New inductees starred on and off the field
By Brian Herman
Published: Monday, Nov. 2, 2009
ROSTRAVER TOWNSHIP -- Ringgold's first Hall of Fame Class featured four of the best-known athletes in the area: Stan Musial, Joe Montana, Ken Griffey and Fred Cox.
The second class, which was inducted Saturday night at the Willow Room, was a little different.
"We're branching out to educators, lawyers, commun-ity service and businessmen in the Ringgold School District," said executive director Brad Bassi, of the sponsoring Ringgold Rams Club. "They deserve this honor."
As a result, four former football greats from Donora had to share the spotlight with a doctor, judge, a college dean and grocery store owner.
The gridders honored were Rudy Andabaker, Lou "Bimbo" Cecconi and the deceased Arnold "Pope" Galiffa and "Deacon" Dan Towler, who all starred for one or both of the Dragons' two WPIAL championship teams.
Cecconi and Andabaker both went on to shine at Pitt, with the latter going on to play in the NFL for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Galiffa went on to become one of the greatest all-around athletes in West Point history, making the cover of Life Magazine in 1949. He played in the NFL for the New York Giants and San Francisco 49ers and in the Canadian Football League with Toronto.
Towler went on to become one of the greatest running backs in Washington & Jefferson College history and later starred with the Los Angeles Rams, leading the NFL in rushing in 1952.
Rounding out the Hall of Fame class were Dr. Marie Brown Wagner, the Honorable Judge Paul A. Simmons, Dr. David Epperson and Aldo Bartolotta.
Here are the remarks of some of the honorees:
"This is a special privilege to be honored after the first class which had four of the most revered names," said Cecconi. "I have a heavy heart since two of my teammates (Galiffa and Towler) are no longer with us."
"I never left the Mon Valley and the Mon Valley has never left me," said Andabaker, a lifelong Donora resident.
"This is like family here because Bimbo was the best man at my dad's wedding," said Galiffa's daughter Debbie.
"Paul loves the Mon Valley," said his wife Gwen. "He's a great example of using adversity to grow because he lost a leg working on the railroad when he was 21."
"I share this award with my co-workers because they put me in the position I am today," said Bartolotta.
"I owe it all to the Valley because it started here," said Epperson, who retired in 2001 after serving over 29 years as a dean at Pitt.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.