PITTSTON TWP. — Senator Raphael J. Musto, 85, a lifelong resident of Pittston Township, passed away Thursday morning, April 24, 2014, at home. He and his wife, the love of his life, Frances Panzetta Musto, celebrated their 61st wedding anniversary on April 6, 2014.
Ray was a son of the late Representative James Musto and Rose Frushon Musto. He was a graduate of Pittston Township High School, class of 1946, and King's College, class of 1971. He later received a Doctorate of Letters and degrees from both King's College and Wilkes University.
He was a U.S. Army veteran, having served during the Korean War.
Musto began his legislative career in 1971, elected to serve the remainder of his late father's term. He served in the U.S. Congress in 1980 and in 1982 began a 28-year career in the Pennsylvania Senate until his retirement in 2010.
He was a renowned legislative strategist and worked across party lines as the sponsor or co-sponsor of legislation focusing on the environment, crafting one of the first clean air bills in the country. Other legislative priorities included education and the rights of the disabled. He was the catalyst behind Luzerne County's Grandparents raising Grandchildren program.
Constituent service was the cornerstone of his public career and Musto was a fierce advocate for the citizens of his district. Above all, he will be remembered as a family man.
He was a member of St. Joseph Marello Parish, Pittston. He was also a proud member of the Pittston Township Fire Department and many other civic organizations.
He was preceded in death by sister, Louise Francioso; and brother, Gerard Musto.
In addition to his wife, he is survived by his loving children, James and his wife, Mary, Jenkins Township; Ray Jr. and his wife, Karen, Hughestown; Michael and his wife, Laurine, Arlington, Virginia, and Fran and her husband, Dave Drozda, Plains Township; grandchildren, Carly, Christopher and Alexandra, Raphael III, Lisa, Nicholas Musto; Kimberly and Krysten Drozda; great-grandchild, Kai Drozda; siblings, James and his wife, Gertrude; Antoinette Deeb; Biagio and his wife, Carol; Joseph and his wife, Fortunata; John and his wife, Philomae; in-laws, Domenica Musto, James Francioso, James and Sue Panzetta, Anita Panzetta, Mary Panzetta; numerous nieces and nephews.
The family extends their sincere gratitude to Carly Musto, PA-C; Dr. Mauer Biscotti and Dr. David Greenwald for their exceptional care and compassion. They also thank the Pittston Township Volunteer Fire Department, the paramedics/ambulance and police departments for their assistance and support.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 9:30 a.m. Monday in St. Joseph Marello Parish, 237 William St., Pittston. Everyone attending Mass is asked to go directly to the church Monday morning. Relatives and friends may pay their respects from 3 to 8 p.m. Sunday at Baloga Funeral Home Inc., 1201 Main St., Pittston (Port Griffith).
The family requests that flowers be omitted. Memorial donations may be made to the American Cancer Society, 712 S. Keyser Ave., Taylor, PA 18517; Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish Center, 237 William St., Pittston, PA 18640; or a charity of the donor's choosing.
For directions or to send an online condolence, please visit www.balogafuneralhome.com.