My World of Religion, Politics, Entertainment and Social Issues

If you are visiting my blog, expecting to see 'Toward a Progressive Catholic Church,' I have changed my title to reflect my wide assortment of interests. Having retired from my secular job, I hope to devote the rest of my life to my hobbies, ministries and perhaps a part-time job that makes good use of my communications skills. This blog will be designed to address my multi-faceted interests.

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Location: Rochester, New York, United States

I have an M.A. in Theology and an M.Div (Master of Divinity) from St. Bernard's School of Theology and Ministry. I am currently a media consultant and promoter of classical music. I am also certified as an officiant by the Federation of Christian Ministries for baptisms, weddings and funerals and minister independently of the Rochester Diocese. My life has encompassed many interesting paths: broadcasting, free-lance writing, video-production, music, ministry and a secular job in government. In addition to this blog, I have a YouTube site at and I have a Facebook page.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Revisiting 1936 Accident

Dear Blog Visitors:

As a follow-up to Father's Day, I did something yesterday that I contemplated for many years. I visited the resting place of Charles Nawrocki (1917-1936) who died following a one-car crash on April 12, 1936 (Easter Sunday). My father was driving, but the accident was not his fault, as confirmed by police and newspaper accounts.
As I thought about the accident, I would not be here today if there hadn't been a dramatic turn in my father's condition. He was initially reported in very critical condition and not expected to survive. However, he did manage to pull through. When he returned home following the accident, he had to remain flat on a gurney for six months to heal his broken back. HIs siblings took turns rotating the gurney every six hours. He remained in back pain for most of his life, despite multiple medical interventions, and he often related feeling badly about the death of his friend.

As I went through police and newspaper accounts, I discovered that my father and four friends had traveled to Buffalo to receive awards for their many years of selling newspapers (Rochester's Democrat and Chronicle). It was on the way back home, in Batavia, that the accident occurred. According to reports, a bus operated by the Western New York Motor Lines had just passed my father's car, and apparently pulled in front of the car too soon, forcing my father off the road. In addition to the death of Charles Nawrocki, others in the car received severe injuries, including my father, Chester McGhan, Michael Lakota, and Milton Weinstein.
The bus company was subsequently sued, but the jury was unable to reach a decision. (Forensic evidence was obviously not as sophisticated in 1936 as it is today.)

It was interesting to see how much information was provided in newspapers in 1936, including typographical errors (spellings, punctuation, etc.). Concerning the information in this story, newspapers reported that George Skivington was the attorney for the plaintiff (my father) and Clayton Smith was the attorney for the bus company. Newspapers also reported that the names of jury members were Catherine Mayled, Mary Radona, Albert Reinholtz, Clayton Scoins, Henry Benthin, Mrs. George Bradway, Mrs. Walter Gartley, Burton Reddy, Garnet Hoe, Charles Seekins, Laura Lang, and Barbara Mayhew.

I like to think my father would have appreciated my taking the time to locate the gravesite of Charles Nawrocki.


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