RAYMOND V. Ponzo, a man who could be called “Mr. Music,” died Friday, but the music he loved lives on because of his efforts.
Ponzo not only directed music, but he instilled a love of music in those he taught.
That is in addition to his own participation in the Wheeling Symphony Orchestra and as director of McMechen’s Men’s Chorus.
He was Shadyside High School Band director for 30 years, and he also produced and directed minstrels and started pep bands at basketball games.
The band earned numerous awards at competitions over the years. President John F. Kennedy and President Richard M. Nixon honored the band for its patriotic halftime shows.
Before going to Shadyside as band director and teacher, he was at Benwood Union High School where he was band director from 1957-65.
Music, however, wasn’t his sole interest. He was a village councilman and was interested in athletics, serving as coach, scorekeeper and announcer. Then, too, he was high school yearbook adviser, and his photographic skills were a plus in that capacity as well as in various sports.
PONZO and his wife, Bette Anne, also deceased, directed their efforts to help the community far above and beyond any titles that they carried.
His wife made her own mark on the community and had the distinction of being the first woman to serve the Shadyside Board of Education, and she was a member for 26 years. She also was involved in numerous church and community activities, including the Shadyside Recreation Board, Big Brothers Big Sisters Board member and the Shadyside Sharing Tree in addition to being a basketball scorekeeper.
It is often said that if you want something done, ask a busy person. Ray and Bette Ponzo were busy people, but they always had time for others.
And their daughters, Raeanne Ponzo and Melanie Haswell, learned from their examples in regard to community service and thoughtfulness concerning others. With the intent to help others in the future, the two women have requested that memorial contributions be made to the Bette Anne and Raymond Ponzo Scholarship Fund.
THE LEGACY of their parents endures – in music, civic endeavors and service to others.