Pasquale Vincent DeBlasio, the former mayor and community leader who helped transform the way that Bridgeville and its neighbors solve regional issues, died on Saturday, March 1. He was 84.
As a child, DeBlasio was told that his rheumatic heart fever would likely kill him before he turned 45. From that point on, he lived life like he was on borrowed time.
He became a partner in a family accounting practice while also working as a full-time professor at Community College of Allegheny County. He married and fathered four sons while also volunteering for community groups throughout the region, including stints as Bridgeville’s mayor and president of the Char-West Council of Governments.
Year after year, he outlived his supposed expiration date.
“Medical technology somehow seems to stay a heartbeat ahead of me,” he said.
DeBlasio was born and raised in Hazelwood, PA the son of Patsy and Narcey DeBlasio. He grew up the third of five children in a loving first-generation Italian immigrant household with his family sharing the traditions of both worlds. His father worked for 38 years at J&L Steel. Pat treasured the company watch that his father passed onto him as a reminder of the values he grew up with—service, family, and overcoming adversity. Those tenets were at the core of who Pat was.
At age 11, while attending school at St. Stevens Parish in Hazelwood, he was diagnosed with rheumatic heart fever—a primary cause of early heart failure. Pat was told that would likely die in his early 40s. From that moment forward, he lived as though he was racing against a clock.
In 1959, Pat graduated from Duquesne University and began teaching at Point Park, where he met Janet Cichinelli, a CPA and fellow Accounting Instructor. The two married in December 1962, and he joined her accounting practice.
In 1966 Pat became a member of the founding faculty of the newly created Community College of Allegheny County. One year later, he earned his masters degree in business administration from Duquesne.
Under Janet’s supervision became a CPA, but Pat also remained a Professor of Accounting at Community College of Allegheny County—where he taught until he retired in 1998.
Although Pat was a full-time Accounting Professor, a Partner in a family accounting practice, and the father of four boys, he still felt the call to contribute to his community. He became a cubmaster, a lector at St. Agatha’s Church and, as a founding member of the Bridgeville Community Association, he led the Bridgeville Borough celebrations for the United States Bicentennial in 1976.
He served as Mayor of Bridgeville from 1978 – 1986. In that role, he led Bridgeville and other municipalities in founding the Char-West Council of governments. He also served as the organization’s first president.
To this day the Char-West Council of Governments continues to provide services to local municipalities, saving taxpayer dollars while enhancing each member community. Pat followed his passion for community service in other capacities, too, including roles on the Bridgeville Planning Commission and the board of the Southbridge Emergency Services.
Pat outlived his expiration date many times. As he would say “medical technology somehow seems to stay a heartbeat ahead of me.”
When he arrived at his first expiration date in his early forties his damaged heart was well into congestive failure. At this time new procedures to replace damaged heart valves with porcine valves became available which Dr. Spanky Lewis, who trained under Pat’s original cardiologist Dr. Frank Gregg, performed in 1978.
A second set of valves came in 1998.
Finally, in January of 2005 at the age of 68 (almost 30 years past his initial ‘expiration date’) Dr. Dennis McNamara and the late Dr. Brack Hattler took a chance on a new, but slightly damaged, heart through the generosity of organ donation.
With this, Pat was given a new lease on life. Pat was eternally grateful for all of the doctors, nurses, and caring support personnel at UPMC who were a critical part of his care.
A member of the Duquesne Red Masquers during his college days, he was a hopeless romantic with a penchant for love stories and Broadway musicals, often encouraging his sons to show affection and love in their lives.
He and Janet gave their four boys plenty of freedom to find their own paths, believing that if they gave them love and good values that they would eventually find their way.
The family spent summer vacations at the Deer Valley YMCA Camp in Ft. Hill, PA. These Deer Valley experiences left a lasting impression on the family and to this day they start their meals with songs that they learned at camp.
Pat enjoyed co-hosting the annual “Uncles Fishing Trip” to Canada with his brothers-in-law and lifetime partners in crime, Ron Peters and Tom Skelly. These trips grew to include their sons and grandchildren as well. No matter where in the world he was, he drew others in with his gregarious laugh and insatiable curiosity that kept all he met feeling both connected and engaged.
Pat is survived by his wife of 58 years, Janet Cichinelli DeBlasio, his sister Elizabeth Ann Peters (Ron), and brother Roger (Dorothy), four sons; Pasquale, Mario (Linda), Gian (Heather), and Franco (Mary Jo), their seven grandchildren Blake (Oksana), Juliana (Christopher) Scorsone, Geno, Sarah Elizabeth, Jack, Vincent, Anthony, and their first great-grandchild Vincent M. Scorsone, as well as many nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his mother Narcey and his father Patsy, his sisters Jeanne (Tom), and Mary Stella who died as a child. Pat made joy from our sorrows all the way to the end, passing peacefully at home surrounded by his wife, children, and grandchildren.
Visitation will be Thursday, March 4, and Friday, March 5 from 2 PM – 4PM and 7 PM – 9 PM each day at Beinhauer-Fryer Funeral Home in Bridgeville (430 Washington Pike, Bridgeville, PA 15017). For those unable to attend, the visitation will be livestreamed on Zoom.
The funeral mass will be held on Saturday, March 6 at 10 AM at Holy Child Catholic Church, 212 Station St, Bridgeville, PA 15017. There will be a reception immediately following the mass for friends and family.
The family requests that any remembrances for Pat’s life be made in the form of a tax-deductible charitable donation to South Bridge Emergency Medical Services, P.O. Box 142, Bridgeville, PA 15017.