Well, murals highlight women's memorial
Published: January 5, 2014
Three panels on a wishing well in the Coaldale Women's Memorial Garden are embossed with images of borough mothers who lost their sons to war and borough women who have contributed to the community.

The designer of the memorial, William Gaddes, of Nesquehoning, plans to add five additional murals to the well's black granite sides.

"We members of the Coaldale Veterans Memorial and the Coaldale United Veterans Organization (UVO) are looking for suggestions from the Panther Valley area regarding candidate women or families for the remaining images," Gaddes said.

Although the memorial garden is near the borough's veterans' memorials and honors women who have served in wars or have been impacted by them, Gaddes said the memorial honors all females.

"This is a memorial to all women. I believe it may be unique in that respect," Gaddes said. "It is a memorial dedicated to all women - not only those who served but also to those who supported, cherished and prayed for the safe return of their loved ones from harm's way.”

Work on the memorial began in 2009 after Gaddes completed a Walk of Honor for the 54 Coaldale men killed in action during World War II. At the time, the Gold Star Mother bronze plaque by Philadelphia sculptor Andrew Chernak and the Vietnam Women's Mural were dedicated.

The women's memorial has a concrete angel, which Gaddes hopes to eventually replace with one made of granite, and a "Gold Star Mother Walk of Honor" in the sidewalk leading to the well.

The three panels include images of Mary Nesterak, whose son was killed in action in Vietnam in 1968; the family of Sgt. Frank Urban, a World War II veteran; and Coaldale women nurse volunteers who attended to seriously ill and dying patients during the tragic Spanish flu epidemic of 1918-19.

The fourth panel is on order and will contain the images of Millie Flyzik and Faye Lewis. According to Gaddes, Flyzik was very active in community affairs and loved by many in the borough until her death in 2011.

"Miss Lewis is a renowned educator and is very active in her church and community. She is and has been a staunch supporter of the veterans' and the women's memorials," he said.

If he can raise enough money, Gaddes hopes to install a large bronze Gold Star Mother statue by Chernak.

Those wishing to support the completion of the women's memorial may remit checks to WWII Memorial Fund, c/o Coaldale Borough, Box 116, Coaldale, PA 18218.

The memorials are located behind Coaldale Borough Hall.