Dr. Charles E Stacey


He never ran or threw a football.

He never shot or rebounded a basketball.

He never threw or hit a baseball.

And he never ran a race or tossed a javelin.

But not all Donora Dragons are athletes and when you think of a true Donora Dragon, in every sense of the word in an already crowded Home of Champions, there aren’t many who compare to the longevity in serving our community as Dr. Charles E. Stacey. Known simply as Chuck or Doc to most, it’s really hard to fathom how long he’s been involved with transforming our schools, community and history on a lot of different levels for over seventy years.

Born in 1931 and living most of his life on McKean Avenue between Tenth and Eleventh Streets, Chuck lived just a few blocks from the steel and zinc mills. He was a senior in high school during the 1948 Smog. His father Charles was the President of the Donora Board of Health, so not only did he live the event on the street but in the home as well.

In high school, Chuck was involved in sports but as a student manager and not as an a player.

After graduating from Donora High School in 1949, Chuck matriculated to the University of Pittsburgh to earn his bachelor’s in History and Education.

After graduating from Pitt, Chuck returned to his beloved Donora High School to teach both History and English having an impact on numerous Donora and Ringgold students and athletes. A favorite teacher to many, Chuck honed his storytelling skills on his students. Always involved in sports in some capacity, he would personally drive track athletes to state meets.

After Donora High School merged into the Ringgold School District, Chuck earned his master’s degree and then his PhD (becoming Doc) and worked his way up at Ringgold becoming a Principal then eventually Superintendent. After Donora and then Ringgold, he spent seven years as the Chairman of the Education Department at Carlow College where he still taught classes.

Outside of school, not only did Chuck sit on the board of the Donora Public Library but numerous other boards around the Mon Valley that included the Donora Historical Society.

We are uncertain exactly how long Dr. Stacey was involved with the Historical Society, but it had been decades. His passion for history and education was evident as he gave countless interviews about Donora history in general, but the 1948 Smog specifically. He often hosted student groups at the Smog Museum from Pitt, his alma mater. It’s one thing to be able to tell historical stories, it’s another to also to have lived it. While he told the same stories over and over to whoever asked, whether it was about the smog, football greats “Deacon” Dan Towler and Arnold “Pope” Galiffa, or the Bucket of Blood, he told each with same level of enthusiasm and thoroughness up until the end.

To see a video of Doc in action:

In October 2017, the Donora Historical Society participated with Point Park University in their Environmental Journalism Program’s 2017 Multimedia Workshop. Within a 24-hour window, the students and their mentor were expected to visit their host site, tape footage, conduct interviews and put together their video story. The video story can be seen here and features Doc Stacey: https://youtu.be/MokaNXcp9r8

As a rare link to Donora’s historic events that the foundation of the Smog Museum is based and as a true pillar of our community, Doc will be sorely missed.

In October 2018, the Donora Historical Society and Doc Stacey (in his customary Dragon orange and black) hosted Dr. Robert East from Washington and Jefferson College, and his visitors Dr. Qinfang Fan (pink coat) from China Petroleum University in Qingdao, China and her daughter and PhD candidate Haomin Lin (green coat) who stopped by the Smog Museum to learn more about the 1948 Smog.

Known even back then for his “dry sense of humor” and “mischievous nature.”


We first showed this photo on April 24 to honor Ken Barbao who is sitting in row two, second from the left.

This photo was taken on the steps in front of Donora High School.

Student Manager Chuck Stacey is shown in the back row, far right.  The two classmates and members of the 1949 baseball team would pass just ten days apart.

Our small window display to honor our former member and colleague, Dr. Charles E. Stacey (11/24/31 – 04/25/22) that one can see from the street

A few photos of Doc Stacey and some of the books that he wrote are shown in the window display. His prized Pitt beanie from 1949 is also on display.


In his last interview on the 1948 Smog on February 24, 2022, just two months prior to his passing, WTAE Channel 4 News anchor Shannon Perrine (sitting) and Video Journalist Brian Caldwell (behind the camera), stopped by the Smog Museum to interview a 1948 Smog survivor for a small segment for their hour-long Chronicle show, titled “Forecasting Our Future,” an effort by WTAE and Hearst Television to explore the impact of weather on all aspects of our lives. Dr. Charles Stacey was that survivor as a senior at Donora High School at that time.  He gave his last interview just like his first — with enthusiasm and thoroughness.  Thanks Doc

Dr. Charles Edward Stacey 1931-2022