Mignoni Jewelry and Gifts… An entire Family of GEMS!
by Cate Murway
85 years hasn’t tarnished the sparkle in Carolyn Elizabeth Mignoni’s eyes. Quite the entrepreneur, Mrs. Mignoni purchased the 60year store location for Mignoni Jewelry and Gifts upon her husband’s request, while Carmen Mignoni was serving in the Navy. Carolyn Elizabeth, born on July 11, 1921, lived with her family of 6 brothers and sisters and her parents, James, a Railroad worker & Rose Marino on Dorrance Street. After attending St. Ann Elementary School, Carolyn mastered a two-year business course with a proficiency in typing and shorthand, and then started her working career at J.G. McCrory's five & dime store on Mill Street. [aside.- John Graham McCrorey was born with the last name "McCrorey" and legally changed his name, dropping the e, to save money by not paying the cost of the extra letter in store signs.] When Fleetwings built a new factory in 1941 on Green Lane at the Keystone / Kaiser / 3M Airport, Carolyn started a new career as a typist/ secretary to the purchasing agent of wartime aircraft parts and fervently worked her way up to an administrative position, having a secretary of her own! Miss Marino met Carmen Mignoni at a family wedding officiated by her Priest-Uncle and they continued their “writing “ courtship during Lt. Mignoni’s Naval assignments. Carmen, a Millersville University graduate, was commended for Excellent Service aboard the S.S. Hoggett Bay and the picture is prominently shown in Mignoni’s store. They were married in 1943 and while Carolyn waited for Carmen to complete his Navy tour, she lived with her in-laws, owners of The Bristol House [now Stock's Waterfront Restaurant].
During his teen years, Carmen worked in his family’s restaurant, trained to be a chef, and apprenticed in Atlantic City. Per the Mignoni family, Mr. Mignoni had the astounding ability of being able “to create something from practically nothing”, designing and selling his crafted jewelry, his notoriety mainly being “word of mouth”. They opened their small store at 200 Mill Street, with big dreams, while Carmen was still teaching Math and Industrial Arts at the Bristol H.S. With his charismatic personality, he connected easily with fellow jewelry tradesmen, honing his innate skills, while attending watch –making and engraving schools and the Gemological Institute of America in NYC. The Mignonis raised their 6 children at the same time as growing and maintaining their truly amazing jewelry business and acquiring The Tinker’s Cart, a neighboring store with a fine array of Gaelic custom merchandise. Mignoni’s extended store has an incredible selection of Irish gifts, including Saint Brigid’s crosses crafted by Naomh Padraig, and Claddagh rings, Ireland’s most romantic and enduring Celtic jewelry tradition.
Most of the family, still Bristol Borough residents, all very talented with educational and musical backgrounds, work in the family- run, full service jewelry and gift store business. Carol, a member of BCCC Board of Trustees and Board of Directors Ex-Officio and her late husband [William] Paul Ferguson, who has been fondly remembered for being most generous with his time and dubbed “Citizen of the World”, have traveled to Russia, China and Ireland to secure products and ideas. Discovered on one of their last UK jaunts, the store proudly displays the hand-made popular deep cobalt blue Bristol Blue Glass. Ann, who has taught in the Bristol Borough Elementary Schools and her husband, John V. Mundy, Principal of St. Joseph the Worker School and founder/coordinator of the Mill Street Run and their daughter, Christine Leffler make yearly trips to Ireland for the International shows. One of their purchases are Hanna Hats of Donegal, which are uniquely cut to patterns assembled by hand using the finest Donegal tweed (pure new wool) woven exclusively for Hanna Hats. Multi-talented in design, watch repair and engraving, Rosemarie Szczucki, a Valley Elementary School teacher in the Bensalem district, and her husband Charles [Chet] researched and acquired Baltic Amber from Poland, which was originally collected from the beaches of the Baltic as it floated ashore. Now commercial supplies of amber are also dredged from deposits in the forests bordering the Baltic. Janet, [husband Dr. Vincent LaRosa] works in administration in the Lower Bucks Hospital; Marylin Tierney is a Chicago, IL teacher; and son, Samuel Mignoni, a Boston University grad, is Director of Nursing Education in Michigan.
Céad Míle Fàilte! [Irish Gaelic A Hundred Thousand Welcomes] Come visit Mignoni Jewelry and Gifts and you visit the family and their friends and their family! Pictures of up to and including the 4th generation of customers, some wearing their specially designed Mignoni jewelry, grace the mantle. Celebration occasion pictures, such as Matriarch Mignoni’s 84th Birthday Family Cruise, adorn the walls. Certificates of Achievement boast accomplishments proven consistently by the family’s artistic designs. They are the original Hummel distributor. The neat as a pin cases display Belleek china, watches and clocks, Galway crystal, gold chains and cameos from Italy, but the “PEARLS of wisdom” which come from speaking with this remarkable family are what make your visit such a heart-warming experience. The Mignoni extended Clan still creates time together to share Sunday “spaghetti and gravy” because the Mignonis are taught to know that family and relationships are what is important.
Store hours are Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday 10:45 a.m.- 5:30 p.m., Thursday 10:45 a.m.- 7:00 p.m., Friday 10:45 a.m.- 8:00 p.m., Saturday 10:45 a.m.- 5:00 p.m.
Closed Sundays [Open Sundays in December and for Bristol Borough events].
All major credit cards are accepted. Beautiful gift-wrapping. Will ship or deliver!
Call 215.788.3243. Come in and share a cup of freshly brewed Irish Tea!
We’ll keep the light on for you!
Carolyn E. Mignoni
Bucks County Courier Times
Bristol Boro Resident
Carolyn E. Mignoni (nee Marino), age 86, daughter of the late James and Rose (nee Cuccarese) Marino, of Bristol Boro, passed away on Thursday, September 27, 2007, surrounded by her loving family.
Born and raised in Bristol, she was a graduate of St. Ann School and graduated Valedictorian of St. Ann Business School. She was also a recipient of the American Legion Award and the Grundy Medal, both for Outstanding Academic Achievement. She, along with her late husband Carmen, founded and operated Mignoni Jewelry on Mill Street in Bristol Boro. The jewelry store was founded in 1947, and continues today to be a cornerstone of the Mill Street Business District. She had the distinction of being quoted in "The National Jeweler" concerning her opinion on jewelry trends and the intricacies of the day-to-day operation of an independent retailer. In 1992, she was named to the Who's Who of American Business Women.
Carolyn had a genuine interest in people and the gift of making everyone feel special. The hospitality of her home was boundless, as was the size of her heart. She loved Bristol Boro, its heritage and the character of her people. She was a devout Roman Catholic who was tireless in the practice of its faith and its teachings as it affected everyone around her.
Jeweler strikes gold with tin roof
By: ELIZABETH FISHER Bucks County Courier Times
Old buildings have "many ceilings and many floors," a local jeweler said, but peeling them away brings its own surprises.
You'd expect to find silver and gold and a sprinkle of sparkles in a jewelry store, but at Mignoni's Jewelers on Mill Street in Bristol, one of the best gems has been hidden for decades: an original tin ceiling, dating back to the dawn of the last century.
The big "find" occurred during renovations to the store that began a year ago. When a drop ceiling was peeled away, the patterned tin overhead, which probably was installed between 1902 and 1910, was revealed, said contractor Scott DeMarchis, who's been doing the work at Mignoni's with his father, Chet.
The discovery started a lengthy debate on whether small areas of damaged tin could be easily replaced and, more importantly, who could replicate the design to match the existing panels, Chet said.
"It's was a beautiful old ceiling and you wouldn't really want to cover it up again," he said.
The debate and the research were on. Scott, the computer "guru" of the firm as his father admits, began sifting through tin-ceiling manufacturers online. It was work, but he eventually struck gold in Ontario, Canada, where Brian Greer has operated a tin-ceiling business for 40 years.
"Brian was great. He spent the best part of a Sunday morning talking on the phone," Scott said. "He was very helpful."
A short time later, the DeMarchises received samples of tin panels from Greer that the duo decided were "close enough" to the original pattern.
Father and son were no strangers to installing tin ceilings, or to repairing them, because many of the old houses in Bristol have them. But patching those ceilings with the new panels is delicate work, Chet said.
"The tin is razor sharp and this ceiling has some bumps in it because of age," he said. "Repair work is very different from installation."
Tin ceilings were the rage in the 1800s, but over the years were removed from many structures in favor of plaster or, later, dry wall. But timing's the thing, and the Mignoni family discovered their treasure at a time when overhead tin is again the rage of interior designers.
Carol Mignoni Ferguson said that after much discussion, the decision was made to keep the ceiling.
"We never saw that in our lifetime," said Mignoni Ferguson, who, with her four sisters and one brother, grew up in the jewelry store at 200 Mill St., which was opened by their parents, Carmen and Carolyn Mignoni, in 1947.
The drop ceiling probably was installed about that time, Mignoni Ferguson said.
Carmen Mignoni, who was a jewelry maker and a teacher in the Bristol Borough School District, died about 15 years ago, and Carolyn died last year. The children continue to run the store.
The building that houses the store dates back to 1781. The Mignoni family tailored the renovations to a "period" look to preserve its historical ambience. That's where Jesse Graves, owner of JessGravesDesigns, comes in.
Graves happened to go into the store about a year ago. She noticed the contractors and asked about the ongoing work. The designer in her surfaced and she began offering suggestions. Soon she became immersed in cabinet making, display-case installation and lighting design.
She added a display case near the back of the store to show off the dozens of Byers Choice figures dressed in historical, cultural or ethnic costumes. She opened what was once a storage closet and added shelves for display.
The new lighting in the store - a combination of chandeliers and pendant lights with crinkled halogen bulbs - adds a soft glow to the merchandise "and gives it a pristine, elegant look," Graves said.
One of Graves' favorite finds was when some soffits were removed with an eye toward adding molding to replace pegboard panels. That's when she discovered the finishing touches to the tin with an old-fashioned egg-and-arrow design.
That trim, like the ceiling it borders, will remain, she said.
The work has been intense, but it's also fun, Mignoni Ferguson said. The store remains open while the work continues and customers have added their two cents in the form of suggestions.
"Some said to leave the ceiling open. Others said cover it," she said. "We've gotten a kick out of that."
March 11, 2009
Four educators to share 'Person of the Year' award at second annual Bristol Fall Classic
Friday, July 20, 2012
BRISTOL --- Coming on the heels of last year’s event honoring Jeff Manto as Person of the Year, this year’s Bristol Fall Classic is scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 17 at Bernard Mazzocchi’s Canal Works Building located at the corner of Canal and Beaver streets.
The Bristol Fall Classic supports free, after-school educational enrichment for Bristol Borough youth in grades 1 through 12. Preliminary data for 2011-12 show 244 students were served, with daily attendance averaging 42 students, in programs at St. James Parish House and Snyder-Girotti Elementary School. Thirty-four percent (34 percent) of students attending regularly showed improvement in Math PSSA scores, while 25 percent showed improvement in Reading PSSA scores.
This year’s event will focus and highlight the role of Bristol Borough educators and their impact on the lives of Bristol Borough’s youth. Four educators have been selected to share the Bristol Fall Classic’s Person of the Year Award. Each educator was selected for their significant contributions in the classroom at Bristol Borough’s public and parochial schools.
Ken Bachman, the former Band Director at Bristol High School, from 1952 to 1984, established a marching band recognized beyond Bucks County and was a model of success for other marching bands in the region. In addition to nurturing the marching band during his 32 year affiliation with the Bristol Borough School District, Bachman managed the overall musical instrumentation program including the Stage Band, Orchestra and taught many students instrumental music at every grade-level. Some have said that elements of the award winning movie “Mr. Holland’s Opus” were, perhaps, borrowed from Mr. Bachman’s life story and dedication to music and children of the Bristol Borough School District.
Joseph Franceschini, a well-known and highly regarded high school English teacher at both Bristol High School and Conwell Egan Catholic, introduced thousands of students to both American and British literature, drama and poetry. Franceschini regularly performed from several of Shakespeare’s famous soliloquy’s for his students, most notably, Ophelia’s death in Hamlet.
Most of Franceschini’s students were well prepared for college --- after enduring the discipline and rigors of his classroom curriculum --- some even able to successfully test out of mandatory freshman English courses at some of the nation’s elite four year universities.
Carol Mignoni-Ferguson’s teaching career spans 25 years
with the Bristol Borough School District
where she taught kindergarten at the former
Warren Snyder Elementary School.
Mignoni-Ferguson nurtured her students ---
planting the seeds for lifelong learning ---
using techniques such as playing, singing,
activities and social interaction
to establish a fundamental framework
for continued learning in the years’ ahead.
Her efforts in the classroom resulted in
receiving the honor of Teacher of the Year.
Since retiring from education, Mignoni-Ferguson
has remained active in the community
serving on several boards including
the Bristol Borough Rotary Club,
Bucks County Community College Trustees
and the Bristol Riverside Theatre.
Along with her sisters,
Mignoni-Ferguson is the proprietor of Mignoni Jewelers on Mill Street in Bristol Borough.
Karen Fannin Pezza began her career in education at the Council Rock School District. Bristol Borough was fortunate when Pezza decided to pursue her passion closer to home becoming a substitute teacher at the Bristol Borough School District in order to be more readily available to her three young children. When her children were older she returned to teaching on a full time basis joining the professional staff at St. Mark Parochial School to begin a 31 year relationship at her beloved parish school.
During her tenure at St. Mark School, Pezza established the kindergarten program, taught third and fourth grades and severed as principal for six years. Pezza’s legacy remains strong at St. Mark School today as a result of the many programs she established including the Reading Olympics and active participation in several community events such as the Historic Bristol Day and the annual Christmas Parade.
Tickets for the Bristol Fall Classic are $50.00 per person and are expected to sell fast. To purchase tickets, learn about sponsorship opportunities or obtain more information about this year’s event, call Mary Gesualdi at 215-788-0915.
Ann, Carolyn, Carol, Rosemarie
Italian sisters display their Irish side
By: GEMA MARIA DUARTE
Bucks County Courier Times
March 11, 2010
Italians as grand marshals for the Buck County
St. Patrick's Day Parade?
The Mignoni sisters, owners of Mignoni Jewelry
in Bristol, will be the grand marshals
at Saturday's parade, which starts at 10:30 a.m.,
at St. Joseph the Worker Church,
9610 New Falls Road in Falls.
The sisters - Carol Mignoni Ferguson,
Rosemarie Mignoni Szczucki -
were selected as marshals
of the 22nd Irish parade for their dedication and
commitment to the Irish culture and arts.
"Yes, we have an Italian name with an Irish store,"
Mundy said laughing.
"We're honored," Ferguson said Wednesday afternoon about being grand marshals. "We've always wanted to support the Irish causes."
Ferguson and Mundy married men of Irish decent, so the Irish culture has been a big part of their lives, they said.
Mundy has been to Ireland 20 times, she said.
"We love Ireland, the people," Mundy said. "It's been a big part of my married life. We used to go to my husband's mother's house on St. Patrick's Day for a big dinner. It's a big family day. We would go to church. It's a special day."
In recent years, on St. Patrick's Day, the sisters drink tea and eat scones at their Mill Street store in Bristol, where there's also Irish singing. Then, at 7 p.m., they head over to St. Mark's Church on Radcliffe Street for Mass.
Throughout the years, they have been strong supporters of the Irish community in Bucks County such as the Ancient Order of Hibernians, the Ladies Ancient Order of Hibernians and the Celtic Heritage Foundation.
Besides two of their spouses, what's the Mignoni family connection to Ireland, other than the similar flag colors of Ireland and Italy and that both countries start with an "I"?
Their father, Carmen, opened the jewelry store in February 1947 with his wife, Carolyn. Carmen was fascinated by Celtic symbols so he started an Irish jewelry line. At the store, the sisters keep a Claddagh ring, one of the original pieces made by their father about 35 years ago. Holding the gold ring, Ferguson said their father liked the ring's symbols of friendship, love and loyalty.
"He loved the Celtic symbols even though he was Italian," Ferguson said.
About 16 years ago, the Mignoni family expanded their Irish line beyond jewelry with the purchase of an Irish store owned by the Roche family, which was across the street from their store. Instead of running two stores, they expanded their jewelry store and made an Irish gift section that they refer to as "A little bit of Ireland."
Throughout the store there are Irish dolls, glass, clothes, tea sets, frames and harps.
"The harp is Ireland's national symbol, not the shamrock," Mundy said. "They use it on their money. The shamrock is also a big symbol, though."
Ferguson and Mundy are retired teachers, but even during their teaching years they would help their parents at the store after school and on weekends. Szczucki still teaches and continues to help at the store.
The Mignoni sisters were three of six children who grew up in an apartment in back of the jewelry store.
Two have moved from Pennsylvania and the rest are local.
They have many happy memories in the store, they said.
"That was our front door," Szczucki said pointing to the store's front door. "Our mother was always home. This was our playground."
The three sisters are excited about Saturday, but are bummed about the rainy weather predictions.
"It's OK, we'll feel like we're in Ireland," Ferguson said. "It will be bit of mist like they say."
the "Way We Were" ............
Ann Mignoni Mundy
Born: October 20, 1945 / Died: November 24, 2014
Ann L. Mundy, age 69, of Bristol, PA, passed away suddenly on Monday, November 24, 2014 at Lower Bucks Hospital.
Ann was known to all as a kind and gentle soul who loved people and was always ready to listen to their thoughts and comments. She was a devoted wife, mother, grandmother, sister, and aunt. She loved her family dearly, especially her granddaughter Rachel Ann. She was faithful to her Catholic beliefs and to St. Ann Church. She was very involved with her family operating Mignoni Jewelry and Irish Gifts on Mill Street in Bristol and loved her many trips to Ireland.
Born and raised in Bristol Borough, she was a graduate of Bristol High School and Millersville University and was a retired teacher who taught at several parochial schools, including the former St. Ann School in Bristol Borough. She was an accomplished jeweler, with a certificate from the Gemological Institute of America. She had a great interest in history and politics, was a former committee woman for the Bristol Township Democratic Party, and was a member of the Ladies Auxiliary of the Bristol Ancient Order of the Hibernians.
She was predeceased by her parents Carmen and Carolyn (nee: Marino) Mignoni; and her brother-in-law Paul Ferguson. She will be greatly missed by her husband, of 45 years, John Mundy; her daughter Christine Leffler and her husband Steven, and their daughter Rachel Ann. She will also be missed by her siblings Carol Mignoni Ferguson, Janet LaRosa and her husband Dr. Vincent LaRosa, and Rosemarie Szczucki and her husband Chester all of Bristol, Samuel Mignoni and his wife Heather of Holland, Michigan, and Marylin Tierney and her husband Greg of Middletown, DE; and her loving nieces and nephews Julie (Dermot), Amie, Eileen (Nacho), Casey, John, Sam, Peter, James, and Kevin; and several great nieces and nephews; her aunts Betty O’Brien and Rose Kirk (Pat), and Roberta Marino; her in-laws Hugh and Barbara Mundy and their children Patrick (Candy) and Sean and many cousins.
Relatives and friends may call Friday, 6pm-9pm, and Saturday, 9am, at St. Ann Church, 357 Dorrance St., Bristol, PA, where a funeral Mass will begin at 11am. Interment will follow in St. Mark Cemetery.
The family requests memorial contributions be made in her memory to: St. Mark School computer program, 1024 Radcliffe St., Bristol, PA 19007 or Holy Family Regional Catholic School, 2477 Trenton Rd., Levittown, PA 19057.
Kenneth F. 'Mr. B' Bachman Sr. of Bristol Borough passed away
Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2015 at Lower Bucks Hospital. He was 89.
Ken was born Dec. 6, 1925 in Northampton, Pa. He was raised by the late
Eva and Frank Bartholomew of Quakertown.
Ken was the beloved husband and best friend of Ruth Bachman,
with whom he shared 68 years of marriage.
Ken was preceded in death by his son, Kenneth F. Bachman Jr.
He is survived by his daughters, Karen McIlvaine and her husband, Ed,
and Barbara Knight and her husband, Paul; grandchildren,
Michael McIlvaine and his wife, Melanie, Patricia Everhart and her husband, Jake,
Julie Knight, and Kenneth Knight and his wife, Andrea.
Kenneth had four great-grandchildren, Kasey McIlvaine, Heath Everhart,
Madelynn Knight and Carson Knight.
Ken was a graduate of Quakertown High School. He received his Bachelor of Science and Master of Arts degrees from New York University School of Music. He continued taking college courses at Trenton State College, ending his teaching career with a Masters plus 30.
Ken was a World War II veteran of the U.S. Navy in the Pacific, serving as the radar man on the USS Salem. Upon graduating from NYU, he became the instrumental teacher for three high schools and three elementary schools in Allegany County, Maryland.
Ken and Ruth then moved to Bristol, Pa., where he was the instrumental music teacher with the Bristol Borough School District for 32 years. His students lovingly call him 'Mr. B'. He was a member of the Bucks County Music Educators Association, serving as treasurer and president. He was also the treasurer of the Pennsylvania State Music Educators Association.
Ken was the choir director at Harriman United Methodist Church in Bristol for 45 years and a member of the Masonic Lodge in Quakertown.
Ken enjoyed keeping in touch with his students. He was especially proud of the Alumni band that marched many years in the Bristol Christmas Parade.
Family and friends are welcome to join in celebrating Ken's life at a viewing that will be held from 6 to 9 p.m., Friday, Oct. 23, at the Molden Funeral Chapel, 133 Otter Street, Bristol. Funeral services will be held at 10 a.m., Saturday, Oct. 24, at Harriman United Methodist Church, Wilson Avenue, Bristol. Interment will be in Union Cemetery, Quakertown, Pa.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be sent to the Wounded Warrior Project.
To sign the online guestbook or send a fond memory of Kenneth, please visit the funeral home's web site listed below.Molden Funeral Chapel, Bristol