrival times years before the invention of GPS. Because his father was working, T-Ball acted as the director and “father figure” on family adventures.

Terry was a very kind, generous, caring and giving man who never turned his back on anyone in need and would personally go without if necessary.

He really found his calling after graduating from NYU with a bachelor degree in Mathematics and Northwestern University with a bachelor degree in orthotics and prosthetics – the manufacturing of braces and artificial limbs. Terry worked with his father, Angelo, at Kittanning Orthopedic where he began to service patients.

After his grandfather, August Mantini, helped him with some needed financial finances to operate this business, Terry was ready to repay these funds but his “Nunu” asked him to always help his siblings in their futures and not to worry about that loan. And so he did and more.

Not only did he help with family business and was the co-owner of Wick City Saloon and rental properties, but helped substantially in the community. Terry was instrumental in financing projects in Ford City with the building of the gazebo and clock tower as well as his brothers and the Lions Club. He also donated to school and community functions. Yearly, he donated chicken wings to the after prom parties. He loved driving kids around and being involved with his children’s and their friends activities.

He could be seen at boy scouts, sporting events, girl scouts (even becoming an unofficial leader), and dance recitals. If someone needed a ride after a 3 AM phone call, he would get them and make sure they made it home safely. The family called it “T-Balls Friday night taxi service”.

Terry loved his hometown of Ford City and wished it to prosper. He never wanted to leave Ford City and actually referred to it as “Paradise Valley”. He loved people and talked to everyone, a quality the family believed to be true and discovered after his passing what an immense impact he had made on many people.

He was also a generous member of the following organizations: Kittanning Men’s Club, Eagles, Falcons, Latin American Club, and the Lions Club.

Terry was married his wife Terri in 1992 and had 3 children Jud, Jeno, and Jocelyn. They knew Terry as a wonderful husband and father.  He died Friday, July 25, 2014, at his residence, where he grew up. He was 63.

Buccieri said there is a plaque in the Ford City Library listing all past inductees.

The menu for the dinner is Stuffed Pork Chop or Turkey. Tickets are $20. To purchase a ticket, call 724-763-2767.