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
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
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
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