Tree Lighting and Town Brightening
by Cate Murway
It takes a Borough………
Historic Bristol on the Delaware rings in the holiday season each year with a weekend of old-fashioned family fun including the traditional tree lighting ceremony with complimentary light refreshments and a sing along medley of familiar carols. The well-attended parade enchants the spectators with amazing floats, local celebrities, live performances, marching bands, and of course, Santa and the Mrs.
After the festivities, the 32 foot lit and decorated tree now commands the corner of Mill and Radcliffe Streets at the entrance to the Bristol Wharf.
While the tree donors, the Kehoe sisters, Joanne Marie “Jodi” and Mary Alice were enjoying their King George pub food of cod fish and chips, they gazed at the tree and “didn’t remember it being that big”.
In 1974 when they purchased their Taft Street home, the tree was a tiny, balled Christmas tree growing flat against the house. It soon grew too close to their home and a friend, Bud Nelson transplanted the tree onto the mounded berm and the “flat side” soon filled out beautifully.
The last wicked storm made them just a tad nervous when they began to think their cherished tree looked crooked. The tree was strong and had no problem with wind or tipping over, it just looked so crooked. The powerful roots were forcing it askew. Mary and Jodi decided to donate the 18’ wide spruce tree to the Borough.
The towering tree was cut by Jim’s Tree Service in Croydon and made its way through the town with a police escort, courtesy of the JMW Equipment Company crane.
The trunk was so thick it needed to be shaved almost in half to fit in the manhole.
Mr. and Mrs. James Lewis “Jim” and Dawn Rogers have been donating their Jim’s Tree Service equipment and labor time to the Borough for the last 3 years.
The first tree they transported, a fir tree, was cut down at no charge for their customer who agreed to donate it for the annual tree lighting.
Oftentimes, it is the busiest people who are the most willing to volunteer their services.
Jodi and Mary Kehoe are very active in Bristol and are truly thrilled to have donated their tree. They were very honored and proud to see families and couples standing in front of the perfectly decorated tree to take pictures. Their sister, Laura Sawyer and her children and grandchildren had also attended the lighting ceremony.
Mary is retired from Rohm & Haas, the multi-national chemicals manufacturing company where she worked in the contract department in the engineering division, and Jodi is retired from PNB on Radcliffe Street. Laura worked at the Bell Telephone Company when it was located on Mill Street and their late brother Robert was a Vietnam veteran.
Jodi and Mary currently work part time positions together on an assembly line at Northtec LLC, Estee Lauder. Mary is a member of the Board of Directors of the Bristol Cultural Historical Foundation [BCHF] and she maintains her fitness at Transformations on Mill Street as well as Irish dancing in the Ireland Dance troop with another Borough resident and former employee of Rohm & Haas, Dave McGlynn. She was a Bracken Cadet Corps drum majorette and now participates as an Alumnus.
A combined well-orchestrated effort made for an amazingly fun evening!
Last Friday, as the anxious crowd patiently waited for the tree to glisten all aglow, the BHS cheerleaders performed well-synchronized routines, and close to a dozen Interact students distributed the Sing-A-Long songbooks.
The Rotary Interact Service Club president, Emily Allison Crispell, BHS ‘12 coordinated the 10 students who were assigned to circulate among the waiting bystanders as part of their community service project.
Emily is obviously honing her leadership skills. She is also first in her class, President of the Chemistry Club, a member of Mock Trial and she plays the clarinet in the school band. Her future academic goals include the advanced undergraduate 5-year Chemistry masters program at Bryn Mawr.
Her older sister, Christina [Crispell] Torres, BHS ’00 teaches Spanish at Bristol High and they have a younger brother, Joshua Thomas, a seventh grade student at Snyder- Girotti Elementary.
The Bristol Borough Council sponsored the Old Fashioned Christmas Tree Lighting.
Local author, William Michael [Bill] Pezza read the announcements and Borough Council President, Ralph DiGuiseppe made certain that everyone who made this community event so successful was recognized.
Mary Jo and Len Demenczuk, proprietors of the newly reopened King George II Inn had the honor.
The tree shone and the appreciative “awes” resounded.
Happy voices shared in song with the gorgeous background of the view of the Delaware, as everyone waited for St. Nick’s scheduled appearance to chat with the children and distribute the candycanes donated by Richard P. Vallejo, President of The Bristol Borough Business Association and the owner of Another Time Antiques on Mill Street.
Further down on Pond street, this year’s special events included a 60 year wedding anniversary celebration for a beloved town couple, Alan J. and Audrey Vogenberg.
USN Veteran Alan, BSPharm, RPh, FASCP has served both as President of the Pennsylvania Pharmacist Association and the Bucks County Pharmacist Association and is the treasurer and caretaker of the Bristol Jewish Center. His wife, Audrey is a retired Dental assistant. At one time, they owned Alan’s Pharmacy on Bath and Buckley Streets and lived above their shoppe as so many storeowners did.
Alan continues to teach and is currently a docent at the Margaret R. Grundy Memorial Museum.
Silent night? Not so much. Historic Bristol on the Delaware exudes class and character!
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Joanne “Jodi” Kehoe passed away Wednesday, May 2, 2018, at St. Mary Medical Center.
She was 80. Born in Pottsville, Pa., daughter of the late Vincent and Edith Harris Kehoe,
she had been a Bristol resident for the past 64 years. Jodi was a graduate of West Catholic Girls High School in Philadelphia and was employed as a customer service representative for PNB and later Corestates Bank, where she retired after many years of service. After retirement from the bank, she worked at Northtec, Bristol Township. She was a member of St. Mark Church, the BCHF, the Celtic Heritage Foundation and the Friends of the Delaware Canal. Jodi especially enjoyed traveling. She is survived by her two sisters, Mary Kehoe (Dave McGlynn) and Laura Sawyer; her niece, Loretta Sawyer; two nephews, Richard Sawyer and David Sawyer and his wife, Kathleen; five great-nieces and nephews; and longtime friends, Nancy and Bob Doyle. She was preceded in death by her brother, Bob Kehoe, and brother- in-law, Robert Sawyer. Relatives and friends are invited to attend her Memorial Mass at 11 a.m. Tuesday, May 8, at St. Mark’s Church, 1025 Radcliffe Street, Bristol Borough, where friends may call from 9:30 a.m. until the time of the Mass. Inurnment will be held in St. Mark’s Church Columbarium. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Boys Town Nebraska, 14100 Crawford St., Boys Town, NE 68010. Wade Funeral Home, Bristol Borough www.wadefh.com