The LuLac Edition #3360, November 27th, 2016
As you all know LuLac published a list of significant deaths every December in our “Moving On” editions at the end of the year. But two recent passages recently stood out for us locally and deserve our attention.
Once we all got older and the generation of bakers passed away, we missed those pasta filled delicacies. But when we all started yearning for a taste of those foods of days gone by, we found a suitable alternative.
That alternative was Mrs. T’s Pierogies.
Now for the purist they weren’t the real thing but for me they did the trick. My go to when Mrs. LuLac was out of town were the Sauerkraut filled pierogies. I’d par boil them, then put them in the broiler. After getting scorched on the top, I’d drench a Cooper Cheese Sauce on top of them and have at it. In my younger days there were the Jalapeno filled piergoies that I just boiled and ate with some Pace Salsa.
Mrs. T’s provided the next best thing to the original and was the brainchild of the late Ted Twarddzik. It was my good fortune to have some interactions with Ted’s relatives through the years and I am grateful for that. Because of that, I knew a little bit about Uncle Ted but today I’d like to share the rest of that story with you via his obituary.
Born Sept. 7, 1927, to parents, Frank and Mary Binek Twardzik of Shenandoah, Ted was the youngest of six children.
He was preceded in death by two sisters, Frances Gish and Eleanor Zale, and three brothers, John, Walter and Lou.
After spending a majority of his first 77 years in good old Shenandoah, he traded the coal dust for the soft sand beaches of Siesta Key.
He strolled the beach for much of the past 22 years but continued to "vacation" in Shenandoah, to visit family and friends.
Because a mine subsidence caused Shenandoah schools to split half day sessions, Ted became a proud "Purple Lark" of Mahanoy Township High School, where he graduated in 1945.
In 2015, Ted was awarded an honorary diploma from Shenandoah Valley High School joining his childhood friend, Jerry Wolman, in sharing such an honor. A year later, Ted was inducted into the Shenandoah Valley High School Wall of Fame joining his son, Tim, the only father and son team to share that honor.
After graduation from high school, Ted enrolled at the University of Notre Dame, South Bend, Ind. His college days were interrupted to serve honorably in the Army from March of 1946 to September 1947, where he rose to the rank of Staff Sergeant in the 83rd Mechanized Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadron. Upon completing his commitment to proudly serve his country, Ted resumed college at the University of Notre Dame, graduating in 1951 with a bachelor's degree in accounting, while making the dean's list. Ted was active in the Notre Dame Glee Club, where he served as the group's treasurer. He was also part of the Glee Club's two appearances on CBS-TV's Sunday night "Toast of the Town" hosted by Ed Sullivan.
After college, Ted's first job was as a staff accountant for Arthur Andersen & Company, New York City, one of the prestigious "Big Eight" accounting firms of its time.
In 1952, Ted decided to return home to Shenandoah to pursue his entrepreneurial dream to start a food company using his mother Mary's recipe for pierogies. He remembered how popular the traditional Polish dumplings were at Church Festivals and thought people would buy them at a grocery market. To honor his mother, the brand became Mrs. T's.
Ted started with five women around the kitchen table in his mother's home at 218 N. Main St., Shenandoah. It wasn't long before he had worn out his welcome in his mom's kitchen and decided to move production to Mrs. T's current location at 600 E. Centre St., Shenandoah. This was a homecoming for Ted as this location was his childhood home and his parent's tavern.
Today, Mrs.T's /Ateeco Inc. is Shenandoah's largest employer with more than 240 associates. Ted is considered a pioneer in the food industry creating the completely new frozen food category: "pierogies." While Ted cannot claim to have put Shenandoah on the map, he did add pierogies to the Merriam Webster Dictionary. He took great pride and immense joy from the impact his idea had on providing jobs and income to hundreds of employees and their families. Ted never forgot his hometown of Shenandoah and the people who helped him realize his dream. Even after retirement, Ted's love for business didn't end. In 2000, he co-founded Lee's Oriental Gourmet Foods still operating today in Shenandoah, employing 30 people.
Ted and his beloved wife, Jean, supported a multitude of local and national charities. They were members of the Edward Frederick Sorin Society Founder's Circle at Notre Dame and created the Twardzik Family General Library Endowment as well as supported a Distinguished Library Collection in Polish Studies.
As life members of the Hillsdale College President's Club they created the Twardzik Free Enterprise and Entrepreneurship Endowment which funds both the Twardzik Business Seminar Scholarship and the Twardzik Free Enterprise Tradition Award Scholarship.
Ted and Jean also supported The Shenandoah Valley Band, funded computer labs at the Father Walter Ciszek Elementary School and Cardinal Brennan High School as well as capital campaigns for MMI Preparatory School. They were the lead gift creating the Schuylkill County Volunteer Fire School Burn Building and Fire School Campus that provides lifesaving training for our communities brave volunteer fire fighters. Ted was a longtime Pace Setter of the Schuylkill United Way, continuing his father Frank's charter efforts with the Schuylkill County Society for Crippled Children.
Ted and Jean were humbled by the efforts and loyalty of his employees and the hometown community that played an important role in Mrs.T's success story. They donated the building on South Main Street in Shenandoah to house the Greater Shenandoah Area Historical Society.
Ted is survived by his beloved wife of 60 wonderful years, the former Jean Roberts; three sons, Ted Jr. and Audrey, Center Valley, Tim and Caroline, Frackville, and Tom and Pam, Shenandoah Heights; five grandsons, Adam, Eric, Ryan, Tom Jr. and Nick; loved nieces and nephews.
A lifelong learner, Ted enjoyed the advice of Earl Nightingale, the father of the self-improvement industry. Earl's distinctive voice was heard on records, tapes, and iPods encouraging Ted to "improve just a little bit everyday" - a motto Ted carried out throughout his life.
"Success is the progressive realization of a worthy goal or idea," Earl Nightingale.
Ted Twardzik Sr. was a successful man.
"Tiger" Ted often liked to say, "God takes care of drunks, children and Teddy Twardzik."
A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated at 10 a.m. Monday in St. Casimir Church, the scared worship site of Divine Mercy Parish, 229 N. Jardin St., Shenandoah. Interment with military honors followed in St. Casimir Cemetery, Shenandoah Heights.
Gene played four seasons for the Boston Celtics of the National Basketball Association (NBA).
He attended Holy Rosary High School. Guarilia played freshman basketball for Potomac State College, a junior college in Keyser, West Virginia. He established a State Conference freshman record by scoring 595 points in 1953.
A 6'5" (1.96 m) forward Guarilia played for the George Washington University varsity basketball team beginning in the 1956-1957 season. He took the place of All-America Joe Holup who went on to play for the Syracuse Nationals. In February 1957 he was averaging 17.1 points per game and was #6 in the NCAAin rebounding. In the twenty games he had played, Guarilia had snatched 353 rebounds. He was selected to the all Southern Conference basketball team in February 1958.
Guarilia was selected by the Boston Celtics in the second round of the 1959 NBA Draft. Guarilia appeared in 129 games for the Celtics over four seasons (1959–1963), averaging 3.2 points and 2.3 rebounds per game. He earned four NBA championship rings in his brief career. Here's more about Gene from his obituary.
Born in Duryea, he was the son of the late Michael Guarilia and Helen Kashuda Guarilia Collura. He was a graduate of Duryea High School, Potomac State College, West Virginia, and George Washington University, Washington, D.C.
Eugene played professional basketball, No. 20 for the Boston Celtics, from 1959 to 1963 and won four world championships during this time.
Prior to his retirement, he was employed by the Pittston Area School District as a teacher.
He was a member of Nativity of Our Lord Parish, Duryea.
He was a loving husband, father, grandfather, friend, teacher, coach and musician. For many years he was a bass player in the Heartbeats, Sidestreet and the Cadillacs.
He was preceded in death by his two brothers, Gerald and Joseph.
He and his wife, the former Elizabeth Knowles, celebrated their 56th wedding anniversary this past Dec. 31.
Surviving in addition to his wife are his son, Michael; son, David and his wife, Charlene; daughter, Marlene; grandchildren, Bethany, Andrew and Megan; and aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces and nephews.
A Mass of Christian Burial was held at noon Wednesday in Holy Rosary Church, 127 Stephenson St., Duryea. Family and friends are asked to go directly to the church the morning of the funeral.
Interment was at St. Joseph's Cemetery, Duryea.
Let’s face it, LuLac land and Northeastern Pennsylvania has always had a bit of an inferiority complex. But these two cases of grit and determination are examples of future generation that success can be had if you work for it.