In 1945, when Meryll Frost was recognized as the most courageous athlete of the year, he said, “I am not a great man, but there is a great woman behind me.”

Ask Rosalie Mirenda, president of Neumann University in Aston, recipient of many distinguished awards, and she will tell you she isn’t a great woman but beside her at every award ceremony, “there stands a profoundly humble, supportive, generous man who has earned the ‘husband of a lifetime’ award many times over.”

Having retired as vice president of the Treasury Management spanision of PNC in 1998, Anthony D. Mirenda said, “I was recognized in my own right. I began my career with a woman as my boss, so the gender difference has never been a problem for me.

“What I feel when I stand beside this amazing woman,” said the former systems analyst, computer programmer and data processing specialist, “is the epitome of proudness – if there is such a word. She does such magnificent things and I am so happy and proud that she is recognized – especially by her peers.”

“What other man in this Archdiocese gets to go to the nicest places; meet the nicest people; enjoy good food and drink and not have to give the speeches anymore?” he asked.

His wife is equally admiring of him.

“Tony has made my life whole since the very beginning of our relationship until this moment. He introduced me to great music, great books and a great love of sports. We have worked, played and prayed together through all these years. He is a fabulous, supportive husband and father. As a parent, he worked diligently to earn (the money) so that the children could experience a Catholic education and his wife could earn her graduate degrees. Now that he is retired, he is a great ambassador for the university and is and will always be my best friend,” she said.

The youngest of six children, Tony was born and raised in St. Mary Magdalen Parish while Rosalie and her sister were from St. Paul Parish. “We didn’t know each other even though we both lived in South Philadelphia,” said the father of four and grandfather of five.

“We met at the Sons of Italy Club in 1958,” he said. ” I had just gotten out of the service and she was the best friend of the young woman who was my date for a Frank Sinatra Night. We started dating the next week and in 1960 we were engaged at Midnight Mass in St. Cyril’s Church, East Lansdowne, where her family had moved shortly before.”

In September the Mirendas, presently parishioners of St. Francis de Sales Parish in Lenni, will celebrate 50 years of a marriage, which according to Tony, “was blessed with an attitude of trust in God, pride in our faith and a love learned in our respective close, loving Italian families.

“We brought that love to our marriage and instilled it into our children, who in turn have done the same with our wonderful grandchildren.

“I knew I had someone very special,” he said. “Then the awards started coming and our children and grandchildren accompanied us to the various functions. They think it’s great to see their ‘Nonna’ – their Italian grandmother – get all the attention.”

“It’s been some ride,” he added, “and I’ve enjoyed every God-blessed minute of it.”

Sister Kathleen Leary,S.S.J., is the archdiocesan Coordinator for Vocations to Consecrated Life.