Rams Hall of Fame grows
By Jeremy Sellew
Published: Saturday, Oct. 29, 2011
The Ringgold Rams Club's fourth annual Hall of Fame banquet will take place Thursday at the high school in Carroll Township.
The eight-member class of 2011 will be inducted at the event, which will feature a 5:30 p.m. reception and a 6 p.m. dinner.
"I think this year's class offers great diversity in terms of what the Ringgold Rams Club is all about," banquet committee member Joe Ravasio said.
"Between academics, athletics, this group really encompasses the philosophy of the club."
Along with Susan Bowers, Laura Magone has co-authored "Monongahela City."
Proceeds from sales of the book benefit the Monongahela Area Historical Society.
Magone has completed two documentaries.
The short documentary, "The Umbrella Man," tells the story of an Italian-American immigrant from Monessen who walked more than 200,000 miles.
Along the way, he composed poetry and repaired umbrellas for people across western Pennsylvania.
Proceeds from sales of "The Umbrella Man" benefit the Monessen Historical Society.
Magone's feature-length documentary, "One Extraordinary Street," features Hall-of-Fame quarterback Joe Montana; U.S. Army Chief of Staff Gen. Carl Vuono; Jim Jimirro, founder of The Disney Channel; Deirdre Bair, a Ringgold Rams Club Hall of Fame member and a biographer; and Fred Cox, the all-time leading scorer for the Minnesota Vikings and inventor of the Nerf football.
Magone, a 1978 Ringgold High School graduate, is a Pittsburgh-based organizational development consultant.
Paul Zolak is a Donora native who lives in Belle Vernon.
A 1965 Donora High School graduate, Zolak was a standout baseball and football player.
A tight end, punter and placekicker in high school, Zolak continued his career at California University of Pennsylvania.
Zolak received a master's degree in curriculum and instruction from West Virginia University and became the first athletic director in 1979 when the combined Ringgold High School opened.
Zolak oversaw Ringgold becoming the first school in the region to install artificial turf, the Rams' Class AAAA Division 2 championship, and the 1995 PIAA basketball championship.
In 1995, Zolak received the Dick Kohl Tri-County Memorial Award.
Zolak left Ringgold in 1997 to become athletic director at Bethel Park High School.
He served on the WPIAL basketball, football and softball committees. A member of the WPIAL Board of Control, he served a two-year term as the athletic directors' representative, followed by a two-year term as president of the WPIAL Athletic Directors Association.
In 2004, he received the State Athletic Directors Association Distinguished Service Award. The following year he received the Michael Duda Award for Athletic Achievement from Cal U.
A 1995 Ringgold High School graduate, Ashley Totedo averaged 19.5 points and 13.8 rebounds per game during her senior year.
She continued to play basketball at Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania while pursuing her bachelor's and master's degrees.
At Shippensburg, she was a three-time, first team All-American. She was the first NCAA Division II player to achieve 2,000 points, 1,400 rebounds and 300 blocked shots.
During her career, Shippensburg won two Division II East Regional titles.
During her freshman year, Shippensburg lost to North Dakota State in the national championship game.
After receiving her law degree from Duquesne University, Totedo served as a clerk for Judge John Zottola in the Allegheny County Common Pleas Court.
Following graduation, she was hired by the law firm Burns, White, and Hickton.
Deirdre Bair, who once lived on Park Avenue in Monongahela, is a noted nonfiction author.
Her book, "Samuel Beckett: A Biography," received the National Book Award.
Her latest book, "Calling it Quits," an examination of late-life divorce and the process of starting over, has been profiled on a number of national broadcasts.
Her biographies of Anais Nin and Simone de Beauvoir have been chosen as Best Books of the Year by The New York Times.
A former professor of comparative literature, she writes and lectures internationally. Most of her time is divided between New York and Connecticut.
Paul Spencer Adkins
Tenor Paul Spencer Adkins' career takes him around the world.
A winner in the initial Luciano Pavarotti International Voice Competition, Adkins has performed with such opera companies as the Pittsburgh Opera; Boston Lyric Opera; Chicago Opera Theatre; and Sarah Caldwell's Opera Company of Boston.
A 1969 Monongahela High School graduate, Adkins' television credits include the PBS broadcast of "The Musical Legacy of Roland Hayes," in which he was the featured solo artist and co-producer.
He appeared in "A Star for Kitty," a children's opera for "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood."
An adjunct assistant professor at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, Adkins was the first vocal director for Peter Nero and the Philly Pops Voices of the Pops.
James B. Renacci
James B. Renacci grew up in Carroll Township and graduated in 1976 from the Donora campus of Ringgold High School.
He received a bachelor's degree in business administration from Indiana University of Pennsylvania.
As a certified public accountant, Renacci spent several years with the Pittsburgh office of Grant Thorton International.
His career included the ownership and management of more than 60 businesses, including: two minor league sports teams, three Harley Davidson dealerships, a Chevrolet dealership, two golf courses, a concert venue, health care facilities, and a real estate development company.
The former mayor of Wadsworth, Ohio, he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2010.
Renacci serves on the Financial Services Committee and is vice chairman of the Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit Subcommittee.
A 1924 Monongahela High School graduate, the late Floyd France founded the Mon Valley Football Conference in 1925. It comprised the California, Charleroi, Donora, Monessen and Monongahela school districts.
He is credited with helping to form the Mon Valley Sportswriters and Sportscasters Association. Along with John Bunardzya, he was a founding father of the Mid Mon Valley All Sports Hall of Fame.
France was the first president of the Ringgold School Board. He served as president and secretary of the Monongahela Business Association.
France died 1985 in Tampa, Fla.
Frank L. Irey Jr.
A successful contractor in Monongahela, Irey constructed many roads, bridges and complexes around the region.
A 1948 Monongahela High School graduate, Irey served as president of the Mon Valley Progress Council for 30 years.
He worked for many years to garner support for construction of the Mon/Fayette Expressway.
Irey was diagnosed with cryptococcal meningitis in 1969, which left him partially blind.
Despite that setback, he continued to grow his construction company.
He was a staff sergeant in the U.S. Army during the Korean War.
Irey died in 2002.
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