Born March 13, 1921 and passed away April 25, 2020. Dr. Pisani was the son of Italian immigrants, Antonio and Adolorata (Dora) Ciccarelli Pisani. He was born and raised in New Haven. He inherited his thirst for knowledge from his dad and his kindness from his mom. His father, college educated, came to New Haven from Italy and launched an Italian weekly newspaper. Influenced by him, Larry became captivated with people and ethnic issues. He went on to receive a four year scholarship to Yale University and later a fellowship for graduate school, where he received his PH.D in 1951. In 1957 he published his book entitled The Italian in America, a social study and history -- still available on Amazon. He began his teaching career at UMass, Amherst and taught at several universities before returning to New Haven, a decade later, at a time when his mother was ailing. In the early 1960s, he began teaching sociology at Southern Connecticut University, developed and became chairman of the sociology department, where he remained teaching full time and then as an adjunct, for 50 years, until 90 years old.
He is the author of numerous articles for scholarly journals. His occasional essays, largely relating to the Italian American community, have appeared on the editorial pages of local newspapers. Until shortly before his death, he continued to write articles for La Storia, a publication of the Italian American Historical Society of Connecticut, of which he was a founding member, former president and winner of the Distinguished Service Award.
Larry loved the outdoors. Boy Scouts was a large part of his life, both as a scout and scout leader. For 76 consecutive years, Dr. Lawrence Pisani attended the Connecticut Yankee Council's Camp Sequassen in Winsted, CT, first as a scout and then as a leader. He first attended Sequassen as a camper in 1935 and beginning in 1941, he became part of the camp staff. He became the historian for the camp and the Pisani Pavilion was erected in his honor. Thousands of scouts have benefitted from his leadership and historical presentations made at the Hermit Shack located on camp grounds. His writing, "Sequassen Past and Present," ensures scouts present, past and future will know and pass on the traditions and history of the camp.
Larry has been honored by the New Haven Boys & Girls Club Alumni with the Gold Ring Award. Other recognitions include the Community Service Award of the American Committee on Italian Migration and the Charles Carroll of Carrollton Award by the Knights of Columbus.
Larry has mentored and nurtured dozens of campers, students and those in need who had the good fortune to cross his path. His compassion and caring nature drew many to him and he championed them in any way he could.
He spent his last nine years at Atria Larsen Place where he made many new and dear friends. He will be missed for his positive attitude and good humor.
He is survived by his niece, who he treated as a daughter, Doretta Sweeney; his grandniece, Maria Sweeney and grandnephew, Stephen Sweeney, who he treated as his grandchildren; and wife, Laura Ferrao Sweeney. He also leaves a great-grandnephew, Leonardo Sweeney and a cousin and friend, JoAnne Palmieri. He was predeceased by his sister, Concetta (Connie) DiNello and a brother Joseph Pisani.
In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to a charity of your choice
in his memory. Celentano Funeral Home, 424 Elm St., New Haven is in charge of arrangements.