If you don’t recognize the name, he is also known as “Gump”; he is a popular icon in Phoenixville.
His childhood days through the fourth grade were spent in the Corner Stores area (Valley Forge and Whitehouse roads) when his family moved to Zollar Drive in East Pikeland.
After graduating, he first worked for 10 years for Boiler Engineering and Supply Company out on Second Avenue, then the Great Valley School System for 31 years. He retired in 2005 to care for the love of his life — his wife, Pat.
She was the one to give him the nickname of “Gump” after the hit movie “Forrest Gump” was released as he is as much of a gentle, kind and loving man as the character. His favorite line from the book, on which the movie is based, is “I may not be a smart man, but I know what love is.”
“Love” well describes his life. Along with Pat, there were three children — Richard III, Tina and Melissa and five grandkids.
The Devaney family traveled yearly to visit Pat’s mother and family in Ashboro, NC. Gump recalled all three meals each day were like a banquet of food. Talk about southern hospitality and delicious eating!
In 2009 Pat spread her wings, leaving this world. A few years later, daughter Melissa went to be with her mother — at the very young age of 44. Gump was at a loss. Retired, Pat gone, and a lot of time on his hands, he turned to the world of photography. He is one of Phoenixville’s popular photographers, and he shares his pictures and inspirational writings on Facebook.
Gump took over the administration of “You Know You’re from Phoenixville When” page, which had approximately 400 members. Today, it has expanded to more than 11,000 members. He is a real supporter of all of the area events and fundraising events.
You can find him and fellow photographers combing the streets — snapping and sharing their finds. Several years ago he met Nancy McGuigan on a street corner while she was walking her dog. Today, they are best buddies — friends, sidekicks, “the tag team gang.” Together or separately, either can be found somewhere in Phoenixville, and usually with a camera.
Gump is a “meat-and-potatoes guy,” and he loves a good meatloaf. So here is a meatloaf and a potato recipe for you to try.
THE BEST MEATLOAF RECIPE
1 ½ lbs. ground beef or combo mixture
1 cup milk
1 egg, lightly beaten
¾ cup bread crumbs
1 medium onion, chopped
3 Tbsp. chopped green pepper
1 Tbsp. ketchup
1 ½ tsp. salt
1 tsp. prepared horseradish
1 Tbsp. brown sugar
2 Tbsp. fresh chopped parsley
Additional ketchup for drizzling
In a large bowl combine all the ingredients, except the meat. Crumble the beef over the mixture and mix well. Press into an ungreased standard loaf pan. Bake 350-degree preheat oven for at least one hour. Drizzle additional ketchup on top and bake 15 minutes longer. Meat thermometer should have reach 160-degrees.
CHEESEY BAKED POTATOES
6-8 Yukon gold potatoes, halved lengthwise
¼ cup salted butter
¾ grated cheese (Parmesan)
1 tsp. black pepper
Melt butter in bottom of 9 x 13 pan. Sprinkle cheese generously over butter. Sprinkle pepper. Place potatoes, cut side down into the butter. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and bake for approximately 45 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to set for a few minutes before moving from pan. This helps to make them crispier.
Let me hear from you: firstname.lastname@example.org. Search YouTube for “Look Who’s Cooking with Bette Banjack,” as well phoenixvillenews.com (search bar: Banjack) for this column. Find Bette on Facebook by searching “Bette Banjack’s Downtown Kitchen.”