Without sight, Gil Pries a vision of persistence

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Forty Years Ago

A story without an end, but what a beginning, and what a middle! Gilbert Pries lived in the 800 block of Circle Avenue here in Forest Park. He was like and unlike all the other boys. He was an Eagle Scout, a ham radio operator, a fine swimmer, a good fencer and a guitar player in a folk singing group. Born blind, he possessed an unstoppable will that won him debate victories, school honors and much respect.

In his late teens Gilbert moved with his family to N. Hollywood, and graduated high school with a scholarship. There, he began work on the biggest challenge of his life. He longed to be a Roman Catholic priest and, at 18, completed his novitiate. He would soon take his first vows. Some vocational directors discouraged him, yet Pries persisted. With help from the archdiocese, a word from a Vatican-connected bishop and his own resolute will, Gil Pries apparently turned the corner and embarked on his priestly career.

The trail ends there. If anyone knows what followed, or the whereabouts of Gil Pries now, please call me at (771) 366-0600.

From the Nov. 23, 1967, Forest Park Review

Thirty Years Ago

This story from Review reporter Judy Topinka: Howard Barch, 61, of Valparaiso, Ind., was literally brought back from death after he suffered cardiac arrest at the Naval Reserve Armory while attending a reserve meeting.

Fire Department Lt. Richard Gray praised Fireman Richard Romano and Donald Olson for their work in resuscitating Barch three times to the point where he could talk well enough to complain of breathing difficulty. Gray said most successful resuscitation missions get a heart attack victim breathing or semi-comatose during transportation to the hospital. To keep a victim alive and spirited enough to talk is "very unusual," said Gray.

Later in the report, Topinka differentiated between an EMT and a paramedic. "An Emergency Medical Technician," she wrote, "must use his/her own knowledge to resuscitate before getting the victim to the hospital. While a paramedic stays in contact with the hospital from whom he/she receives or transmits instructions or questions."

From the Nov. 9, 1977, Forest Park Review

Twenty Years Ago

Well, our binder holding the past issues for Twenty Years Ago is still missing. And the server in our back-up system at the library is still having a nervous breakdown. Good thing writers are keepers of words--and words people are often keepers of lists. Here's a list of never-before-published Book Titles by Improbable Authors:

"War and Peace" by Pee Wee Reese ... "The Sea Around Us" by Ezra Poundus ... "Dante's Inferno" by Jules Verno ... "The Age of Reason" by Jackie Gleason ... "The Wake of the Red Wichener" by James Michener ... "Moby Dicky" by Branch Rickey ... "The Guns of Navaroney" by Guglielmo Marconi ... "Big Ball of Waxson" by Shoeless Joe Jackson ... "Charge of the Light Brigadey" by Diamond Jim Brady ... "Cricket on the Hearthy" by Senator Joe McCarthy ... 'Bell, Book and Candle" by Mickey Mandle ... "Pistol Packin' Mama" by the Dali Lama ... "Watch on the Rhiney" by Sonja Heine ... "Me and the Mafia" by Jimmy Hoffia ... "Westward Ha!" by Yo Yo Ma ... "The Raino in Spaino Falls Maino-ly on the Plaino" by Royal Dano.

From the missing pages of 1987

Ten Years Ago

In our present and accounted for binder of 1997 back issues, we came upon a nicely written piece about the Mars landing of Pathfinder, the rocket that delivered the ground probe, Sojouner. A Cernan guest lecturer was at the Jet Propulsion Lab in Pasadena gathering information as it was being revealed. The opening paragraph of the article catches some of the wonder many have about the "Great Out There:"

"Imagine gazing across a desert vista of vibrant red and orange hues stretching to the horizon. In the balmy 10 degree temperature, a six-wheeled remote-controlled bug methodically explores the rocky terrain. Evening approaches, the winds intensify and you marvel at the exquisite blue sunset. Just another twilight on Mars."

From the Nov. 5, 1997, Forest Park Review

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Greg Netter from LOUISVILLE  

Posted: September 7th, 2020 3:42 PM

Hi! Gil Pries went on to do music evangelism. I met him when i was a child when he was the music evangelist for a tent revival a church had put on in a neighborhood i grew up in. He was a sweet, gentle man. I loved to to hear him play and sing. I remember one night at that church me, my brother, and my mom were to baptized. My mom and brother went ahead of me. When it came my time i refused to get in the baptismal. I felt that the water was to deep. That the water would be over my head. On refusing the congregation laughed at me. Which hurt. But at least they didn't force me to do it. After service Brother Gil was sitting at his merchandise table. I went up to him to say hi. He knew i was upset. He said" Here maybe this will help you feel better. ". He handed me a copy of his album titled " I have a friend" I was floored. It meant so much to me to have that. And even more that he wanted to reach out to me, a child, and try to make me feel better after my baptismal experience. Today i went to a goodwill and looked into a box full of records. Almost 45 to 50 years later i found that album. Never thought i'd see it again. It's nor a fragment of my life, a happy memory reclaimed. The church is now known as Evangel World Prayer Center. Then known as Evangel Tabernacle. All this happened in Louisville Kentucky. I will always love Brother Gil. He is a special man.

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