50 Years Ago – April, 1971

50 years Ago – April, 1971

By Jim Ignasher

     Army Sergeant Allen Uttley of Greenville came home after completing his tour of duty in Korea.

     Airman Barry S. Black of Esmond completed basic training at Lackland Air Force Base, and was slated for further training as a communications and electronics systems specialist.

     T/Sgt. Kenneth E. Bessette of Esmond received his third Air Force Commendation Medal. He was serving at Travis Air Force Base in California.

    Airman George H. Jaswell completed basic training at Lackland Air Force Base, and was slated for further training as an Aircraft Equipment Maintenance Specialist.

     Navy Petty Officer 2/c James R. Hall of Esmond was serving aboard the U.S.S. Truxtum.

     Navy Perry Officer 3/c Lloyd Courtemanche of Greenville was serving aboard the U.S.S. LaSalle.

     Second Lieutenant Michael D. Grace of the Rhode Island Air National Guard was awarded his pilot wings at Williams Air Force base in Arizona.

     Marine Corporal Michael C. Dodge of Douglas Pike was serving in the 2nd Marine Air Wing at Cherry point, North Carolina.

    Ladies of the Emblem Club held a special meeting which was attended by Rose Centofanli, Mary Hill, Helen Mowry, Beverly Moreau, Mildred Campbell, Mary Shaw, Genevieve Caloura, Mildren Johnson, Fran Kohler, Doris Torti, Lydia bell, Stella Kernacki, Evelyn Newman, Doreen Collins, and Mary Schiffman, the club president.

     The former Scuncio Chevrolet car dealership, once located on Rt. 44 where Stop & Shop is today, was offering a choice of a free football, soccer ball, or basketball, with every major engine tune-up.

     Miss Lee Wilkinson of Limerock Road won first place in the Rhode Island Music teachers Association Annual Piano and Voice Auditions held at Rhode Island College.

     Fifteen members of the Smithfield Police Department completed a five week special training course. Their names were listed in a local newspaper, but only their first initials were given. A. Thibodeault, R. Leveille, K. Brown, J. Lester Tobion, N. Jordan, D. Ciotola, F. Davis, J. Goff, D. Goff, W. Williams, Jr., R. Eberts, F. Peters, W. Morgan, R. Landry, and M. Ciotola.

     On April 14 the Apple Blossom Club installed new officers at a function held at the Club 44 on Putnam Pike. Betty Paily was elected president; Carmel Lancia, vice president; Anne Baglini, corresponding secretary; Judy Lawton, recording secretary; Anne Allen, treasurer.

     If one went to the movies in April of 1971 they might have seen “Bananas”, a comedy directed by and starring Woody Allen who while trying to impress a his ex-girlfriend (played by Louise Laser) travels to South America and gets involved in a revolution in the mythical country of San Marcos.

     Another popular film was “Valdez is Coming”, a western drama starring Burt Lancaster, who attempts to seek compensation for the wrongful death of a wrongly accused man and his wife.

     On April 15, Captain Nelson French and Private Wayne Brown of the Gerogiaville Volunteer Fire Department were guest speakers at the Smithfield Boy Scout Troop 1monthly meeting. The pair lectured on Fire Safety and prevention.

     Advertisements appeared asking voters to approve a new police station at the May 8th town financial meeting. In April of 1971, the police station was still located at the town hall.

     On April 29 the Smithfield Music Association sponsored a Jazz and woodwind concert featuring the group “Rhapsody in Blue”, and the University of Rhode Island Symphonic Wind Ensemble.

     The historic Amy Arnold House located on Putnam Pike in Greenville Center was demolished to make way for modern construction. The home had stood in the area of 600 Putnam Pike next to the Dr. Eddy House which is still standing.

     Top songs for the month of April, ’71, included “Joy to the World” by Three Dog Night, “What’s Going On?” by Marvin Gaye, “Put Your Hand in the Hand” by Ocean, and “never Can Say Goodbye” by the Jackson Five.


50 Years Ago – May, 1969

50 Years Ago – May, 1969

     David P. Petit, Stephen Paine, and Alan P. Seward, all completed basic training for the U.S. Air Force.

     Bernard J. Ferro III, of Esmond, was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant in the U. S. Air Force.

     Peter R. Fisher of Greenville was scheduled to receive his commission to 2nd Lieutenant in the Army Reserves upon completion of ROTC.

     Former Commander of the Balfour-Cole American Legion Post, Ralph Rathier, was elected Commander of the First District of Rhode Island. The First District includes Pawtucket, Central Falls, Lincoln, Cumberland, North Providence, Smithfield, North Smithfield, Burrillville, and Woonsocket.  

     In honor of Memorial Day, a non-denominational candle light vigil honoring deceased Smithfield veterans was held at St. Thomas Episcopal Church in Greenville.

     The Smithfield Conservation Commission held its first annual awards dinner at the Club 44 restaurant.

     A conservation achievement award was given to the Apple Blossom Garden Club.  

     Mrs. Wendy Weston was given an appreciation award for her work as secretary to the Conservation Commission.

     Mrs. Dorothy Burgess was recognized for her conservation efforts to the town.

     Philip Azzolina, a Greenville jeweler, was given a civic beautification award for landscaping around his business.

     Mother’s Day fell on Apple Blossom Sunday, while the apple blossoms of local orchards were at their peak.

     On that day, the annual Apple Blossom Queen Pageant was held at the Smithfield High School with teenaged girls from grange halls around the state competing. Some local teens who took part in the competition were Susan Ashworth, of Spragueville, Pauline LeBlanc, from Esmond, Norma and Linda Hill, Sandra Colburn, Patricia Bolwell, and Joyce Steere, all from Glocester.

     Sandra Colburn was crowned Queen.

     The Smithfield Lions Club held a father-daughter dance at Louie’s Tavern. The guest speaker was Karen Jessop, who recently returned from serving aboard the hospital ship S. S. Hope.  

     The Smithfield High School Junior Prom was held in the high school cafeteria and courtyard.

     Smithfield High School Senior Virginia Vale was the winner of the Miss Rhode Island Lion Pageant. She would go on to compete in the Miss Rhode Island Universe Contest.

     The Smithfield Police Department held its annual ball at the St. Michael’s Church Hall.

     A local car dealer was advertising a 1967 Plymouth Barracuda for $1,950, a 1964 Pontiac Grand Prix for $1,250, and a 1966 Buick Electra for $1,795.  

     Speaking of cars, after two years of proposals and counter proposals, finalized plans were submitted for the redesign of the intersection of Austin Avenue and Rt. 44. Architectural drawings included three traffic islands with curbside parking and traffic passing directly in front of businesses.   The intersection has been redesigned at least twice since 1969.      

   The former Redwood restaurant which stood on the corner of Smith Ave. and Rt. 44 was burned by local firemen for training. In recent years the building had fallen into disrepair and according to one local newspaper some were happy to see it go. Today a Newport Creamery occupies the location.

     On May 22, NASA’s Apollo 10 “lunar lander” designated as “Snoopy” orbited the Moon at a mere ten miles above the surface. No humans had ever been this close to the Moon before.

     The Smithfield Jaycees elected new officers. Larry Catlow was elected President; Robert Smith, Internal Vice President; Ronald Agnes, External Vice President; Gene Viana, Treasurer; Donald Carlton, Secretary.

     The Board of Directors included Donald Brush, John Hines, William Ford, Ray Reilly, and Paul Zuchowski.

     The Cranford Club of Greenville held a meeting at St. Thomas Episcopal Church and installed new officers. Mrs. John Schlly, President; Mrs. Leo Glasheen, Jr., 1st Vice President; Mrs. Bernard Schiffman; 2nd Vice President; Mrs. Carl C. Emma, Secretary,; Mrs. Audrey Fenwick, Treasurer.

     The world’s newest ocean liner, the Queen Elizabeth II, made its maiden voyage from England to New York navigating with a Global Positioning System that was integrated with four navy satellites. This was the first private use of GPS ever utilized by a ship.  

Return to Top ▲Return to Top ▲