BRISTOL BITS: Linda DiMatteo, Jerry Rafaniello win dance contest

Published on Friday, 24 September 2021 15:06


In my last column, I mentioned how Linda DiMatteo and Jerry Rafaniello won a dance contest as partners, and I thought that was back in high school. Not, as Jerry emails me:

“Let me help you with the dance facts. It was not long ago and it occurred at one of the last Bristol Stomps at the Polish Club. I did dance with Linda and had a lot of laughs. But...I won the dance contest with my wife, Carroll. We had been dancing together for over 50 tears at that point and we still had a few more moves that impressed the judges.

“Linda presented the trophy and took this picture of me. It was a fun night with lots of great friends.”

Richard Jackson’s creative words of dismay

In Monday’s column, Stephen Lincoln shared some words that Mr. Jackson would use when his students in his classroom would get a little out of control.

Tom Murphy, Plainville resident, a West Woods School graduate in 1959, and a high school classmate and friend of mine from the past, had Mr. Jackson as a teacher and baseball coach in 1957 and 1958 at the grammar school. Tom mentioned Mr. Jackson used a few adjectives when addressing an out-of-control class:

“I’m shocked, grieved, mortified, overcome and somewhat dismayed!”

Johnie Floyd Memorial Cross Country Course

Another fine teacher and coach who is remembered is Mr. Floyd, a track and cross country coach at Bristol Eastern during the 1960’s. According to councilman Peter Kelley (who’s son, Connor, is one of the city’s best-ever distance runners), the cross country course at Page Park, Bristol Eastern’s home course, will be dedicated to this late Bristol icon.

It will be named the Johnie Floyd Memorial Cross Country Course, and will be dedicated at 3 p.m., at the last regular-season meet between Bristol Central and Bristol Eastern this fall,, always an exciting event. Tamara Stafford-Kirk will host the afternoon and it’s hoped that many former Floyd proteges attend. (Date of meet will follow.)

Shout out to Ray Gagnon

Each year at this time, I think of Ray Gagnan, a retired photographer who was seen around town often through the Chamber of Commerce and MumFest. One photo of him is with Bristol celebrity Gary Burhoff, a.k.a., “Radar O’Reilly” of *M*A*SH* TV and movie fame. I believe the photo of Ray and Radar was taken the year in which Gary was the parade marshal.


Celebrating birthdays tomorrow will be Noreen Zurell, Pat Nelligan and former Bristol resident Janice Hall Mercieri. Former resident Paul Reimer celebrates on Monday.

Philip and Rocco Antonio  Testa – World War II casualties

It was on this day at Salerno, Italy that Bristol native Philip Testa was killed during action in World War II. This took place after he survived the campaigns in Africa and Sicily. A rifleman with Company M, 30th Infantry, he was the son of Domenico and Vincenza Testa of 211 South St. in Bristol. 

Born here on Oct. 29, 1919, he was employed by New Departure when he entered military service. This after graduating from South Side School, and being a member of St. Anthony’s Church.

A second son, Rocco, was killed in his very first action of the war on the Anzio Beachhead less than a year later, on June 1, 1944. He had been a gunner in an antitank company in the 303rd Infantry.

Also a South Side School graduate and member of St. Anthony’s Church, he had been employed by the Horton Manufacturing Company before enlisting on Feb. 19, 1943.

Contact Bob Montgomery at or by calling 860-583-5132.

Posted in The Bristol Press, Bristol on Friday, 24 September 2021 15:06. Updated: Friday, 24 September 2021 15:09.