Sunday, May 30, 2010

Dash Between for Memorial Day Eve: Velva Mihalis, led Thomas Mihalis VFW Auxiliary

I never met Velva Mihalis, but I recognized who she was as soon as I saw her name listed among the obituaries in the Elyria Chronicle-Telegram two weeks ago.

I have written Velva's husband's name thousands of times in obits about veterans who belonged to Thomas Mihalis Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1079 in Elyria, Ohio.

The late Tom Mihalis, a World War I veteran who died in 1979, held leadership positions with the local and District 9 VFWs, as well as Disabled American Veterans.

After they were married in 1930, Velva joined the auxiliaries of those veterans groups. She eventually held every auxiliary office.

The couple received numerous honors for their decades of faithfully visiting veterans hospitalized at the Ohio Veterans Home in Sandusky, Ohio, and the Cleveland VA Medical Center in Brecksville, Ohio.

It's fitting that The Dash Between February 11, 1913, when Velva was born Velva Mae Cross in Pleasant City, Ohio, and May 14, 2010, when she died at age 97, should run in the Chronicle on Memorial Day Eve, May 30, 2010.

Click here to read Velva's Dash Between.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Algirdas Bielskus led Lithuanian athletes in Cleveland

Algirdas Bielskus, who died May 19, 2010, at age 89, helped establish the Lithuanian Athletic Club, “Zaibas,” and its track and field section in 1950.

Bielskus led Zaibas as president for most of the 1950s and was the organization’s general secretary for the last 40 years.

He coached track and field athletes for 60 years. Zaibas members also have participated in basketball, volleyball, table tennis, swimming, tennis, skiing, biathlon, riflery, racquetball and softball.

Bielskus also served as president of Lithuanian Athletic Union of North America and the Baltic Athletic Federation of North America.

He directed the Uzdainuokim! Men’s vocal ensemble, was concertmaster of Ciurlionis Ensemble and co-founded Exultate choir.

Memorial donations may be made to the Lithuanian Athletic Union of North America (LAUNA) or Lithuanian Athletic Club ZAIBAS.

Jakubs and Son Funeral Home of Cleveland handled funeral arrangements.

A Facebook page has been set up to honor Bielskus at

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Dash Between: Abe Assily, Palestinian-born travel agent, Catholic, Rotarian and family man

Read about "The Dash Between" May 14, 1944, when Abe Assily was born in Jerusalem, Palestine, and April 18, 2010, when the Elyria, Ohio, travel agent died of a heart attack at age 65, in the May 16, 2010, edition of the Elyria Chronicle-Telegram by clicking here.

Abe and his wife, Laila, were married at a Greek Catholic church in Amman, Jordan, in October 1974 -- about two weeks after they met. It wasn't a traditional arranged marriage, but their respective families were instrumental in introducing them to one another.

Abe, who was already an American citizen and Elyria resident, returned to the states without Laila. He worked on her immigration papers and contacted his representatives in federal government to hasten the process. Laila joined him in Elyria before Christmas that year.

To suggest a recently deceased Lorain Countian for "The Dash Between" that runs every other Sunday in the Chronicle or someone from Medina County for the Medina County Gazette's monthly "Dash," contact Alana Baranick at

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Sonny Baker's Dash Between from Medina County Gazette

Sonny Baker, a lifelong resident of Seville, Ohio, Navy veteran of the Korean War and Mound Hill Cemetery sexton, served with the Seville VFW Post 8753 Honor Guard during military funerals at Ohio Western Reserve National Cemetery in Rittman, Ohio, since that cemetery opened in 2000.

He also played Santa Claus in the Seville area for so many years that letters addressed to "Santa and Mrs. Claus" were delivered to his house.

Read about the "Dash Between" December 21, 1928, when Sonny was born, and March 11, 2010, when he died at the Medina Village Retirement Community at age 86.

The story was published by the Medina County Gazette on Monday, May 3, 2010, and can be accessed here.

View assorted photos of Sonny here.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Micah Black, autistic 16-year-old, died March 30, 2010.

From The Chronicle-Telegram, the daily newspaper of Elyria, Ohio:

Micah Black’s autism limited his verbal communication to 2- or 3-word phrases, but it could not prevent the Elyria teen from singing all the lyrics to a movie soundtrack’s worth of songs.

“He was our classroom’s live iPod,” said Tim Duttry, who served as Micah’s personal attendant at Murray Ridge School. “Any song from ‘Mary Poppins’ or any Sunday school song, you could give him the first two words, and he could sing most every song. He knew every word.”

The Dash Between Aug 16, 1994, when Micah Robert Black was born in Oxnard, Calif., and March 30, 2010, when the son of Covenant Players ministers Michael and Diane Black died at age 16, is featured on the Local and State cover page of the print version of the May 2, 2010, Elyria Chronicle and online here.