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Monday, June 10, 2002
Pottsville Republican/Evening Herald

Graveyard tour summons spirit of sports hero
Staff Writer

SHENANDOAH - The crowd gasped as the ghost of Joseph Sepauley approached.

But then they realized it was merely Gregory A. Macdonald, Shenandoah, in costume, a baseball bat over one shoulder.

He was there to teach a little history.

The third annual Greater Shenandoah Area Historical Society Cemetery Tour led more than 50 history buffs around two Shenandoah Heights cemeteries Sunday, telling stories of long-lost hometown spirits.

Sepauley, a former Shenandoah mayor who died three decades ago, is remembered in the borough as the manager of the town's Presidents football team.

The Presidents tied the Portsmouth Spartans - now known as the Detroit Lions - 7-7, in a 1933 game.

"What's even more amazing than that, is the Spartans beat the Philadelphia Eagles earlier that year, 25-0," Macdonald said.

The Sepauley ghost's aunt, Valerie E. Macdonald, began the tour through time in the Old St. George Cemetery.

She donned an Edwardian outfit, and easily jumped in and out of various character roles throughout the tour, along with several other costumed volunteers.

Among the graves highlighted were that of the Rev. Andrew Strupinskas, the first Lithuanian priest in the United States and founder of St. Casimir's Church, and John and Josephine Twardzik, great-grandparents of Timothy F. Twardzik, president of Mrs. T's pierogies.

Playing the role of Katherine Alex Zanecosky, Macdonald led the tour to a visit of her parents Andrew and Victoria Alex's grave.

When Zanecosky was a little girl, she anxiously watched as the 1902 coal strike raged outside her fathers hotel, The Alex Hotel.

A bullet, fired from the street, whizzed past her head, embedding itself in the bedroom wall.

Her family also owned Joseph Zanecosky Groceries, a Shenandoah market that handed out special glass platters around the holidays.

Macdonald held out an authentic platter, and presented it to a man in the crowd wearing a tan cowboy hat.

The man, Joseph R. "Jay" Zane, Pottsville, it was revealed, is the actual grandson of Katherine Alex Zanecosky. Zane smiled and accepted the plate.

Other volunteers acting as deceased tour guides included Joseph P. Coddington, Lavelle, and Patricia Domalakes, Theodore F. Twardzik, Rosalie Kuzma, Mary Ann Selvocki, Sherwin "Sheila" Sorin and Andrea M. Pytak.

Other visited sites featured were the William and Anna Schumack family; Anthony P. Gwasdytos, a World War II Army veteran; the Rev. Petras Abromaitis, first pastor of St. George's Church; and Andrew Popalis.

The tour also went to Old St. Casimir Cemetery, where seven grave sites - Kathryn Binek, a housewife and mother; the Rev. Joseph Lenarkiewicz, founder of St. Casimir's School; Antonina Michalewicz, housewife and mother; Adele Sennick, artist; Mary Klocek Kruszyna, coal miner's wife, mother and seamstress; and William and Anna Kidzium, a typical mining family - were perused.

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