Mercyhurst Magazine Spring 2014

TRUSTEE SISTER MARY FELICE DUSKA RSM ‘64 Executive director, Mercy Terrace Apartments, Erie, Pa. • Trustee since May 3, 2003 Little Lucille Ann Duska wanted to be a nun when she was in 8th grade, or before, at Holy Family grade school, but her parents would not let her join the Franciscan Sisters who stafed the school until she graduated from high school. Lu went to Mercyhurst Seminary and there she met the Mercies. In 1952 she became one of them. She couldn’t take the name Lucille, as there already was a Mercy Sister by that name, so she submitted three names to the superior. One was the French variation of Felix, her dad’s name. She remembered his nickname, Felix the Cat, and would have none of that, but Felice had a soft sound and it was close enough to still honor him. It was 13 summers later before Sister Mary Felice would

fnally graduate from Mercyhurst College. She recalls it wasn’t much of a celebration, a dinner in the State Dining Room without any fanfare presentation, and without any diploma at all. It hadn’t yet arrived. Today she is on her second career as executive director of the Mercy Terrace Apartments, a senior living complex adjacent to the motherhouse. I used to say, “When I’m old enough, I’d like to live there.” It’d be like Cinderella’s glass slipper, the perfect ft for me being right next to the Sisters. There’s always a long waiting list to get in, but I haven’t even put my name on the list. Instead, “Frannie” and I are staying put. My pooch put the kibosh on that move.

TRUSTEE JOHN HENRY LANGER ‘95 President, H. Jack’s Plumbing and Heating Co., Cleveland, Ohio, and Erie, Pa. • Trustee since Feb. 22, 2014 Of the feld he was quiet and reserved. On the feld he was a terror. That’s John Henry Langer, who for four years wore his #73 jersey on the Laker football squad. He had it all: the size, speed and strength to be a defensive lineman in the NFL. That’s how good he was, recalls his former head coach, Joe Kimball. “He was a leader and one of the best players I ever had.” John was team captain and MVP for two years and for years held the record in the football weight room. His mother kept the sport in perspective and would tell John he needed to prepare for life after football. She wanted him to broaden his horizons and gain an appreciation for the arts and culture that are so much a part of her. He knew she had his best interest at heart and listened to her wisdom. It’s almost 20 years later and a successful entrepreneur has emerged. John turned in his cleats for custom-made suits to ft his rugged frame that of-the-rack clothes won’t

TRUSTEE JOSEPH G. NECASTRO ‘78 Chief administrative and fnancial ofcer, Scripps Networks Interactive, Inc., Knoxville, Tenn. • Trustee since Oct. 22, 2011

Young Joe NeCastro crushed the 1978 Pennsylvania CPA exam, ranking 1st on the test. I remember the president saying, “This is big news for our business department. Get something out immediately.” He added, “Keep an eye on that young man; someday he could make a great trustee.”What a prophecy that was. A few years ago I

went back to school (again) and one of the program’s prerequisites was accounting. There are three “Withdraws” for Acct 101 on my Mercyhurst transcript and you’d fnd another from Owens County Community College where I tried it online. I fnally succeeded in 2008-2009, having registered for an 8 a.m. Saturday course taught by an adjunct who wouldn’t know me. We had three 1-1/2 hour tests without computer software. It was our frst test and I was still struggling with the frst problem when one of the male students got up to use the men’s room, or so I thought. Wrong. He had completed the exam. I sat twisting my hair and using my eraser. Finally I got everything to balance, but, of course, was last to leave the classroom. “Think you got it, Mary?” the prof asked. “I think so” and then asked, “Mr. Jackson, that fellow who fnished lickety- split. Any chance his last name is NeCastro? I’m wondering if Joe NeCastro, one of our graduates, has a son at Mercyhurst now. If so, did you know his dad ranked #1 on the CPA exam?”The president of United Way of Erie County said, “I don’t know of anyone who’s ever done that.” I replied, “Well, our Joe did. He’s brilliant.” Got that right on the ledger.

ft. When you meet this newest Mercyhurst trustee, you would suspect he was a football player in an earlier life. His 6’3”/285 lb. playing weight is a giveaway. I remember our Sister Damien telling me, “I’m going

to the Langers for dinner. I’m a good friend of John’s mother and grandmother, you know.” Actually, I hadn’t. I always wondered how she met the Langers. Chances are it was her cowbell and raucous cheerleading at John’s games. I didn’t dare ask!


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