Henry “Kelly” Fesniak
- Post by: mcalibrary
- January 3, 2024
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Henry “Kelly” Fesniak received his elementary education at St. Mary’s Roman Catholic School in Marion Heights and then attended Roosevelt High School in Kulpmont for three years.
As a high school athlete, Kelly played both JV and varsity football with the Kulpmont Wildcats during the 1941, 42 and 43 seasons for Coach Mike Terry. He excelled in his position as right guard and was acclaimed “outstanding” during the Kulpmont/Mount Carmel 0-0 classic in October 1942. The Tornado offense was stopped not once, but twice, bumping into a stonewall – the hardest stone in the wall being Fesniak. He was a defensive stalwart and was an integral part of two goal line stands during that game. Kelly was a valuable defensive asset to his team throughout his football career with the Wildcats.
Fesniak also excelled in basketball while in high school and was often the high scorer for the Wildcats and finished second in scoring in the Keystone Basketball League following the 1943 season.
Baseball was also on Fesniak’s agenda. As a 16-year old, Kelly could be found playing catcher and left field with the Marion Heights Adult Baseball Team.
As a high school junior, Kelly was inducted into the Marine Corps, and prior to being shipped overseas was selected as honorary captain of the Kulpmont-Shenandoah football game.
Kelly was involved in sniper action during WWI with assignments in Guam, Spain and Tinian. His outfit was the first to land on Nagasaki, Japan after the atomic bomb had been dropped there.
Following his tour of duty, Kelly remained active in sports. He played semi-pro ball with the Anthracite Maroons, Shenandoah Presidents, and Shamokin Indians and was one of the original members of the Tri-Boro Eagles semi-pro football team. He had offers to play with the professional Wilmington Delaware Clippers and Bethlehem Bulldogs but could not because of his contract with the Presidents.
His greatest achievement was the opportunity to play with the Mansfield NJ semi-pro team against the Hamilton Tigers in Ontario, Canada. He was named the Outstanding Player of the Game by his teammates as well as the Mayor of Mansfield. No doubt that today’s induction into the Romance Chapter of the PA Sports Hall of Fame will also rank high on Kelly’s long list of achievements.