The PFT Mourns the Labor Day Death of Staff Member Donato Ezzio

Sep 05, 2007, 01:00 ET from Philadelphia Federation of Teachers

    PHILADELPHIA, Sept. 5 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- On Labor Day, the
 Philadelphia Federation of Teachers lost a dear friend, colleague and
 dedicated union activist, Donato "Dan" Ezzio. Mr. Ezzio was killed in a
 tragic accident after he suffered an apparent heart attack while driving
 out of a Rittenhouse Square parking garage on Sept. 3 after attending the
 Tri-State Labor Day Parade and Festival at Penn's Landing. Mr. Ezzio was 61
 years old.
     Dan Ezzio was a member of the PFT's staff for 22 years. He worked most
 recently as a PFT Health and Welfare Fund coordinator and has served as a
 PFT building representative, staff representative and information officer.
     "Dan was one of the finest people I have ever known," said PFT
 president Jerry T. Jordan. "Dan was kind, thoughtful and proud -- proud of
 his Italian- American heritage and proud to be a teacher, a union member, a
 South Philadelphian, everyone's friend and a devoted son, brother and uncle
 to four, cherished nephews.
     "In his professional life, as in his personal life, Dan cared for other
 people, and it was a role he relished. He treated every person he
 encountered with dignity, compassion and respect. He quietly assisted
 everyone in need, never asking for recognition or thanks. He had a slightly
 irreverent side, too, and he loved to make people laugh with his keen wit
 and own brand of subtle humor. He was fiercely loyal to the people and
 causes about which he cared, and there were many issues that mattered to
 him greatly," Jordan said.
     Former PFT president Ted Kirsch added: "Dan Ezzio was simply the nicest
 person in the world. The word 'no' was not in his vocabulary. If you needed
 something and asked Dan, he was never turn you down. He was thoughtful and
 a true gentleman."
     Dan was described by his sister, Amelia Ezzio diValerio, as an old-
 fashion, family-oriented man. He was born and raised in South Philadelphia,
 where he graduated from Bishop Newman High School. He earned bachelor's
 degree in history and master's degrees "plus 60" in math education from
 Temple University.
     Mr. Ezzio was a math teacher at Stoddard Fleisher Junior High and
 Benjamin Franklin High School who loved working with children.
     "He was a committed union activist who dedicated his career to making
 sure that every working person had a decent salary and benefits, worked in
 a safe environment and was treated fairly and with dignity," Jordan said.
 "He walked picket lines to make this happen. He worked union phone banks to
 help elect people who supported working people, and he helped countless PFT
 members through times of professional and personal crisis. Helping people
 was not only Dan's job; it was his life and his passion."
     Mr. Ezzio also described as one of the most knowledgeable people in the
 union and carried with him more than 35 years of institutional memory in
 the School District of Philadelphia. Colleagues at the PFT and the District
 relied on him for information about the history and nuances of the
 PFT-District contract and school district practices and policies. He
 followed Philly politics with enthusiasm and knew every player, major and
 minor, in Philadelphia political history.
     "Dan's humanity and compassion were legendary and were recognized in
 the many awards he received," Kirsch added: the Italian-American Press
 Knight of Goodness Award, Outstanding Service Award -- Order of the Sons of
 Italy in America, Columbus Forum Presidents' Award, United Way/AFL-CIO
 Community Service Award, the Philadelphia Math-Science Collaborative
 Certificate of Appreciation and the United Negro College Fund Certificate
 of Appreciation.
     He was a PFT building representative, a PFT delegate to the AFT
 Pennsylvania and American Federation of Teachers' conventions, a delegate
 to the Philadelphia AFL-CIO and Pennsylvania AFL-CIO, a past president of
 the Columbus Forum, active with the United Way's Combined Campaign and
 Community Development Fund and the PFT's representative on the Tri-State
 Labor Day Committee.
     Mr. Ezzio loved music, theater, opera, coin collecting and his four
 nephews who he said "were continuing in their mothers' footsteps of raising
 me." He considered himself a work-in-progress, always growing, learning and
     "Dan's untimely death came on Labor Day -- which his colleagues at the
 PFT thought of as Dan's day because he had been so intimately involved for
 so many years in the planning and execution of the annual Tri-State Labor
 Day Parade. Labor Day celebrates average working people. That was Dan
 Ezzio, an unpretentious working guy from South Philadelphia. In our hearts,
 Labor Day will always be Dan's Day -- the day on which he helped us
 celebrate the dignity and worth of people everywhere," Jordan said.
     He is survived by his father Salvatore; three sisters, Nancy Hill,
 Marie Vaughan and Amelia DiValerio; and brother, Felix Ezzio; his nephews,
 Edward M. Hill, Jamie P. Vaughan, Jonathan J. Hill and Peter Donte Ezzio;
 his brothers- in-law, Edward Hill, James Vaughan and Russell DiValerio; and
 a sister-in-law, Tina Ezzio. He is preceded by his mother Helen, his sister
 Alice and a niece Amanda.
     There will be a viewing on Thursday, 7-9 p.m. at Pennsylvania Burial
 Company Inc., 1327-29 South Broad Street, South Philadelphia, 19147. A mass
 of Christian burial will be recited at 9:30 a.m., Friday, September 7, at
 St. Rita's Church, Broad and Ellsworth Streets, Philadelphia. Burial will
 follow at the Calvary Cemetery, Route 70, in Cherry Hill, New Jersey.
     The family request that donations in Dan's memory be made to the
 American Diabetes Association, 150 Monument Road, Suite 100, Bala Cynwyd,
 PA, 19004, or the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers Scholarship Fund,
 1816 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, PA, 19103.
     The Philadelphia Federation of Teachers represents 16,500 teachers,
 librarians, nurses, counselors, paraprofessionals, non-instructional
 support staff, secretaries, food service managers and technical and
 professional employees of the School District of Philadelphia.

SOURCE Philadelphia Federation of Teachers