Anthony L. Colaizzo
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Anthony L. Colaizzo was an Italian-American businessman and politician who died January 12, 2019, in Canonsburg Hospital. Colaizzo was born in Canonsburg on May 31, 1930, the youngest of the seven children of Felix and Consetta Colaizzo of Rosello, Italy. He was preceded in death by brothers Peter, Felix, Anthony, Joseph, Mario; and a sister, Jean Grace.

His political career began when he won the election for Student Council president at Canonsburg High School, eventually graduating in 1949. After high school, Colaizzo served in the Korean War with the Heavy Mortar Company of the 100th Infantry Regiment of the 28th Division, reaching the rank of Sergeant First Class. He received honorable discharge for his service in 1952.

After returning from the war, Colaizzo attended Duquesne University, obtaining degrees from the Palumbo School of Business Administration and from the Donahue Graduate School of Business. Colaizzo was notably never late to class, despite having to hitchhike 20 miles to school from his native Canonsburg.

He married LaVerne Leveto on September 4th, 1954 during his senior year of college. At the time of their marriage, they were living on just $35 a week. Upon graduating from Duquesne, Colaizzo took a position at an insurance agency and did income tax work over the next ten years. Next, as a member of the Washington County Redevelopment Authority, his responsibilities included the renovation of the Canonsburg Central Business District and Curry Field Redevelopment. He founded the Anthony L. Colaizzo Agency in 1965. The agency provided real estate, insurance, and income tax services to the surrounding community.

Colaizzo devoted his life to service of the Canonsburg and surrounding community. He was a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, a long-time volunteer fireman, he was on the Board of Directors of the Canonsburg General Hospital Systems and member of the Canonsburg Hospital Foundation. Colaizzo's work raising funds for the current location of Canonsburg Hospital typified his approach to service: to raise funds he and an energetic committee met six months daily in his office for donuts and coffee while they strategized their fundraising efforts. As a faithful member of St. Patrick's Roman Catholic church, he served many years on the parish council.

One of Colaizzo's most notable contributions to the community was Canonsburg's Fourth of July celebration. Colaizzo had the idea for the Fourth of July celebration in 1962 when his oldest child, Tina, was sick with a fever and caused the Colaizzo family to forgo their annual trip to South Park for 4th festivities. Later that day, Colaizzo took a walk and noted how lifeless downtown Canonsburg was; there were no decorations, no flags, no celebrations. Colaizzo was inspired to gather a group to discuss an all-day event culminating in fireworks for the following year. He was designated chief-fundraiser and quickly raised $1200 for the parade. A bit short of the initial fundraising goal, the planning committee was worried that they would have to cancel the fireworks display, but Colaizzo passed a bucket through the crowd at the inaugural celebration to gather the rest of the required funds.

Colaizzo attracted floats to the parade by encouraging organizations, especially those representing the numerous nationalities of the Canonsburg, to participate in the parade and compete for prizes and bragging rights. It is estimated that some 15,000 people filled the stadium for fireworks and 30,000 people came to town for some part of the day of celebrations for the first parade in 1963. The parade and Fourth of July celebration would eventually grow into one of the largest in the state of Pennsylvania and celebrated its fiftieth anniversary in 2013.

Colaizzo was first elected to public office in 1973 as Canonsburg Tax Collector, serving until 1988. He then ran for the Pennsylvania State House of Representatives, where he served from 1989-1999. While a member of the House of Representatives, Colaizzo was a champion for public education and was endorsed by many education unions. Beyond education, one the first bills that he introduced required landfills to become a public utility to regulate landfill fees. He co-sponsored a bill to approve state funds for affordable housing, and supported legislation that would require consumer contracts to be written in easily understandable terms. For 10 years he divided his time between Harrisburg and his own district, where every weekend he would return to visit with his constituents

Among his accomplishments were aiding the Canonsburg-Houston Joint Authority in obtaining $2.9 million, low-interest loan, obtaining $25,000 in grants for five libraries in his district and obtaining grants for the Bentleyville Volunteer Fire Department and the Washington County Fireman's Association school. He was past president of the Washington County Non-Profit Housing Corporation, which built the Canon House Senior Citizens High Rise, past president of the Chamber of Commerce, chairman of the Washington County Housing Authority, a charter member and past president of the Jaycee's, and the Rotary. He was chairman of the Canonsburg Borough Home Rule Study Commission and Vice Chairman of the Central Washington County United Way.

In 2000, Colaizzo was appointed mayor of his Borough of Canonsburg, serving in the position until his retirement in 2010.

Among his many awards were the 1965 Outstanding Young Men of America award, the Chamber of Commerce Man of the Year Award, and the Canon-McMillan Hall of Honor.

Colaizzo's philanthropy was expansive including the establishment of a scholarship for Canon-McMillan graduates at Duquesne University, sponsorship of little league sports, and sponsorship of patient rooms at the new Canonsburg Hospital.

Colaizzo was a devoted family man and is survived by his wife, Laverne Colaizzo; his children, Tina Colaizzo-Anas (Alex), Anthony (Robyn), Mary Dombrowski (Charles), and Louis; grandchildren Alexandros and Eleni Anas, Anthony III and Paul Colaizzo, Charles and Michael Dombrowski, and Joseph, Anna, and Matthew Colaizzo; and many loving nieces and nephews.

Colaizzo was always available to lend a helping hand, to serve God, his family and the public with integrity, passion, and commitment and a spirit of fun and collaboration. And of course, he did all this with his signature bowtie.

Friends and family are welcome 2 to 8 p.m., Wednesday, at Sollon Funeral and Cremation Services, Ltd., 30 East College St. Canonsburg PA, 15317; Phillip L. Sollon, Supervisor, 724-746-1000. Departing prayers will be recited in the funeral home at 9:30 a.m. Thursday, followed by a Mass of Christian burial, in St. Patrick Church at 10 a.m., Thursday. Burial will follow in the church cemetery, with full military rites accorded by the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Post 191 Honor Guard.

The family kindly suggests memorial contributions be made to the St. Vincent de Paul Society of St. Patrick Parish, in Anthony L. Colaizzo's name.

Please visit www.sollon.com to leave online condolences.







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Published in Observer-Reporter from Jan. 14 to Jan. 15, 2019.
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Memories & Condolences
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18 entries
January 8, 2020
Tony was a great Represenative and a kind person.
Paul Lemmon
Friend
January 30, 2019
My condolences, thoughts and prayers to the entire Colaizzo family on the passing of Tony. He was a pillar in the community and gave much to many.
Randall Mastrangelo
January 24, 2019
Gary Haluska
January 24, 2019
Tony was a great friend of my father Ed Haluska and I was also a friend and college as was my father we both served in the house with Tony
January 23, 2019
A wonderful collegue and gentleman. Sincere condolences to the family. May he rest in peace.
Gerry Kosinski
January 19, 2019
I was a friend and classmate until we graduated in 1949. Tony was always kind and friendly to everyone. His character traits and desire to help others led him on to a life of service to others.
I've been away from Pennsylvania for many years but will always have good memories of this great man. Our world is better because of Tony. My sincere condolences
go to his family at this time of loss.
Bill Blyshak -Greensboro,N.C.
January 19, 2019
A Canonsburg icon, but beyond that he was a good decent human being...........I dealt w/ him in an apartment rental in Canonsburg and he was very kind and helpful.
Linda D Stewart
Friend
January 18, 2019
Our sympathies and prayers go out to the Colaizzo family.

Austin Murphy and Family
January 16, 2019
An amazing life very well-lived. Every experience with Mr. Colaizzo was one of substance and forever grateful for having known him!

Joe Macerelli
January 15, 2019
LaVerne, we want to express our sincere condolences to you and your family. We will all miss Tony as he was a super great guy that everyone loved and admired. Our prayers are with you.
Gerard & Claudia DaVia
January 15, 2019
I meet Tony at the Wellness center when I was rehabbing from a stroke.
Although I was only there 3 months, her left a lasting impression.
He was a GREAT person!

John Penn
John Penn
January 15, 2019
I have fond memories of Tony. He and my father, Jimmie Passalacqua were old and good friends. I remember as a child coming to one of LaVerne's wonderful dinners after my father served as one of his children's godfather. Later in life, I chatted with him at the Wellness Center. He was a kind gentleman. Blessings for a life well-lived.
Jamie Thornton
January 15, 2019
Dear Laverne: I was sorry to read of Tony's passing. He was a devoted man to you and his family and to his community. Glad I had a chance to know him. Much love to you all.
Beverly Spears
January 14, 2019
I knew tony for years. He was a nice person and well liked in canonsburg. He was a credit to the town. I am very sorry for his family and my deepest sympathy to them. May you Rest In Peace tony. Joe massaro. Las Vegas nv.
January 14, 2019
Lou I am very sorry for your loss. I hope you can take great comfort in a life well lived by your dad as you and your family deal with your grief.
Mark Rakauskas
January 14, 2019
Deepest Sympathies
Paul and Anna Marie Lemmon
Paul Lemmon
January 14, 2019
We will never forget how he loved the swisschard pies. He and the Mrs. Came over to learn how to make them. Great times with them! He always loved the carduni in the spring. He will be missed. We love you! Now rest in peace. "Well done, good and faithful servant!" Frank and Cheryl Martorana
January 14, 2019
I served with Mr Colaizzo in the 80s on the Temporalities Commission of St Patrick's Church. He always coached me on how to take charge in a meeting as he wanted me to take the lead role. Mr. Colaizzo always put Canonsburg first. He loved our town. I spoke with him the last time about a month ago leaving Mass at St Patrick's Church. He explained how his lungs were scarred probably from his years as being a fireman.

My sympathy and thoughts to the Colaizzo family. May God give you peace and comfort at this difficult time.
Ed Patrick
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