St. Agnes Alumni Biographies


Gaspar Cipolla

Attended St. Agnes Sept. 11, 1934 to Dec. 24, 1938
G. Cipolla, Mr. Chip, is currently a Middle School Substitute Teacher in the Manalapan-Englishtown School District in New Jersey

Mama and Papa were born in Racalmuto, a mountain village just north of Agrigento, Sicily. I was born on Eldridge Street in Little Italy and baptized Gaspar (I like to believe after the 3rd King of the Magi) at The Church of the Nativity on the Lower East Side of New York City. We spoke only Sicilian, a dialect of Italian. It was 1934 when my mother died during child birth. I was about three and my brother Joey three years older. We were sent to St. Agnes, a home for boys in Sparkill.

Ricardo C. Colon

My name was Richard Colon at that time... now it is Ricardo C. Colon. I first arrived with my brother Rudy in 1960. My Brother Rudy was 8 yrs old and I was 6 yrs old. My Brother Eddie arrived in 1961. I and my brother Rudy were there for 3 yrs and Eddie was there 2 yrs. We all left St Agnes together in 1963. I was 9 yrs old when I left.

I was in Regina as I remember and my brother Eddie was in Little Flower. I forgot what group Rudy was in. I don't really remember but a couple of guys from there and I will always remember Reverend Mother Sister Ann Bernadette. I also remember Mr. O'Brien, Mr. Glen and Mr. Coleman I think he was a guidance councilor or something like that.

If I understand and remember the chronology of events as they were recounted to me, my mother was ill after contracting Tuberculosis. Sometime thereafter my father got the brilliant idea to see if the Church could help him to take care of us. He was an active alcoholic at the time and was as he told us... without any idea how to raise 3 boy on his own. He told the church people at St Cecelia's in Spanish Harlem that he was a family member left with the task of finding a home for us after our father was killed and my mother committed to a terminal hospital for incurable Tuberculosis.

He took us, my brother Rudy and myself, to the church and sat us down at a large table where we were given lots of plastic green soldiers to play with until he was to return (yeah , as though he was really gonna return). Some long time later that day a nun came into the room and she ushered us into the first day at a new life in Sparkill, NY at the St Agnes convent for boys.

Aside from the regular day to day of life at the convent, I only remember a few things. I remember the Spring bazaars, the church services, color wars, the trips to have our pictures taken with Santa Clause, Bear Mountain, trips to Coney Island and the rock lined yard where we played on a daily basis and most of our general population interaction took place.

I have only told this confession to my current wife and will tell you now of the guilt that I lived under for a short time while I was there. I was at confession once and I have no idea what got into me but I decided that the crucifix that was in the confessional would make a great one for me to own. I decided to take it and did so. Oh my goodness you'd think the world was coming to an we are in the midst of the Cuban missile crisis and all they talked about all day was the missing Crucifix. Sister Mary Margaret then told us that whomever took the cross was gonna burn in everlasting torment and damnation for eternity.

Oh Oh. not that !!!!! well a couple days later while we were out in the field I managed to sneak to the nuns garden area, ( as I remembered it). I dug up the Crucifix that I buried there a week before. First chance I found I put the dirt covered crucifix back on the wall of the confessional and lived in relief of the curse she told us of. That was a very traumatic few days for me.

I don't really remember much more than going to class and what our dorms looked like. I don't remember leaving and I have only been there once as I passed a sign on the highway when I was in my 30s that pointed out the way to Sparkill. I wondered if it was the same place I had lived so many years before and decided to take a look..... I was touched to say the least when I pulled up and saw the missing buildings and found the field that seemed to large when I was a kid. Now it looks like a small yard. The mountain up the hill didn't seem to humongous and the pond we sis skated looked like little more than just what it is.... a pond. I remembered it as a lake.

Once when I was watching Jerry Spinger. I was a man in the front row of the audience with a T-shirt on the read " I'm a house Kid" .... go figure

I live in Deerfield Beach, FL. I am a payment processor for a land developer. I have 3 kids. My oldest son Cory is an accountant in Little Rock Arkansas, My younger son Marcus is a cook here in South Florida and my daughter Ebony works for a Pediatrician in Florida. My Wife Jan an RN here in Florida and my lord continues to watch over me as he did when he had me sent to St Agnes to be cared for until better arrangements could be made at his command. My brother Rudy lives in Brooklyn still with his wife and daughter. He works for the State insurance fund, I have no idea what he does there. My brother Eddie lives in Tampa, FL. He is an electrician. I live an otherwise blessed life with my wife and I love the fact that you guys have kept this thing going for so long.

Harry Connors

Was at St. Agnes Home in Sparkill from 1906 to 1912. He arrived on July 19, 1906 lived there for 6 years. On June 28, 1912 he left St Agnes Home and was placed in a foster home by the Catholic Home Bureau.   Harry Connors was deceased on
Nov. 27th, 1963.

He has 3 living children in Lock Haven, PA: two daughters, Joyce Montarsi and Donna Vonada; and Son, Harry J. Connor.

David T. Feliciano

Was born in New York City, NY on February 14th 1937, to Pastor and Juana Feliciano. He was at St. Agnes Home for Boys in Sparkhill, NY from 1945 - 1952 (?) arriving with his brother Benjamin and after Pastor, Carlos, Caesar, Peter and before Moses. Seven Feliciano brothers were at St. Agnes and one sister, Naomi was at St. Dominic in Blauvelt, NY.

There was another oldest brother, Raymond and another youngest brother, George and a second oldest sister, Rachael who were not at St Agnes or St. Dominic.

David attended freshman year at Tappan Zee High School, Piermont, NY. He attended Morris High School in The Bronx, NYC, NY and graduated from Queens College, CUNY with a BA degree. He completed one year of post-graduate work in Business Administration at Pace University, NYC, NY.

Throughout his business career, as an Information Technology Professional, he completed numerous Computer Science courses, specializing in Application Systems Development and Application Systems Programming.

David and his wife Iris have five children, eight grand-children and three great grand-children (triplets). They have two sons, David Jr. and Thomas; three daughters, Debra, Lizzette and Mercedes; one grand-son, David III, six grand-daughters, Chervone, Alyse, Ashley, Celeena, Laurisa and Amanda; and triplet great grand-children, Donald, Paris and Chloe.

David played Quarterback for St. Agnes Football Team and played Second Base and ShortStop for the Baseball Team. In addition, he participated in all types of team and individual sports, while at St. Agnes, including Basketball, Volleyball, Boxing, Handball and Speedball (our home-grown version of Soccer Ball).

After leaving St. Agnes, he played Paddleball, a cross between Handball and Racketball, for over thirteen years.

David is currently a Roadrunner and has participated in this sport for over 22 years. He has completed 18 NYC Marathons, as well as, numerous races of 18 Miles,
1/2 Marathon, 10 Miles, 10k, 5 Miles, 4 Miles and 5k distances.

He has been approved as an entrant for his 19th NYC Marathon, to be run this year, on Sunday November 6th, 2005.

Stephen J. Fromholz, Sr.

A resident of Nyack and Clearwater, Florida, passed away on November 1, 2001 in Clearwater. He was 72 years old.

He was born in New York City on November 11, 1928 to John and Madeline (Schisler) Fromholz. Mr. Fromholz was a maintenance mechanic for the Nyack Public Schools from 1968-1993.

He was a member of the Jackson Fire Engine Company No. 3 of the Nyack Fire Department, serving as Captain, 1st and 2nd Lieutenants and Financial Secretary for 20 years. He was also a life member of the Rockland County Volunteer Firefighters Association as well as a member of the Saint Agnes Alumni.

He is survived by his wife, Geraldine, three sons, Stephen Jr. and John Sr. of Nyack and David of Walden, NY. A daughter, Deborah of Stony Point and six grandchildren. He is also survived by two sisters, Madeline Overton of Walden, NY and Lenore Charboneau of Latham, NY.

A Mass of Christian Burial was held on Wednesday, November 7, 2001 at 10:00 am at Saint Ann's Roman Catholic Church in Nyack with burial at the Tappan Reformed Church Cemetery in Tappan.

Visiting hours were held on Monday evening 7-9 pm and Tuesday 2-4 and 7-9 pm at the Hannemann Funeral Home, Inc. in Nyack. The Jackson Fire Engine Co. No. 3 held Firematic Services on Tuesday evening at 7:30 pm at the Funeral Home.

Donations in his memory may be made to the Saint Agnes Alumni, c/o 9 Glen Road, Highland Falls, NY 10928.

Published: Sunday, November 4th, 2001

James Lawson

St. Agatha from 1930 to 1936, then St. Agnes. Joined the Navy in May 1941 and served in the South Pacific. Discharged in 1946 and settled out West. Managed a commercial laundry. Married Shirley Johnson, no children. Jim died in 1966.

Gerald (Jerry) Merna




Marine Officer, Postal Service Officer, Association Executive 


Jerry Merna was born in New York City, and at a very early age, together with his six brothers and one sister was raised by Dominican Nuns in two different Catholic Homes, St. Dominic’s Convent in Blauvelt, NY and St. Agnes Home in Sparkill, NY.  He dropped out of high school after his second year to enlist in the United States Marine Corps on his 17th birthday in April 1947. 

Following boot camp training at Parris Island, S.C. he served in all enlisted grades from Private (E-1) to Master Gunnery Sergeant (E-9).  In 1966 with 18 years of enlisted service he was commissioned a Second Lieutenant under the Marine Corps’ Outstanding Leadership Program, and only one year later, while serving in Vietnam, was promoted to First Lieutenant.  (Marine officers who come up from the ranks are referred to as “Mustangs.”) 

During his 22 years as a Marine Jerry Merna served in a variety of administrative, legal and infantry  positions and is a graduate of numerous military schools, including  Advanced Combat Training, Instructor Orientation School, and Naval Justice Courses in San Diego, CA.,  and Newport, RI. 

During 13 months of combat service in Korea (1952 - 1953) he was an anti-tank assault (ATA) infantry unit leader with Weapons Company,  1st Battalion 5th Marines, and later was a platoon sergeant with Easy Company, 2nd Battalion, 5th Marines on Outpost  “Vegas,“  one of the bloodiest engagements in Western Korea. 

14 years after serving in Korea, in 1966 Jerry served as a 36-year old Second Lt. for 13 months in Vietnam with the 3rd Marine Division.  Upon his return to the U.S.  he served as the Adjutant and Casualty Notification Officer for Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia while stationed at the Marine Air Reserve Training Detachment, Andrews Air Force Base, Maryland, until his retirement in 1968.  

Jerry’s numerous military decorations and awards include two Navy Commendation Medals with Combat “V,” the Combat Action Ribbon, the Presidential Unit Citation, the Navy Unit Citation, the Korean Service Medal with 3 bronze stars, the Korean Presidential Unit Citation, the Vietnam Service Medal with 2 bronze stars, an individual award of the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry with Bronze Star and unit award of the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry with Palm. He also has seven awards of the Rifle Expert and Pistol Sharpshooter badges. 

After retiring from the Marine Corps Jerry served for the next 18 years as a Senior Executive Service official with the United States Postal Service.  He was appointed Executive Assistant to the Postmaster General at Postal Service Headquarters in Washington, D.C., one of only 34 Officers of the 850,000 member U. S.  Postal Service.  Following an assignment as the Acting Postmaster of Lynchburg, VA, Jerry was appointed Postmaster for the entire Northern Virginia region, one of the fastest growing areas in the United States.  For six years he directed postal operations at one of  the largest and most complex Postal Service field units that served two million customers with over 5,000 employees, 1,200 vehicles, and 155 post offices stretching from Arlington and Alexandria to Front Royal and Winchester.  This field office was also used as a model for demonstrating postal procedures and mail processing systems for industry,   congressional and international visitors. 

After retiring from the Postal Service in 1987 for the next six years Jerry implemented worldwide advertising, public relations and marketing activities as Director of Advertising for SIGNAL Magazine, the official journal of  the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association (AFCEA) in Fairfax, VA.

He then was appointed a Vice President and Associate Publisher of National DEFENSE magazine, journal of the Arlington-based National Defense Industrial Association (NDIA), a major defense industry association with 28,000 individual members, and some 900 companies dealing with national security.  

While in the Marine Corps Jerry successfully completed all academic requirements for and graduated from the school he dropped out of, Tappan Zee High School, Piermont, New York.  Not satisfied with that, after years of night school, he went on to obtain degrees of Bachelor of Science in Administration and Master of Science in Personnel Management, at ages 43 and 47 respectively, from The George Washington University, Washington, DC.  He also completed Advanced Management Programs at the University of Southern California and the University of Virginia.  He served on the Boards of Directors for the National League of Postmasters of the United States, the Armed Forces Communications & Electronics Association (AFCEA), and The George Washington University General Alumni Association. 

Jerry has been married to the former Dorothy M. Sedlack, his classmate at TZ High School of Piermont, New York, for over 53 years.  The Merna’s have two children:  Linda M. Figura of Alexandria, and Gerald T. Merna, of Sterling, VA., and two grandchildren.  Dot and Jerry reside in The Cascades, Potomac Falls, VA., where Jerry formerly served as Chairman of his homeowner’s Covenants Committee.

Thomas G. Merna

Thomas G. Merna, 62 died May 7, 2000 of natural causes in San Francisco. Mr. Merna was born in New York City October 12, 1937. With five brothers and a sister, he was raised in St. Dominicës Home, Blauvelt, and St. Agnes Convent, Sparkill. Attended Tappan Zee H.S. in Piermont.

He moved to San Francisco in 1962 and was a long time employee at a retail establishment on Fishermanës Wharf. The devoted son of the late Geraldine Kraus of Portland, OR and the late George F. Merna of New York City, he leaves behind his dear brothers Gerald of Potomac Falls, VA; Robert of Walnut Creek, CA; James of Lanham, MD, Richard of Clinton, MD, and sister Vivian Rendes of Sun City West, AZ. His oldest brother George was killed in action in World War II with the sinking of LST-577. He also leaves behind many nephews, nieces and cousins.

Published: Friday, May 19th, 2000

Frank Jacob Rosenstine

My name is Frank Jacob Rosenstine. I was born on April 29, 1937 in Bronx, New York.

From the 4th - 8th grades I was at St. Dominics in Blauvelt, New York. When I was in high school I was at St. Agnes in Sparkill, New York and attended Tappan Zee in Piermont, New York.

After high school I enlisted in the Navy on July 7, 1955 and my first ship was the USS Fort Mandan LSD-21. My next duty station was the Naval Air Station at Gitmo, Cuba. While I was stationed Castro stopped our water supply. There was no fresh water, but plenty of beer to go around. Next I was off to the Naval Reserve Training Center in Stamford, Connecticut. Two more ships to flow were the USS PONCHATOULA AO-148 and the USS DELIVER ARS-23.

On September 10, 1965 I married my wife, Marie and gained my instant family with three sons, ages 12, 11 & 5. Next I was on the USS CONE DD-866, and shortly after, on December 6, 1967 we gave birth to our daughter Lori.

My last ship was the USS SURIBACHI AE-21. My last duty station was the Charleston Naval Base from which I retired from the Navy, after twenty years of service, on June 6, 1975 as a Senior Chief Radioman.

Then I worked at the Charleston Naval Shipyard from April 12, 1976 through February 29, 1992 and the Naval Weapon Station from March 1, 1992 through September 3, 1997 from which I retired after twenty years of Civil Service.

In March of 2002 I had a massive stroke, which left me unable to communicate and I was almost completely paralyzed on my right side. After many months in both the hospital and a rehabilitation hospital, I was finally allowed to go home, but continued out patient therapy for over a year later. I now have complete, unassisted mobility, and work out at the gym almost every day walking anywhere from 5-9 miles on the treadmill. My speech is somewhat limited but I always find a way to get my point across, especially my jokes. This past April I participated in the Cooper River Bridge Run/Walk here in Charleston, South Carolina. It was a 4.5 mile walk across the Cooper River Bridge and through downtown Charleston. My daughter and I walked it together to celebrate my recovery from my stroke.

I now live in Goose Creek (near Charleston), South Carolina with my wife, Marie. We have four children, nine grandchildren and five great grandchildren and we are enjoying retired life.

Joseph R. Stanaitis (a.k.a Robert Stanaitis)

I was an early out in 1955. I graduated in February and much later, I regretted the fact that I robbed myself of an additional few months of being a child.

I moved to the Big Apple in April 1955. Took few business courses At CCNY and NYU and then started my 44 year career in data processing BC (before computers) and telecommunications . I met my wife of 44 years in 1958 and wed in 1960.

You may remember me as Robert or Bob.. that in fact was my second name. My first name was Joe and for reasons too complicated to explain, I assumed the name of Joe in 1956 and have been Good old Joe since then which causes some confusion when I am with someone from now and come across someone from then,.

We moved to West Haverstraw in 1964 where I commenced my 40 years of commuting from a low of 24 miles of day to Orangeburg to a high of 140 miles a day to Brewster New York. We had one son in 1967 then after we moved to Warwick NY in 1971 was blessed with a second son in 1979. The older guy has been married for several years. The younger is still single and eligible. Both of them work locally remembering my many hours on the road instead of being home.

I was blessed with a kind of blue collar /white collar career. I usually hand carried and installed much of the equipment that I then operated and managed at each of the several companies I worked at. In early 1998 my company had been bought out and was closed down in early 1999. Ergo, retirement!

We enjoy going to B & Bs. We both belong to the local health club and work out on a regular basis. I spend my time doing some volunteer work, photography, woodcrafts, reading and gardening. Over the years, I became an excellent cook as my photo may indicate. I am now actively trying to lose some weight. I am a firm believer in moderation in all things "especially" moderation. We have a cat named Gabriel. Our home is built upon a knoll, upon a hill upon the side of a mountain. Thank God, we are still in good health.

Those who might remember me from those halcyon days of high school would remember a quiet studious person, I have changed. I am no long as quiet and reserved. Life is too good not to partake.

Since retiring I have been looking for people from that time. I found a few at I remember sending a howdy to one of the guys in my class. His response was that he didn't remember me. After several other non or negative responses, I let my membership end. I have reconnected with many of my classmates from St. Agnes School where I am a member of the St. Agnes Alumni Association and we have a web site at


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