ShareThis Page

Brownsville remembers 'Slugger

| Friday, May 4, 2012, 7:06 a.m.

The late Marion Klingensmith is being remembered by the Brownsville High School Alumni Association at its annual banquet Friday.

It's not surprising that the group would pick Klingensmith, also known as "Slugger," given his careers as a middleweight prizefighter, Brownsville police chief and mayor, Pennsylvania state representative, Fayette County commissioner and Western Pennsylvania athletic commissioner.

"He certainly was an impressive character," said Conway Keibler, a former neighbor and a founder of the annual alumni banquet.

Add amateur filmmaker to the list of achievements. Klingensmith was an avid 8 mm camera buff -- something that comes as a surprise to Keibler and others who knew Klingensmith for decades.

"He took films all the time," said his wife, Lorne. "He had a camera every time he went out the door."

Klingensmith's son, Larry, said the footage taken by his dad adds up to veritable "tons of film."

Much of the footage was home movies of his family; Larry, for example, remembers being filmed at an Easter egg hunt.

But Klingensmith also filmed the community.

He recorded Brownsville celebrations and residents going about their lives in a bustling borough.

There's footage of a 1960s flood that inundated Brownsville. Larry cited scenes of rescuers in rowboats that bring to mind newscasts from Hurricane Katrina.

There were also historical snippets of such events as the opening of the Lane Bane Bridge and a visit to Brownsville by boxer Jersey Joe Wolcott.

The Brownsville Area Revitalization Corp. has spliced the footage together on a three-disc DVD set.

Larry said the filming was an extension of his father's personality of wanting to interact with people.

Keibler will talk about Klingensmith at the banquet. He said he has some funny stories to tell.

One is about the time his neighbor, then a police officer, stopped him for speeding.

Instead of letting him go, Klingensmith told Keibler, "You're the nicest guy I ever gave a ticket to."

In his later years, Klingensmith often gave out a calling card with the message "It's nice to be nice."

The alumni group also will honor five distinguished living graduates of Brownsville High School -- Douglas Dascenzo, who played baseball for the Chicago Cubs; Dennis Matteucci, a Brownsville-area businessman; Vanessa DeSalvo-Getz; and Vincent Caliutto, who was recognized by Rolling Stone magazine as one of the greatest drummers around.

The Community Cruise on the Monongahela, this year honoring the firefighters who protect Brownsville, will cast off on Tuesday. The alumni banquet is always held the day after Brownsville Kennywood Day, which is this Thursday.

The association will meet for a tour of the newly renovated Brownsville Area High School at 6 p.m. Friday; followed by a 6:30 p.m. social period; followed by the catered banquet at 7 p.m. in the school cafeteria.

The cost of the banquet is $10. Tickets can be purchased from Jene Bernhagen at Standard Auto Supply, 600 Market St.

Klingensmith's three-disc set can be purchased at the Flatiron Building for $25.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using 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.

click me