BRISTOL BITS: A longtime friendship that began with a '55 Chevy Bel Air

Published on Wednesday, 16 May 2018 21:23


Oftentimes guys think back on their first car. For me, it was a sweet, blue and white, two-door 1955 Chevy Bel Air that George Pahl had rehabbed to sell in 1963. I was 18 at the time and George was somewhere around 25. George remembers selling it to me, and we have had a kind of neat longtime acquaintance with one another because of it.

The Pahl family started in the car servicing business when his father, George Sr., started George’s Service in 1938 on Stafford Avenue. The younger Pahl, who joined his father in 1950, recalled working on cars in all kinds of weather, especially because the car lift was outside the garage.

“I was just fooling around then,” George Pahl said. “I greased cars and did everything. At the time, I looked at Gustafson’s (car repair service on Broad Street) and they were good to me. They were just wonderful people (with multiple repair stalls) and looking at them I got motivated.”

When his father retired, George ran the operation.

“I was there for 30 years,” Pahl said. “I just loved working on cars and meeting people. Forestville has been good to me.”

Forestville in more than one way. He married the “girl next door,” Joanne Palladino, and she would become an important part of the business. They would have two children, Jay and Sherri, who is now Sherri Thompson.

“She (Joanne) was probably the best wife a man could have,” Pahl said. “She did all of the book work, all of it, and if it weren’t for her I wouldn’t have been successful. I met her at age six when she was my neighbor in Forestville. I knew her for 70 years.”

When George Pahl retired in 2003, his son, who came into the business two years prior, took it over. Jay Pahl is married to Ann Marie (Verardi) and they have a son and a daughter, A.J., and Julia. A.J., who is a sports management student at UConn, was recently selected as one of the student managers of the mens basketball team. Julie, a student a Bristol Central, is Miss Hartford County Outstanding Teen 2018.

Sophie Jadowicz

I recently wrote about the late Sophie Jadowicz, a nurse at Bristol Hospital. She was Bob Kalat’s aunt in being his mother, Wanda’s, sister. Bob told me that she was the last nurse to live in the former home for nurses located where the hospital’s medical office building is today.

Bob is wondering if the portrait of his aunt is still somewhere in the hospital and if not, where? Does anyone know?

Rewind 1998 (20 years ago)

With the recent passing of Frank Sinatra, Stretch Norton recalled when Ol’ Blue Eyes first appeared at Lake Compounce, the amusement park his family owned for generations. The promotional material for the 1939 event listed the singer as third on the totem pole and had his last name spelled incorrectly as Sinitra. Sinatra would appear three times at the park altogether and in his last performance, had top billing among the orchestra’s singers.

That was on Aug. 24, 1941, when the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra with Sinatra, Buddy Rich and Connie Haines broke all attendance records for the park. According to The Bristol Press at the time, there were 4,506 people at the performance in bettering the previous mark by 700.

Write to Bob Montgomery, c/o The Bristol Press, 188 Main St., Bristol, CT 06010. Call 860-973-1808 or email:

Posted in The Bristol Press, Bristol on Wednesday, 16 May 2018 21:23. Updated: Wednesday, 16 May 2018 21:25.