Today In Salisbury’s History: Saturday, May 18, 1974

Saturday, May 18, 1974 —

  • Surgeons at Peninsula General Hospital for the first time performed open-heart surgery. The patient was a 48-year-old Crisfield woman who suffered rheumatic fever as a child. The five-hour operation was performed by Drs. Richard E. Hughes and Nevins W. Todd. The woman’s heart functions were bypassed for 57 minutes by a Heart-Lung Machine.
  • Two men were killed — and two more nearly died — in a bizarre accident at Salisbury-Wicomico Airport. John P. D’Angelo and pilot Ellison Driscoll were killed when a Jeep Cherokee driven by an airport employee, Theodore Samuels, strayed into the path of the Piper Cherokee that was taking off. After its left stabilizer clipped the Jeep, the plane rose about 300 feet in the air before the tail section fell off. As the plane was rising, it nearly collided with a crop dusting plane being flown by Dennard Parsons. FAA officials said their probe would likely take several weeks.
  • Wicomico County Public Schools were preparing for Graduation Weekend, in which nearly 900 students would be graduating from Mardela, Pittsville, James M. Bennett Senior and Wicomico Senior High Schools.
  • While conducting an investigation in Fruitland, Salisbury Police Officer Coulbourne Dykes discovered six marijuana plants growing in cans outside a home. Dykes alerted Fruitland Police, who obtained a warrant and entered the home at 76-A Camden Ave., where they found six more plants growing inside, as well as numerous marijuana seeds. Four young men were arrested.
  • Beth Gismondi, Marie Bendler and Karen Hoffman — all Wicomico Senior High School standouts — were each presented with $200 scholarship checks by the Wicomico Council of PTAs. The three women plan careers in education. Bendler and Hoffman will attend Salisbury State; Gismondi will attend Towson State.

Greg Bassett is editor and general manager of Salisbury Independent. Reach him at

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