Edmund “Eddie” P. Pisano, a former Scranton public works director and long-time Hill neighborhood activist died Monday May 20, 2019 at home after a lengthy illness. He was 79.
He is survived by his devoted wife of 55 years, Rose Marie; a daughter, Linda, Scranton; a son, Christopher, Moscow; and three grandchildren, Garrett, Gage, and Sophia.
He is also survived by a brother, Michael Petrucelli and wife, Maureen, Clarks Summit;
and a sister, Barbara Jumper and husband, Al Dallas; and several nieces and nephews.
Also surviving are a sister-in-law, Josephine Cavall and husband, Jerry, Newark,
Delaware; and two brothers-in-law, John Giordano and wife, Florence, Florida; and
Louis Giordano and wife, Joan, Perkasie.
Born on September 26, 1939 to the late Carmel Pisano and the late Harriet Petrucelli, of
North Scranton, he was also preceded in death by his beloved step-father, Anthony
Petrucelli, whom he called "Dad," and a sister-in-law, Ann Giordano.
He grew up in the Bull's Head section of North Scranton and attended city schools,
graduating from Scranton Technical High School in 1958.
He joined the U.S. Coast Guard right out of high school and was stationed for four years
in New Orleans. He traveled the country as point-guard on the Coast Guard's basketball
team. After his military service, he returned to Scranton and worked a series of jobs for
local businesses, including Diamond Vending, before being hired by the U.S. Postal
Service as a mail carrier, a job he grew to love because of the daily contact it afforded
him with city residents.
Pisano was best known as an energetic and highly vocal leader of the Hill Neighborhood
Association, which he helped found in 1977 as a way to unite the neighborhood's
residents, businesses, and institutions in a long-term battle against increasing levels of
blight and crime in the Hill Section. For two decades, he worked tirelessly on countless
neighborhood improvement projects as the HNA's housing and blight chairman. He had
a very strong talent for winning cooperation from every corner of the community.
He had an iron will and a tenacious work ethic, which were tempered by a gregarious
personality and a sharp-witted and ever-present sense of humor.
In 1986, Mayor David Wenzel tapped Pisano to head the City of Scranton's Department
of Public Works. Pisano took an unpaid leave of absence from his job as a mail carrier
and, for three and a half years, poured his heart and soul into turning the DPW into one
of the most efficient and highly productive departments in city history. No job was ever
too big or too small for the DPW to handle under Ed's passionate leadership.
He was a meticulous planner and resourceful organizer. Whenever wide-spread
problems were identified, such as dirty streets, potholes, broken equipment and
flooding in creeks, streams and the river, Pisano developed ambitious, full-scale
programs to tackle tasks equally throughout the city.
Pisano constantly credited the men and women who worked at the DPW from 1986 to
1990 for the department's success. A blue-collar union man his entire life, Eddie
believed in treating the workers under his supervision fairly and with great respect.
Scranton taxpayers took note of the city-wide improvements ushered in by the DPW
under Pisano's direction. When Mayor Wenzel announced in 1989 that he would
not seek a second term in office, Pisano received an overwhelming groundswell of
grassroots support to run for mayor.
The only thing that stood in his way was the federal Hatch Act, which forbids federal
employees from engaging in partisan politics. The law would have required Pisano to
quit his 20-year job with the post office and forfeit a large share of the pension and
benefits he had earned. For that reason, Eddie made a very difficult decision not to run
for office, placing his family's security first.
"Today, people still believe that Ed Pisano could have been elected mayor," former
Mayor Wenzel wrote in his 2006 book, "Scranton's Mayors."
Pisano was forever grateful to Mayor Wenzel for giving him the opportunity to serve as
the city's public works director, and for allowing Ed to run the department with a free
"He gave me a chance to find out what I was really made of," Eddie once told a friend.
Pisano viewed public service as a great honor and an opportunity to make things better
in the community. He took great joy in helping friends and strangers alike. And though
he enjoyed the popularity that came with doing a high-profile job well, he always
approached his work with a pure heart and the right intentions.
Outside of work, he had no hobbies and no interest in traveling. He relaxed over a cup
of coffee and a piece of pie at the counters of local diners, discussing current events and watching the Yankees on TV.
Pisano retired from the post office in 1993. He then joined his son in business, Pisano’s Vending, Inc. and ran Pisano’s convenience store at 300 Olive Street where he worked each day with his characteristic drive and enthusiasm until illness finally forced him to slow down.
The Pisano family wishes to extend their heartfelt gratitude to the Jewish Home of Eastern Pennsylvania, and especially to its second-floor nurses and staff for the loving, compassionate, and skillful care they provided Eddie. He also received wonderful care from Compassionate Care Hospice and from Visiting Angels, especially Sharon and Mada.
A blessing service will be held Wednesday May 29th at 10:30 am in the Solfanelli-Fiorillo Funeral Home Inc., 1030 N. Main Ave. Scranton. Friends and family may call Tuesday May 28th from 4 – 7 pm. In lieu of flowers, the family asks for donations to be sent to Compassionate Care Hospice, 366 N. Main St. Taylor, PA 18517.