Venerating the Veterans
by Cate Murway
“Come back again
I want you to stay next time
Cause sometimes the world ain’t kind
When people get lost like you and me”
Are you or is someone in your household a former or current
member of the US military?
Have you courageously served in the Army, Navy, Marine Corps,
Air Force, Coast Guard and National Guard, Nurse Corps
and Waves with a Bristol Borough address?
We Thank You!
Like the bow of a ship, the obelisk-like WWII Memorial structure at Pond and Fillmore Streets points towards the center of Bristol on the river.
Silent heroes live among us. We are safe because they were strong enough to put themselves in danger. The riveting accounts of their sacrifice and dedication are far more meaningful than any contrived fiction. Movies have nothing on reality. As often stated, “The price of Freedom is Never Free”.
If you were to see a World War II veteran on the street, they would probably appear to you like so many of the other graying, bespectacled elderly, but like so many of the daring military, though they seldom talked about it, they can still tell one heck of a story!
“POOR IS THE NATION THAT HAS NO HEROES.
SHAMEFUL IS THE NATION THAT HAVING THEM FORGETS.”
from a WWII VeteransTribute website
We need to thank these almost invisible heroes for what have remained their virtually unspoken valiant feats to commemorate Veterans Day!
(Major hostilities of WW I were formally ended at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918 with the German signing of the Armistice.)
Ambitious and determined Pauline Edwina [Tosti] Michalski, BHS ’56, dubbed “Tookie”, has a pioneering penchant for initiating action and a decidedly upbeat attitude that is rarely discouraged.
She was born on East Circle to Rick and Jo Tosti, each of whom was one of six children.
[Enrico] Richard John Tosti, educated in Bristol Borough schools, worked at Fleetwings, later the Kaiser-Fleetwings Aircraft Company in the 1930s and 1940s and then at Van Sant Airport, “doping” the airplanes, making the fabric coverings taut and waterproof, after they had been fitted in place on the airplane framework.
He met Josephine Elizabeth “Jo” [Moore], John W. Hallahan Catholic Girls’ H.S. ‘31 “jitterbugging” at an Italian Mutual Aid dance. Actually, Jo had gone to the dance with Pauline’s dad’s brother, Ed, but she danced most of the evening with Ricky.
“All of the Tosti boys were gifted working with their hands” and were accomplished artists who enjoyed drawing, painting and sketching animation characters. Pauline’s dad made plywood Disney character room decorations for each of her children.
After listening to many radio ballgames with her father, she “loved Phil Rizzuto”; the sure-handed Hall of Fame NY Yankees shortstop nicknamed The Scooter. Her dad painted a small picture of him for her bedroom. “Just loved him!”
Her late father’s large family included her late Uncles, Emidio J. 'Mini' [he always fished and caught minnows and professionally built beautiful boats], Edward, Theodore “Ted”, and late Aunts, Anna Mae and Josephina.
Her maternal relatives included her late Uncles (Marines) Paul A., (Army) Robert E. “Bob”, (Army) Andrew A., [who worked in the “Pennsy” RR for years as freight conductor and brakeman and was Grundy Museum Director Donna McCloskey’s father], and her late Aunt Rosemarie. Her Uncle (Marines) William W. “Bill”, a retired Fort Dix ammunitions expert is a Garfield Street resident.
Pauline herself is one of ten children: Barry Place resident, Josephine; Grundy Towers resident, Richard; Wood Street resident, Shirley; the late, Patti; N. Farragut Street resident, Bob; Bensalem resident Bill, Roosevelt Street resident, Andrea; and twins, (Army/ Vietnam veterans) Wilson Avenue resident, Edward J. and Barry Place resident, Gary A., who has his own Band (Garyoke).
Pauline met Fire Chief Raymond Forestal, Sr., BHS ’55 in school where his homeroom and her locker were in the same hall. They raised their 7 children on Farragut Avenue: “red on the head” Raymond, Jr., a State government meat inspector; and Patti, a supervisor at the Carole Hochman sleepwear company who graduated in Canton, PA. Douglas, BHS ’77, owns a display business in NJ; the late, Stephan “Steve”, BHS ’78 was diagnosed with MS; James “Jim”, BHS ’79 is a Shop-Vac maintenance supervisor; Langhorne resident, Pauline E., BHS ‘80 works in the legal department at the Journal Register Company; and Borough resident, David, BHS ‘84 works at Elf Ato Chem.
In school, athletic Pauline played the left field position in softball, and right inner in field hockey. She fondly remembers Barbara [Yerkes] Mitchell, not only as a great coach but also as a great friend! She was also a member of the Robert W. Bracken Cavaliers Junior Drum and Bugle Corps with her sisters, color guards, Josephine and Shirley “Shirl”. Pauline was a Corps’ “Guide on”, dressed in a cream-colored skirt and an orange jacket, walking along side the rank of drummers or buglers to keep them straight. They practiced at Memorial Field on Jefferson Avenue.
Pauline at one time was employed at the Bristol Courier. When her children were all in school, she worked as a supervisor for “Total Warehouse” in the receiving office at Simon & Schuster, the global leader in the field of general interest publishing for 25 years. “Actually, I loved it. I loved the people.” She retired in 2000.
Originally seven of the retired employees met to dine at a different restaurant every month. Now the remaining four continue to sample Bristol on the Delaware’s delicacies. “I love [Charlie] Karp’s [Pub]. I love his pork chops!” Another favorite selection is Gnocchi fried Diablo, with a “tang, a real bite!” at “Cesare’s Italian Specialties Ristorante” [the closest thing to home cooking!]
They truly “lit up the room” in Café Antonio in Morrisville when Pauline accidentally set tissue paper from her Christmas gift on fire. Patrons wanted to know when the water-doused group was returning as they had supplied the most excitement ever!
An inventory clerk under Pauline’s supervision, Joyce E. [White] Frake, BHS ’57, confirmed, “She is a caring, good friend who stays involved locally. Pauline is an all-around good person!”
Pauline met her second husband, the late Nicholas Eugene “Nick” Michalski, Pennsbury H.S. ’56 when she joined the Rohm & Haas bowling league at the AMF Bristol Pike Lanes. At one point, she could boast a powerful 185 average!
Pauline, the “go-getter person who is a lot of fun” is actively involved in locating and securing information regarding veterans and documenting their DD-214 [Discharge Papers and Veterans Separation] documents and confirming if the servicemen or women were wounded and had earned a Purple Heart.
Pearl Harbor Day is Pauline’s birthday.
The committee at this point includes Treasurer Sharon Elizabeth [Wilga], BHS ’64 [Happy Birthday on Veteran’s Day!] and Albert William Lalli, BHS ’61; Josephine “Honey” [Tosti], BHS ’50 and Ralph Frank Lalli, N.E Catholic H.S. for Boys ’50; and Nicholas James Lalli, BHS ’61. Her brother, Richard “Brud” Tosti is the President, Senior Advisor is Alfred [Al] Cordisco, Class of BHS ’40, and Pauline’s brother, Bob is also a treasurer.
“It was Al Lalli and Brud who originally suggested one big monument for all the veterans instead of individual ones for each ward.” Only the Harriman men are inscribed on the current monument.
Creative consultant Thomas “Tommy” Rudesyle has submitted ideas and Marine Corps veteran, Daniel H. Fraley, Lincoln H.S.’65, the county government's Director of Veterans Affairs in Doylestown has assisted with the planning.
Stella [DeSabato] Manna, born and raised on Lincoln Avenue, donated $500.00 for a commemorative brick for her brother Michael who was buried overseas.
They have secured at least $25,000 in donations and they are getting into full fund raising mode now. Please help with this most worthwhile Bristol Borough venture.
Many veterans and military men and women did incredible things, endured awful things, and for the most part, most of these brave Americans pretty much kept it to themselves and just faded back into the fabric of a comfortable civilian life.
Let us be thankful for such men and women.
Sharon Lalli shared, “Pauline is a gem of a person! She will help in any way, shape or form. She can light up a room and you can take her at her word.”
A Tuesday child, she is full of grace!
“Turn on your heartlight
Let it shine wherever you go
Let it make a happy glow
For all the world to see”
She truly appreciates Bristol on the river!
“No matter where you walk, you know someone and somebody knows you!”
When Pauline turned 16, she worked at the candy counter in the successful John G. McCrory’s 5 & 10. The township farmers would come in to purchase candy and cookies on the weekend. Mill Street was packed!
She remembers the days when girls wore big bobby sox reaching above the ankle and long ponytails. Her favorite footwear was a moccasin [and still is!]. She and her friends danced the jitterbug, the stroll and the bunny hop, and yes, the cha-cha.
Coolest memory? When WWII ended, Pauline remembers running through the street with flags and streamers and her bicycle was decorated. Horns were blowing and the people were laughing and crying. They yelled, “The war is over. The war is over”.
Saddest memory? She lost a ration stamp coupon book when she went to the store for groceries. “I was afraid to go home!”
For 4 years, Pauline was the corresponding secretary of the Bristol Cultural & Historical Foundation [non-profit, volunteer organization founded to preserve and promote the history and culture of this 1681 riverfront town]. She is a Moose social member and a past member of the Hibernians.
Her participation, “Steppin’ for Steve”, along with the innumerable others in the “MS Walks” means the National MS Society can still be working to support programs, services and sponsor research to end the devastating effects and continue to fund research for a cure while helping those afflicted with MS lead more fulfilling lives.
The genealogy bug has affected Pauline. Her mother essentially started it and had collected actual birth and death certificates. She has information from 1747 for the Tosti family and from 1780 for the Moore family. She traveled to Italy to meet her father’s family for the very first time almost 100 years to the day that her paternal grandfather, Luigi Tosti left Italy. Her 13 grandchildren are added to the lineage!
Her current music choices include country, blues and jazz. Neil Diamond, one of pop music's most enduring and successful singer- songwriters is her all time favorite.
She claims she can watch “Law & Order”, winner of the 1997 Emmy Award for Outstanding Drama Series, 24-7!
Her favorite film is “Pride & Prejudice” based on the very finely written Jane Austen novel. “Love the clothes; it’s just a great movie!”
Pauline’s senior yearbook quote apparently set her life tone. “Content is Happiness.”
Italicized Neil Diamond “Heartlight” lyrics
To recommend a Bristol Borough Character to be spotlighted:
Emidio J. Tosti
Emidio J. Tosti, age 101 passed away peacefully, on March 15, 2008 at Lower Bucks Hospital.
He was born and raised in Bristol Boro. He was very proud of being a member of St. Ann Church. He always spoke of being christened in the basement of the church even before the main church was completed. Emidio enjoyed his many years as a lectern for the church.He was a former employee of Rohm Haas where he worked as a Plexiglas cutter. He was a accomplished artist who enjoyed drawing, painting and sketching animation Characters. Also he was renowned for his skill and craft in creating wooden boat models from blueprints. He was the oldest participant in the senior games participating well into his 99th year. He loved bowling with his friends in the Bristol Pike Senior League. Mini was a wonderful father devoted husband who took care of his ailing wife. Prior to her being sick he and his wife Stella together enjoyed to travel in there retirement years.
He was preceded in death by his wife Stella. He will be sadly missed by his loving children Elaine Tosti and his son Robert Tosti both of Bristol. A sister-in-law Florence Cefferi; a brother-in-law Angelo Cianciosi, nieces nephews and many cousins.
Relatives and friends are invited to his viewing on Tuesday evening 7-9 p.m. and again on Wednesday 9:00-9:30 a.m. at the Galzerano Funeral Home, 430 Radcliffe St., Bristol Boro, followed by his funeral mass at St. Ann Church. Burial will follow in St. Mark Cemetery.
Family requests donations be made in his memory to St. Ann Church, 357 Dorrance St. Bristol, Pa. 19007.
Richard L. Tosti of Bristol passed away peacefully Wednesday, Feb. 23, 2016,
while on vacation in Florida, with family and friends by his side.
He was born Dec. 21, 1933, and lived in his hometown of Bristol Borough for most of his life.
Richard joined the U.S. Navy immediately after high school and served on the aircraft carrier,
The Essex, during the Korean War. He was honorably discharged in 1955.
Following his discharge, he worked at McGuire Air Force Base as an aircraft mechanic
for several years. He was an active member of the Air Force Reserves before moving on to Rohm & Haas as an electrician, where he worked for 30 years until his retirement.
In retirement Richard kept himself busy with contracting work for people and businesses, including spending nearly a year renovating his brother’s house. He was also very active in helping the Community Baptist Church with his friend, Deal Wright.
Richard was a member and past governor of the Bristol Moose Lodge No. 1169. His last accomplishment for them was arranging for and decorating a float in the 2015 Christmas Parade. Many years ago he reactivated the Bristol Halloween Parade. Richard was a member of the Robert W. Bracken American Legion Post No. 382 for 27 years and a lifetime member of the Chester W. Terchon V.F.W. and St. Ann’s Club. He was also a member of the Knights of Columbus and Local 88 UGCW.
Richard was one of the first lectors at St. Ann Church and established the first Cub Scout Troop at St. Ann. He was very proud of the fact that he was instrumental in forming a committee dedicated to building a monument in the Harriman section of Bristol Borough honoring Bristol Borough veterans. He served as chairman of the committee for five years until the monument was built and dedicated in 2012.
He had many hobbies including his passion for sports, He celebrated his love of travel by visiting several countries and many areas of the U.S. He loved karaoke and golf and enjoyed many golf trips to Myrtle Beach with his friends and family members. In his younger years, he coached Bristol Borough Little League, junior football and the CYO at St. Ann’s and St. Mark Church.
The family would like to extend a special thanks to Mary Simon and Mary and Butch Lucas, who were so very helpful at this critical time since his family was so far away.
Preceded in death by his son, John Tosti; his parents, Richard and Josephine Tosti; and his sister, Patricia (Tosti) Holden, he is survived by his six sons, Thomas and his wife, Tracy, who were a constant support for him, Richard (Joyce), Paul (Susan), Andrew (Geri), Mark and William Tosti; his two daughters, Gerry Bender (Ray) and Joni Rittler (Bob); 21 grandchildren; and 12 great-grandchildren. He is also survived by four brothers, Robert (Libby), William (Peggy), Edward, and Gary (Louise); his four sisters, Josephine Lalli (Ralph), Shirley Volponi (Joseph), Pauline Michalski and Andrea Harvie; his longtime companion, Mary Simon; along with many nieces and nephews.
Relatives and friends are invited to attend his Funeral Mass 10 a.m. Friday, March 4, at St. Mark Church. Interment will be in Resurrection Cemetery. Friends may call 7 to 9 p.m. Thursday and 9 to 9:45 a.m. Friday at the Wade Funeral Home, 1002 Radcliffe Street, Bristol Borough.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to St. Jude Children Hospital, 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, TN 38105. Wade Funeral Home, Bristol Borough www.wadefh.com
HOLDEN, Walter B., Sr. Age 76, of Erial, NJ, passed away on Saturday, March 27, 2010 at Vitas Hospice at Kennedy Memorial Hospital, Stratford, NJ. Born and raised in Bristol Boro, he resided there most of his life, moving to New Jersey in 1992. He was a graduate of Bristol High School, Class of 1953 and was a U.S. Army Veteran. Mr. Holden was employed for many years as a welder at U.S. Steel, Fairless Works. He was a member of the Lindenwold and Bristol Moose Clubs and loved to dance. Husband of the late Patricia (nee Tosti) Holden, he is survived by his 2 sons, Walter B. Holden, Jr. and his wife, Ann Marie of Pennsauken, NJ, and John Holden and his wife, Krista of Yardley, Pa, his loving companion, Vera Herda, 4 grandchildren, Shannon (Gerard), Matthew, Brett, and Jessica and 1 great-grand-daughter, Arianna. He is also survived by 1 brother, William Holden and his wife, Joyce and 1 sister, Grace Urick and her husband, Joe, 1 sister-in-law, Gerry Holden along with many nieces and nephews. He was also predeceased by 2 brothers, Thomas and John Holden and 3 sisters, Joan Tusiano, Betty Ann Holden and Peggy Gersch.
Relatives and friends are invited to attend his Funeral Mass on Wednesday, March 31, 2010, 11:00am at St. Mark Church, Bristol Boro. Interment, St. Mark Cem. Friends may call Tuesday evening 7-9:00pm and Wednesday morning 10-10:45am at The WADE FUNERAL HOME, 1002 Radcliffe Str., Bristol Boro. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Vitas Hospice at Kennedy Memorial Hospital, 18 East Laurel Rd., Stratford, NJ 08084. www.wadefh.com