One of Johnstown’s most prominent and well-liked political leaders, Anthony Pinizzotto, known affectionately as “Red” to friends, family members and colleagues, died on Monday.
He was 92.
Pinizzotto, a West End resident who was born on Jan. 1, 1928, previously served four terms on Johnstown City Council and, until the time of his passing, held a position on the Greater Johnstown Water Authority board of directors.
He was also a longtime Democratic Party committeeman, who was a fixture at the polls inside Christ the Saviour Cathedral social hall on election days.
Those close to him remembered Pinizzotto as a good man who cared for the city of Johnstown.
“Red was like my second father to me,” former City Councilman William Gentile Jr. said.
“Him and I were real, real, real close. He was an honest man. If he said something, he meant it. There’s nothing even bad to say about that guy. That guy was honest and very intelligent.”
Pinizzotto spent 34 years with the water authority.
“Red was very engaging,” Michael Kerr, the authority’s resident manager, said.
“Red always had a good joke or two. … I think that mainly with Red he was very dedicated to the city of Johnstown and diligent in making sure that business was being conducted to favor the city and the people that live here. A nice amicable personality is the best way to have everybody on the same page.”
Pinizzotto was involved with the Pennsylvania Tax Equalization Board, which he was appointed to by then Gov. Tom Corbett, a Republican.
“I had the honor of meeting Red while I was running for attorney general in 2004,” Corbett said. “He quickly became a key adviser and a trusted friend throughout my terms as attorney general and governor. Red had a larger-than-life personality and everyone who had the privilege of knowing him was a better person for it.”
Pinizzotto also provided assistance to the West End Improvement Group, especially during the community organization’s early days.
“He did whatever he could do to help us when we started early on,” WEIG member and City Councilwoman Marie Mock said. “He lent a hand as much as he possibly could. He was at cleanups with us. Anything we needed he tried to figure out how to help us. He was a good part of our beginning.
“He really, truly loved the West End. He loved the community. He tried to help as many people as he could. He was a good person. He truly was a good person. Kind-hearted. Would do anything for anybody.”
Mock and Mayor Frank Janakovic both described Pinizzotto as a mentor to them on council.
“He helped me with a lot of issues and questions and kind of orientating me with council and the procedures,” Janakovic said. “I became close friends with Red over the years. Red meant a lot to the city. Anybody that has been in his role for that long helped the city through some rough times and tough decisions.”
Pinizzotto was a retired meat cutter and transportation director for Cambria County’s Office on Aging, who, until recently, was an active member of the Greater Johnstown Community YMCA, arriving at the gym at 4:30 a.m., five days a week, for workouts.
He was a longtime member of St. Therese of the Child Jesus Roman Catholic Church in Lower Yoder Township, participating in the ushers club, Holy Name Society and festival committee. Pinizzotto married the former Olga Valigush at the church on Aug. 12, 1950.
A funeral Mass, celebrated by the Rev. Bernard Karmanocky, pastor, will be held at St. Therese on Friday at 10 a.m.
“He was a great asset,” Karmanocky said. “The parish owes a debt of gratitude to him for all the service that he gave.”
Friends will be received on Thursday, from 2 p.m. until 8 p.m., at Frank Duca Funeral Home’s Westmont Chapel, located at 1622 Menoher Blvd.
Committal will take place at Grandview Cemetery. Donations can be made in remembrance of Pinizzotto to the Cambria County Association for the Blind and Handicapped.