Oldsmobile Dealer John Crisconi, Philanthropist, Phila. Civic Leader

Posted: June 18, 1986

John P. Crisconi, an immigrant who hawked newspapers as a boy and after he became wealthy was a leader in Philadelphia charities and civic projects, drowned Sunday while swimming in the pool at his Whitemarsh, Montgomery County, home. He was 92.

Crisconi had been an auto dealer, broadcasting and publishing executive, treasurer of the Redevelopment Authority and commissioner of the Delaware River Port Authority. He also was one of the driving forces in the development and expansion of the Police Athletic League. Until his death, he continued to head Crisconi Oldsmobile.

Coming to the United States from Italy at the age of 4, Crisconi was selling newspapers at a young age and by 13 was working in a mill. He had to leave that job when a truant officer caught him, but the next year he apprenticed himself to a tailor. He later became a salesman, first of flour, then oil and finally, cars.

In 1933, Crisconi founded his car agency at 1155 S. Broad St., and by the early 1960s it was the largest Oldsmobile dealership in the state. He maintained his residence above the dealership. Crisconi Oldsmobile is now located at 6501 Essington Ave. in Southwest Philadelphia.

During World War II, Crisconi organized and was chairman of several bond- raising committees that sold more than $3 million in War Bonds. He also was a member of the Coast Guard Reserve.

After the war, he organized a drive and contributed heavily to an organization to send clothing, toys and money to orphans and handicapped children in Italy. He also founded an orphanage in his hometown of Soverato.

His work in Italy was recognized when he was made a "Commendatore" by the Italian government, the highest award it can bestow on a non-citizen. In 1951, he received the Medal of Italian Solidarity from the Italian government.

That same year, the American Legion presented Crisconi with a Certificate of Commendation for his hiring policies toward veterans. In 1952 he received the American Legion's Certificate of Merit for hiring handicapped veterans.

In 1956 he was selected by the Share Your Birthday Foundation to organize and direct the exchange of toys and gifts from children in the United States with the children of other countries.

Occasionally, Crisconi would sponsor a cruise on the old Wilson Line for as many as 1,000 Philadelphia orphans to escape the summer heat and go to Riverview Beach.

Crisconi served on the Port Authority from 1959 to 1972. He served as a member of the Redevelopment Authority from its creation in 1945 until 1952. Over the years he had owned interests in Philadelphia magazine and radio station WIP and was a vice president of Metromedia Inc.

He was a founder of the Philadelphia Golf Classic and was a leader in the United Fund in South Philadelphia for many years. Other charities he supported included the Variety Club Camp and Boys Town of Italy.

In 1954, Crisconi was among nine Philadelphians who tried to purchase the Philadelphia Athletics baseball team to keep it in the city. On the verge of success, the group was nosed out by a Kansas City buyer.

His first major venture into politics came in 1928, when he was named chairman of the Italian-American Smith for President movement in Pennsylvania. He said he was leaving the Republican Party to form clubs all over South Philadelphia to work for Al Smith. He also was a strong supporter of former Mayor Frank L. Rizzo.

Active throughout his life in the Sons of Italy, he was named Man of the Year in 1975 by the Columbus Civic Association of Montgomery County. At the presentation, Emil J. Ciavarelli, president of the association, said Crisconi ''personifies the American of Italian descent who works toward spreading good will, peace and security among all Americans."

Survivors include a daughter, Jeanette Darnell; four grandchildren; 11 great-grandchildren; and four sisters.

Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 11 a.m. Saturday at the Cathedral Basilica of Ss. Peter and Paul, 18th Street and the Parkway, where friends may call after 8 a.m. Entombment will be in Chelten Hills Abbey, Washington Lane and Lowber Street.

Contributions may be made to the John P. Crisconi Foundation, Box 5397, Philadelphia, Pa. 19142


Louis J. Amato, a retired sheet-metal mechanic, died Monday. He was 63 and lived in Aldan, Delaware County.

Originally from Philadelphia, Amato had worked as a sheet-metal mechanic for Vertol for 31 years before retiring four years ago. He was an Army veteran of World War II.

He is survived by his wife, the former Frances Y. Puglisi; a son, Louis S.; a daughter, Elaine F. Connell; two grandchildren, Jason and Heather Connell; two sisters, Kathryn DiTullio and Rose Costanzo; and a brother, Vincent J.

Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 9:30 a.m. tomorrow at Holy Cross Church, Bishop and Springfield roads, Springfield, Delaware County. Burial will be in Holy Cross Cemetery, Baily Road and Wycombe Avenue, Yeadon, Delaware County.

Friends may call after 7 tonight at the O'Leary Funeral Home, 640 E. Springfield Road, Springfield.


Lawrence J. Moran, a retired federal employee, died Monday. He was 69 and lived in Glenolden, Delaware County.

Moran had worked for 15 years as a meat inspector for the government. Previously, he worked more than 20 years as a meat cutter for Value Food Market.

A graduate of Overbrook High School, he was a Navy veteran of World War II. He belonged to St. Joseph's Church in Collingdale, Delaware County, and was a former member of Most Blessed Sacrament Church in Philadelphia. He was a member of Briarcliff American Legion Post 761 and the Briarcliff Senior Citizens Club.

He is survived by his wife, the former Anna T. Sprows; two brothers, John P. and Francis J.; and two sisters, Helen Moran and Margaret Day.

Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 11 a.m. tomorrow at St. Joseph's Church, Bartram and Woodlawn avenues, Collingdale. Burial will be in Ss. Peter and Paul Cemetery, Sproul and Crum Creek roads, Marple Township, Delaware County.

Friends may call after 7 tonight at the O'Leary Funeral Home, 640 E. Springfield Road, Springfield, Delaware County.

Mass cards are preferred.


Services were to be held this morning for E. Joseph Galie, a physical therapist and Red Cross leader, who died Sunday. He was 62 and lived in the Holme Circle section of Philadelphia.

Galie was a graduate of West Chester State College, Temple University and the University of Pennsylvania. He worked with students at the Widener Memorial School and maintained a private practice.

He was chairman of the Red Cross Blood Program in Philadelphia from 1952 to 1982.

During World War II he served with the 8th Air Force and was discharged with the rank of staff sergeant. He was active in the Sons of Italy and was a member of the Overbrook Italian-American Club.

Survivors include his wife, the former Eleanor N. Noble; and three sons, Joseph, Kevin and Timothy.

Mass of Christian Burial was to be celebrated at 10 a.m. at St. Jerome's Church, Holme Avenue and Stamford Street, where friends may call an hour earlier. Burial will be in Our Lady of Grace Cemetery, Route 1 Bypass and Old Lincoln Highway, Langhorne, Bucks County.

Contributions may be made to St. Jerome's Church.


William H. Hull, a retired stereotyper for the Inquirer and Daily News, died Sunday. He was 64 and lived in Pleasantville, N.J.

Hull had worked as a stereotyper for 23 years before retiring in June 1979. He was an Army veteran of World War II and had served in the European-African- Middle Eastern theater.

He is survived by his wife, the former Eva Marie Bowles; a son, William R.; four daughters, Barbara Gorman, Patricia Ray, Katherine Herrmann and Donna Lynne; a sister; three brothers; and nine grandchildren.

Services will be at 10 a.m. tomorrow at the Adams-Perfect Funeral Home, New and Zion roads, Northfield, N.J., where friends may call from 7 to 9 tonight. Burial will be in Mount Calvary Cemetery, Pleasantville.

Contributions may be made to the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation, Atlantic City, N.J.

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