Posts Tagged ‘Ellen Mondlak’

Ellen Mondlak: Celebrated for Community Service

Saturday, March 26th, 2016

Ellen Mondlak: A Woman Who Personifies America At Its Best

Written by Tony Mussari, Sr.
Edited by Kitch Loftus-Mussari
Photographs by Tony Mussari, Sr.
Copyright Mussari-Loftus Associates, LTD 2016
All Rights Reserved

There is nothing I would not do for those who are really my friends. I have no notion of loving people by halves, it is not my nature.Jane Austen

Ellen Mondlak is a friend, an inspiration and a woman who works tirelessly to serve her community.

Ellen and I met 61 years ago at St. Mary’s High School in Wilkes-Barre. That friendship was rooted in theSMS_sm culture of the 1950’s. We had great fun at the weekly dances at St. John’s School in North End and the dances at the Catholic Youth Center in Wilkes-Barre. Ellen was a cheerleader, and a respected and popular member of our class.

After high school she attended College Misericordia. She became a teacher. She left the classroom to become a part of the management team of her father-in-law’s printing business with her husband Jerry. Ellen was the bookkeeper, and the customer service representative. She also did layout and typesetting.

While she was raising her family, she devoted a good deal of time to community service projects that provided opportunities for young people. They included:

1. Being a den mother for scouts;
2. Serving on the Pittston Area School District’s Parents Advisory Committee;
3. Helping to organize the boy’s basketball parents organization;
4. Sponsoring a little league team and a college league team.

She also volunteered her services at St. Mark’s Church Altar and Rosary Society and the Jenkins Township American Legion.

When Wayne Dyer wrote these words he was describing Ellen Mondlak:

When you are able to shift your inner awareness to how you can serve others, and when you make this the central focus of your life, you will then be in a position to know true miracles in your progress toward prosperity.

A Well Deserved Award


Earlier this month, the Greater Pittston Chamber of Commerce Women’s Network presented Ellen and one of her friends, Edythe Kepics, with its Distinguished Woman Award.

The headlines in the local newspaper read:

“Chamber celebrates honorees at dinner,” “As Distinguished as they come”

Michelle Mikitish, executive vice president of the Greater Pittston Chamber of Commerce, explained the award with these words:

It’s less about their accomplishments, but it’s the day-to-day of making a difference within the community. Raising their kids, working in the business; pulling it all together that’s what we want to see in the women we honor, and that’s what we see in the two women we’re honoring today.

This is a short list of Ellen’s community service:

1. Chairman of the Jenkins Township Zoning Board;
2. Board member of the Pittston Township Ambulance Association;
3. Member and former president of the Luzerne County Crime Clinic;
4. Member of the Jenkins Township Crime Watch;
5. Former president and member of the Pittston Library.

In her acceptance speech, Ellen told the audience, “Of all the organizations I have been involved with, the Pittston Library is my priority.”

“My greatest personal achievement was surviving cancer.”

“Women have come a long way over the years…We women have tried very hard to better our next generation. We want the best for our children and our grandchildren by instilling in them they can do anything they desire if they strive for it.”

The Essence of the Woman

Someone once said, if what want to know who a person is, pay close attention to what is in their home.

During a recent visit with Ellen and Jerry, I did just that.


This is what I discovered. Ellen’s life is centered in her family. Wherever you look you see pictures of children, grandchildren and special pictures of family moments.

Two on my favorites are the pictures of Ellen with her three brothers and her mother. It captures both the ecstasy of a teenager with dreams, and sadness of her father’s premature death.

The other picture that defines Ellen is the image she put on the wake-up screen of her computer. It records a very special moment with her husband and her seven grandchildren.

The words of Dr. Joyce Brothers best describe this family moment:

When you look at your life, the greatest happinesses are family happinesses.

Ellen’s Angels

Ellen loves angels. In just about every room on the first floor of her home one will find an image of an angel.


She has adorned two of these angels with signs that speak to her value system.

One is a beautiful glass figurine on which Ellen carefully placed a silver sign engraved with these words:

True friendship is a blessing.

The other angel is quite unique. It was created with wire andIMG_7612_sm decorated with gold rhinestones. To emphasize the significance of this image, Ellen placed this sign in front of it:

A grandparent is someone with silver in their hair and gold in their heart.

In Ellen’s world, the poetic words of Mary Baker Eddy have special meaning:

When angels visit us, we do not hear the rustle of wings, nor feel the feathery touch of the breast of a dove; but we know their presence by the love they create in our hearts.

Ellen is surrounded by angels, and her heart is filled with love. Her service to others grows out of that love, and it has kept her moving forward since the day we met in 1955. She has known moments of great joy, and she has experienced the devastating loss of her son. She is most deserving of the Distinguished Woman Award.

The Ellen Mondlak Kitch and I know is best described by the inscription painted on theIMG_7638_sm ceramic dish in her living room:

A true friend is the best possession.

Congratulations, dear friend. Thank you for all that you do to make our community a better place to live, work and raise a family. Thank you for being a caring friend and an example of what we all should be.

You are a radiant Face of America on its best day, and we are in your debt.

(Some information in this story appeared in The Greater Pittston Progress. Sarah Scinto wrote the story. Ralph Francillo took the pictures for this story.)

(Some information in this story appeared in The Pittston Sunday Dispatch. Jimmy Fisher wrote the story. Tony Callaio took the pictures for this story.)

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