Laurels & lances: Good show, long loves and big heart
Laurel: To breaking records without breaking the law. Pittsburgh has seen plenty of packed country concerts end in arrests and drifts of debris that make local venues look more like landfills. It was nice to see Garth Brooks come to town and buck that trend.
Not only did the Brooks show pack Heinz Field with 73,000 fans eager to see a huge stadium concert from the biggest name in Nashville, but they did it in style. Officials said there were not only no arrests, but there weren’t even any citations. And that was despite a weather delay and high temperatures that did keep EMS crews busy.
There also weren’t the heaps of garbage that have become the hallmark of some big concerts. See, Kenny Chesney fans, it is possible to pick up after yourselves.
Laurel: To love that keeps going. Harry and Velma Smith celebrated their 75th wedding anniversary. The odds-defying romance started with a blind date when Harry was 20 and Velma was 19.
“We’re still dating,” Harry said.
Today they are 98 and 97, respectively, with four children, eight grandchildren and five — soon to be six — great-grandchildren.
Laurel: To love that can’t let go. When Howard and Frances Loflin met in an Oberlin, Ohio, kindergarten class, it was the start of something special. The two were described as a perfect fit. It wasn’t a surprise when they got married.
But promising “until death do we part” proved hard for the Greensburg couple. When Howard, 69, died on April 30, it broke up two halves of a whole. Frances followed him May 5.
“Everywhere that Dad went, Mom went and vice versa. They were happy if the other was happy,” said daughter Jennifer Kilby.
Laurel: To a tough guy with heart. To some people, Chuck Martoni might have been the “Cannonball” or “The Masked Marvel,” a 1960s professional wrestler who felt bad when someone got hurt. To others, he was a gentle giant who valued education and community and prioritized giving back.
The Allegheny County councilman and former Swissvale mayor died Sunday. He was 82.
“He was always so sweet and kind and respectful and yet had a gentle wisdom,” said council member Sue Means. “He didn’t want the limelight for himself or demand attention. He was a very soft-spoken force for the people of Allegheny County.”