Samuel A. Teolis, Supervisor | Carmella M. Teolis, Funeral Director

Anthony D. “Dooney” Pietrcollo, 65

Life in Heaven as we perceive it here on Earth just got a bit more hectic.  At this moment, angels are scurrying to make sure there is always availability in the box seats and not in some remote section. They must make sure that no one is sitting on his favorite barstool, and that the remote control is his alone to rotate through every available sports channel there is. And please….there must be peanuts. Make sure there are peanuts.

Dooney has arrived.

Anthony Daniel “Dooney” Pietrcollo, 65, passed from this world into Heaven at 8:30 am Sunday morning (obviously to be first in line at the Gate), succumbing to a battle with cancer. He was presented to each of us as Dooney because his grandmother struggled in her native Italian with the name “Anthony,” and it always came out as “And-Dooney.”

More than simply active, there existed a passion and an occasional obsession in every facet of Dooney’s life. He was devoted to his running regimen to the point that he often had his first mile recorded before the sun rose. And if you came upon him during his run, he was always glad to speak to you while you endured his incessant running in place.

To his eighth graders, he shared an impeccable attention to detail, whether in encouraging his students to improve their writing skills, or always holding in his hip pocket that nugget of information about a literature selection that would encourage his students to read more. He also served in administration at the Ellwood City Area, Pine-Richland and North Allegheny School Districts. In addition to his teaching career in town and working as the Ellwood City Area School District Athletic Director, he was a longtime fixture of involvement in other Ellwood City organizations as well. First and foremost, Dooney was a member of Holy Redeemer Roman Catholic Church and served as a lector there for many years. He is a past member of the Ellwood City Jaycees, where he served as president in 1982-83 and was awarded Young Person of the Year in 1984.  He was a member of the Sons of Italy Lodge 608 and the Ellwood City Wolves Club, and served as secretary for the National Wolves Club for three years. He was involved with Ellwood City Amateur Baseball, coached Ellwood City Little League baseball, and Ellwood City Junior and Senior High basketball.

But his true love was football. No matter the vantage point….it was football.  It wasn’t just a job to coach at Ellwood City, Geneva College, Seneca Valley and North Allegheny. Rather, it was an apartment wallpapered with designed football plays for experimentation. In 1990, Dooney was an assistant coach as part of North Allegheny’s State Championship football team.   In 1998 he served as offensive coordinator for the Seneca Valley high school team. He studied the strategies and tendencies of all positions on the football field which made his talents so coveted.  And even if he was traveling on the other side of the country, he would always make sure there was a flight home in time for a Sunday morning coaches’ meeting.

He followed everything football on social media, incorporated himself part-time with a sports-related drug-testing job, and prided himself on knowing the up-to-the-minute news of his beloved Pittsburgh Steelers. Dooney enjoyed many a trip around the country for any type of sporting event, most often with a circle of close friends, but not thinking twice about leaving the Thanksgiving Day table and embarking alone on a trip. And while he never had a true bucket list of stadiums he wanted to visit, there was a pride in how rapidly he could recite all that he had conquered.

And through it all, he was always noted for being “first.” He was always the first to arrive at school each morning, greeting faculty and students alike as they arrived through the Commons Area doors. He was the first to submit his grades, and the first to wrap-up the end of the school year duties. He was the absolute first in any buffet line and then, of course, the first to finish eating. And his poor students did their best to keep up with his long strides as his class was the first out of the building during a fire drill, often times before the alarm stopped blaring.

But those “firsts” also transcended into his strong Catholic faith. Before finalizing any trip around the country or any weekend plans at home, Dooney always first made sure that he was able to attend a Sunday Mass wherever he was. He never missed. And true, he did not always wait for the usher to tell him when it was time to proceed to communion. He was first, or close to it. And the first thing that Dooney put in his pocket each morning, ahead of wallet or phone or keys was always a rosary. Everyone, family and friends,   can now lean on his faith, that ardent outward expression of his that was the assurance and surety of God and his calling to a better place.

Dooney was preceded in death by his father, Pete Pietrcollo, sister Cheryl Sutkowski, and grandparents Antonio and Vincenza Pietrcollo, Donato and Mary Angelucci, numerous aunts, uncles and cousins. He is survived by mother Rose (Angelucci) Pietrcollo, sister Debbie (Jeff) Wiley, brother Tom (Cindy) Pietrcollo, brother-in-law James Sutkowski, and numerous nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles and cousins.

Because of the restrictions due to the corona virus, a private ceremony will be conducted at the Samuel Teolis Funeral Home and Crematory Inc. in Ellwood City. Dooney will be entombed at the Holy Redeemer Cemetery, Holy Redeemer Mausoleum. Once restrictions are lifted, a Celebration of Life will be planned for all to attend at a later date.   In lieu of flowers, the family is requesting that donations be made to Club Hope, a local non-profit that provides encouragement, hope and services to families affected by a cancer diagnosis or to the high school football boosters in either the Ellwood City Area or North Allegheny school districts.

Dooney’s geographical reach was far and wide. It lived large in Ellwood City, first with family, but also in the halls of Lincoln High School and with a band of brothers at the Sons of Italy and everyone else who just knew him in town. And practically everyone did know him. It extended into coaching and coaching clinics and to ticket agents, dealers and even scalpers around the country. And his phone routinely buzzed a text from those he now knew in Italy, thanks to his brother. Despite the sheer fun that was Dooney, he also instilled purpose.

One message from a former student now enjoying a successful career, that reached Dooney’s phone early in his struggles, stated, “Every once in a while I think back to my days in Ellwood City as a kid. They were some of the happiest days of my life. Playing hoops in Ewing Park, playing for you in junior high, eating Johnny’s or Vinny’s Pizza. What really made Ellwood City so special for me were the people like you! A great person, teacher, coach and competitor.”

Dooney may have physically left us. But he left his name for us to enjoy. Actually he left the name for us to celebrate. And for all of those tangents of Dooney’s life extending everywhere, everyone experienced Dooney the same way. He never changed. And though our individual memories may revolve around specific stories and situations, the name “Dooney” cannot be said without a smile or even a hearty laugh coming to mind. And it is one and the same smile for all of us because our memories are as singular and unique as his name.

 

23 Comments

  • Ross Yoho Posted April 20, 2020 12:38 pm

    He was a great friend and drinking partner at the SOI! I will miss him!

  • Art Walker Posted April 20, 2020 12:45 pm

    Dooney will be cherished and missed by all that knew him. The North Allegheny football team and staff will hold him close to hearts forever.

  • Kevin Thompson Posted April 20, 2020 12:50 pm

    I was very lucky to have met Dooney through various football functions prior to joining the current NA Staff. He always had a story, a joke, a quick comment. He inquired about my family and would simply ask how I was doing. I will certainly miss his laughter, eating peanuts or any snack we had around, and our kids will miss on his wealth of experience not only on the field but in life. My thoughts and prayers are with him and his family. To mix a statement from a “old football coach” Vince Lombardi: Dooney didn’t lose the game, he just ran out of time. Tiger4Life

  • Franco Posted April 20, 2020 1:04 pm

    A great man proud to have an Italian origin. Always a pleasure to show him new places in Italy

  • Sharon Razani Posted April 20, 2020 1:14 pm

    From Chris and I our deepest sympathies to the family, what a beautiful obituary to Dooney….

  • Michael McCullough Posted April 20, 2020 1:38 pm

    Amen.

  • Ross Posted April 20, 2020 1:45 pm

    He was a great friend and a great drinking partner at the SOI! RIP my friend I will miss you!

  • Don Carney Posted April 20, 2020 2:10 pm

    I was lucky to have Mr. Pietrcollo as an English teacher in junior high school. He was a very good teacher and cared for all of his students. I will always remember when we would get done with our little league baseball games we would run to the concession stands. Mr. Pietrcollo was always there with a smile and always doing something funny to make me laugh. Thank you for the wonderful memories! God speed Mr P!

  • Doug Tammaro Posted April 20, 2020 6:17 pm

    One of the best I have ever been around … teacher, coach and friend. Will miss him everyday.

  • Mark Popovich Posted April 20, 2020 8:06 pm

    God bless you Dooney ??

  • Shirley Klindienst Sanders Posted April 20, 2020 11:34 pm

    Rest easy Dooney……Class of ’72 will take it from here.

  • Shirley Klindienst Sanders Posted April 20, 2020 11:36 pm

    Rest easy Dooney

  • Geno DeMarco Posted April 21, 2020 7:37 am

    Please know that are prayers are with all of you mourning the loss of Dooney. We were blessed to have him on our coaching staff at Geneva. His former players remember the impact he had on them. .He will be missed. Geno DeMarco Head Football Coach.

  • Nick and Trudi Manzo Posted April 21, 2020 10:09 am

    Our deepest condolences to the whole family. What a blessing he was to all. Sending our love, thoughts and prayers.

  • Bob Snyder & Stacey Brown Posted April 21, 2020 12:27 pm

    As friends of Dooney ‘ s we can say he was a great leader & teacher to the many kids he mentored over the years . He lived a full life and always enjoyed his social circle. God Bless him and his family . You know if there is anything the lord don’t know about sports . He just brought in the best advisor on that subject .

  • brad arbutina Posted April 21, 2020 12:44 pm

    Rose and family, My condolences to all. May he rest in peace.

  • Mike Emge Posted April 21, 2020 5:48 pm

    May God Bless Donney and his family! I was fortunate to have coached with him in the 90’s at Geneva College. He was not only one of the best coaches I ever worked with but the nicest, most honest and sincere person I ever met! Heaven gained a great coach and man! God Bless
    Mike Emge

  • Debi Baldwin Posted April 22, 2020 12:17 am

    I am so sorry to hear about your loss. You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers. Dooney was a one of a kind person and everyone loved him and he did love his sports. He was thoughtful, kind and considerate. Whenever I talked to him he always said how much he cared about all the kids he taught and we would always get around to speaking about my nephew who was a student of his. He would say he was a terrific student and a really great person and of course I agreed. RIP Dooney ! You will be missed.

  • Doreen Lonnett Palatka Posted April 22, 2020 5:22 am

    My memories of Dooney started in elementary school. Kudos to the writer of this absolutely beautiful tribute to one very real & humble man….and friend. My sympathies to his dear Mother and his entire family.

  • Dan Aloi Posted April 22, 2020 6:17 am

    My condolences to the entire Pietrcollo family. I have fond memories of Coach P while playing for him in the 9th grade and varsity years. He taught us so much about life and basketball. We were fortunate to have touched by his presence and made great memories today. He made a big impact on many people during his life and may he Rest In Peace!

  • Dr. Nick Neupauer Posted April 27, 2020 6:20 pm

    My deepest sympathy to the Pietrcollo family. So many memories.

    –Steelers football.
    –Beating Riverside 17-14 in 1984.
    –Super Bowl XXX in Arizona together.
    –You scolding me after being ejected from a Colt League baseball game.
    –Talking sports at the SOI.
    –Seventh grade English, homeroom and study hall.

    It seemed appropriate the Steelers took a WR from Notre Dame Friday.

    God bless you, Coach.

  • Sandra Wapniarski Posted April 28, 2020 6:56 pm

    Tommy, I am so very sorry that your brother passed. He will always be with you. Although I did not know him, I do know you and I know how much you love him. My deepest prayers for you and your entire family.

  • Marie Elaine Pelloni Posted April 30, 2020 10:47 am

    My deepest sympathy to the Pietrcolla family.
    The writer did a beautiful tribute.
    May Mr.Pietrcolla Rest In Peace.

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