PASR renews, recognizes during spring dinner

BROCKWAY — Renewal and recognition were the underlying themes of the spring banquet of the Jefferson County chapter of the Pennsylvania Association of School Retirees (PASR). Members gathered at the St. Tobias Church hall in Brockway May 23 as part of the ongoing commemoration of PASR’s 75th anniversary.

Special guest, Judith Ann Yorks from McKean County, represented the state organization for the renewal of the chapter charter. In her remarks, Yorks noted that “PASR was formed by six retired educators from southeast Pennsylvania on December 28, 1937. Two years later, on Dec. 6, 1939, the first local chapter organization was formed in Blair County, Pennsylvania. School retirees continued to organize local entities across the state for decades to follow. In 1964, PASR began to formally recognize these local entities with the provision of charters, extending to them the tax exempt status and privileges afforded… by the IRS. Philadelphia was the first chapter to be officially granted a charter, on June 19, 1964. All told, PASR chartered 80 local chapters in its history, 75 of which thrive today. The Diamond State Chapter, located in the state of Delaware, is the most recent chapter and was issued a charter on May 14, 2009....”

The Jefferson County chapter became chapter No. 31 when the PASR Board of Directors approved its charter application May 28, 1965. Its official name when it was chartered was “Jefferson County Retired School Employees’ Association.” The local chapter was organized Sept. 28, 1964, when a constitution was adopted. There were 45 members at that time with the elected officers of: President Ross W. Clawges (Sykesville), vice-president Miss Miriam Thompson (Punxsutawney), secretary Mrs. Clyde (Meta) Burkhouse; and treasurer Clyde Burkhouse (Reynoldsville). There were two meetings held annually.

When PASR was first organized, it was called the Pennsylvania Retired Public School Employees Association (PRPSEA). The name was changed several times during the ensuing 75 years. In 1984, the organization officially became known as the Pennsylvania Association of School Retirees (PASR).

Another highlight of this year’s spring meeting was the selection of the winners of the scholarship and the Education Support grant which the chapter presented in May.

Betty Elza, chapter chairperson of the Educational Support Committee, announced that Kristin Jo Harriger of Brookville received the $500 award, which PASR presented as part of its 75th anniversary celebration. She will use the scholarship to pursue a degree in nursing from Mount Alyosius College.

Harriger’s entry was deemed best among the 17 applications from students in Brockway, Brookville and Punxsutawney.

Dr. James M. Brown of Jeff Tech received a $250 grant from the chapter for his application to enrich the lives of the honors students in his school by a hands-on visit to the county commissioners’ meeting and the offices of the Jefferson County court house.

President Gordon Stuby opened the meeting with greetings, followed by the pledge of allegiance and a moment of silent tribute for Ursula Albino, one of the hardest working members in the chapter.

Tom Curry spoke on behalf of William Gilbert to stress the importance of the Community Service surveys. Other reports were offered by Angela Gigliotti (secretary); Jeanne Burkett (treasurer); Francis Burkett (membership chairman); D.J. Bianco (scholarship selection committee); and Charlotte S. Fye (SSMHF and the Spring is Caring project). 

Joellyn ElMasry, Nancy Huffman and James Grant were in charge of the arrangements and decorations for the luncheon. Shannon Shaffer’s Catering provided the meal which included a special anniversary cake with the PASR logo on the top. 

Upcoming events include a “Swing into Summer” Breakfast Buffet to honor new retirees June 21. Those planning to attend must notify Bob Barone at 938-4837 by June 13. 

The PASR State Convention will take place in Erie from Oct. 7-10.  The chapter’s next meeting will be the fall luncheon Oct. 24 at which time the winners of the Lauretta Woodson Award and the Community Volunteer of the Year will be honored. The annual memorial service will conclude the fall meeting.