May 21 – Happy Birthday Eddie Paciunis

EddiePPPPPArlene Maranville’s name has a place in the history of Amsterdam, NY. She was the last principal of Bishop Scully High School when it was closed by order of Albany Diocese Bishop Howard Hubbard in June of 1990. Though Maranville had lived in Schenectady County since she was a teenager, she was actually a native of Amsterdam and a pretty well-known one at that. During her teenage years she was a talented dancer, who made several appearances on the Teenage Barn television talent show, which was immensely popular locally in the Capital District during the 1950’s. Maranville had been dancing since she was just a child but her father, who is today’s Amsterdam Birthday Celebrant never got the opportunity to see his oldest daughter perform.

Eddie Paciunis was born in Amsterdam in May of 1915 and grew up on Hamilton Street. His parents were both natives of Lithuania. Eddie graduated from Wilbur Lynch High School in 1932. He got a job as a weaver in the Bigelow Sanford carpet mill and in 1937, married another Amsterdam resident named Connie Zugzda. The couple had their first daughter, Arlene in 1941 and a second baby girl they named Joan, in 1943. As a father of two, Eddie avoided military service until March of 1944, when three years of war and preparation for the invasion of Europe forced the US War Department to go deeper into the draft rolls to obtain their needed manpower.

Paciunas did his basic training in California and went overseas that August. Just two months later on October 27, 1944, his wife received a telegram informing her that her husband had been wounded in action in France. Two weeks later, a second telegram arrived at the couple’s home at 40 Brookside Avenue, notifying Connie Paciunis that her husband Eddie had been killed in action on October 16, 1944, in Bratte, France, while serving with Company C. 317th Infantry. Private Edmund A. Paciunis was 29 years old when he made the supreme sacrifice for his country.

ArleneMaranville3333His remains did not get home till over four years later, when Connie buried her husband with full military honors in St. Casmir’s Cemetery. Then she went on with her life and the raising of her two girls. In July of 1953, she married Earl Bell, a native of Amsterdam’s South Side. They would move with the girls to Glenville.

Before being appointed principal at Bishop Scully, Eddie’s daughter Arlene had been a Latin Teacher for nine years at Amsterdam High School. After Scully closed, she became principal at Bethlehem High School. Eddie’s youngest daughter Joan also became a teacher.

On May 21 of last year, the Amsterdam Birthday Blog recognized this Amsterdam-born pharmaceutical entrepreneur.

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