Cardinal O'Hara to honor hall of fame inductees

Tue, Mar 13th 2018 03:00 pm

TONAWANDA — Cardinal O'Hara High School will honor new inductees into the school's Distinguished Alumni Hall of Fame and Athletic Hall of Fame at a banquet and ceremony April 14 at Banchetti by Rizzo's in Amherst.

The school's 2018 Distinguished Alumni inductees are Sandra DiPasquale '75, Curt Gaume '65, Robert Pecoraro '76 and Thomas Via '76. Athletic Hall of Fame inductees are the 1976 baseball team, Timothy Dyrek, Robert Judge '90 and Charles LaDuca '69.

Sandra DiPasquale, DrPH, is a health care specialist at the Center for Industrial Effectiveness, University at Buffalo School of Engineering, whose work includes improvement training and consultation. She is a parishioner of St. Pius X Parish in Getzville. While at O'Hara, she was a member of the basketball, bowling, badminton and volleyball teams.
Curt Gaume has been director of student financial aid at Canisius College since 1987. In 37 years in student financial aid, he has made more than 700 presentations at local high schools and trained counselors. He has worked with the Middle State Regional Assembly of the College Board and the state Department of Education. While at O'Hara, he was a member of the cross country, track and field, and basketball teams, and part of school plays. He also managed the school's bookstore.

Robert Pecoraro is a U.S. Air Force Retired Colonel with 30 years active service. He was honored with the Southwest Asia Service Medal and Kuwait Liberation Medal, and received a master navigator rating in 1996. Now living in North Tonawanda, Pecoraro is a city alderman, a life member of the Buffalo and Erie County Naval and Military Park, a platelet donor for UNYTS, and a board member of the Erie Niagara Sunrise Exchange Club.

Thomas Via is senior vice president and general manager of Babies 'R Us in the U.S. Via was a board member for Starlight Children's Foundation, Canada. At O'Hara, Via took part in student government, National Honor Society and Junior Achievement.

Timothy Dyrek, who died recently, began serving as O'Hara's assistant basketball coach in 1981, later serving as head coach from 1987-90. After a hiatus, he returned to coach at O'Hara from 1999-2006. Dyrek's team received the Pennell Sportsmanship Award, and went to the Class C finals in the New York State Catholic High School championship. He helped establish the Sean Patrick Scott Legacy Scholarship, which has brought in more than $37,000 to O'Hara.

Robert Judge, a supervisory officer with Immigration and Customs Enforcement, has been a federal law enforcement officer since 1996. He served five years in the U.S. Coast Guard Reserves. Co-founder and director of Parish Athletic Wrestling at his parish in Apex, N.C., he is an active member and Deputy Grand Knight of the Knights of Columbus. A varsity wrestler at O'Hara, Judge was ranked fourth in Western New York. He also was a varsity football player.

Charles LaDuca is owner and CEO of Pro Bats, a wood baseball bat company. While in Pine Valley, he was named Division III Coach of the Year 13 times. During his 23 year tenure, the team won 13 league titles, six sectional titles, three Far West Regional Titles and one Class D state championship. The school named the baseball field after him in 2008. At Fredonia Central School, where he was assistant varsity baseball coach, he was named Coach of the Year. At O'Hara, LaDuca lettered in baseball, wrestling and baseball. His baseball team won the Msgr. Martin title in his junior year.

The 1976 O'Hara Baseball Team won the first of two Georgetown Cup championships. Head coach Elmo Drilling and Hall of Fame pitcher Bill Scherrer led the team to an 11-5 finish.  

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