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April 26, 2013

Four added to business Hall

JOHNSTOWN — Being inducted into the Greater Johnstown/Cambria County Chamber of Commerce Business Hall of Fame is a family tradition for the Pickings.

On Friday, Adelle Picking became the third member to be enshrined.

She joined her husband, Howard M. “Skip” Picking III, a 2003 inductee, and her father-in-law, Howard M. Picking Jr., a member of the inaugural 1992 class.

“It’s big because my father-in-law was inducted and my husband was inducted,” Adelle Picking said during the event held at downtown Johnstown’s Frank J. Pasquerilla Conference Center. “I’ve been through a couple of these.”

She was one of four inductees, along with Mildred “Millie” Rizzo, Peter Samuel Contacos and Robert Barrett.

“I just think it’s great to honor these people,” said Mark Pasquerilla, president of Pasquerilla Enterprises and chairman of the 2013 hall of fame ceremony.

Picking served as president of the Cambria-Somerset Board of Realtors. She worked in the real estate business from 1987 until 2005. Her philanthropic activities included being involved with the Community Arts Center of Cambria County and Girl Scouts Talus Rock Council.

Along with all of those duties, she also served as an unofficial ambassador for the city, welcoming new residents to Johnstown.

“When the community was bringing in a lot of new people, she really worked with them finding the right housing, making the spouses and kids comfortable,” Pasquerilla said. “She was like a one-person welcome wagon.”

Barrett started with Bethlehem Mines Corp. and eventually became the administrator for the federal Mining Enforcement and Safety Administration, as appointed by President Gerald Ford. He has served on more than 40 boards and committees.

Barrett spent time as a Somerset County commissioner.

Working in the mining industry enabled Barrett to travel around the world.

“I’ve been under ground in about 200, 300 mines, including Russia and Australia and in between when I worked for the government,” Barrett said.

Contacos and Rizzo operated two of the most recognized restaurants in the area.

Rizzo co-founded Rizzo’s Restaurant in the 1960s. The Italian eatery opened at a location in Windber, where her husband’s family had operated a cafe since the 1930s.

“It’s a real honor,” Rizzo said. “I appreciate it. It’s something I never expected.”

Contacos was the longtime patriarch of Coney Island Lunch, a well-known hot dog stand in downtown Johnstown that was founded in 1916 and is still open today.

“My father was an old icon in the city. He loved the city,” said Samuel Contacos, current Coney Island owner and son of Peter Samuel Contacos.

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