The longest serving member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, state representative Anthony M. “Tony” DeLuca, D-Penn Hills, passed away at home on Sunday, October 9, 2022, following a brief fight with cancer.
He was 85.
DeLuca served 39 years as the 32nd Legislative District’s representative. The majority of Plum Borough, Oakmont, Verona, and Penn Hills are included in the district.
DeLuca, who lived in Penn Hills for more than 60 years, began his political career by sitting on the Penn Hills Government Study Commission, which was involved in the creation of the municipality’s Home Rule Charter. After that, he served two years as Penn Hills’ deputy mayor before running for his own legislative seat and ousting the incumbent Republican. He then served for five years as a councilman for Penn Hills.
DeLuca, who was proud of his Italian heritage, helped form the State Legislative Italian-American Caucus and went on to serve as its chairman for a number of years.
The chamber won’t be the same without him, according to Speaker of the House Bryan Cutler, a Republican from Lancaster.
Rep. DeLuca was not only the current member with the longest tenure, but also one of the most admired and regarded by his fellow Pennsylvanians, according to Cutler. Rep. DeLuca’s unflinching dedication to his district was never in question, and his work as the Democratic chair of the House Insurance Committee will benefit all Pennsylvanians, particularly children, for many years to come.
DeLuca, according to Rich Fitzgerald, the executive of Allegheny County, “lived to serve his citizens.”
“I was shocked to learn about Tony DeLuca’s demise. He was constantly considering what would be best for the laboring people in his beloved Penn Hills, according to Fitzgerald.
Wynona Harper, 57, from Penn Hills, one of DeLuca’s constituents, referred to him as “Uncle Tony” on Monday. Jamar Hawkins, her 31-year-old son, was fatally murdered in Penn Hills while en route to work in November 2013. Harper claimed that DeLuca has consistently supported her and Jamar’s Place of Peace during the years since the death of her son.
Tony has been a part of my life ever since I was a small child. He was a pal of my mother’s. He is my “Uncle Tony,” and I appreciate everything he has done for this place. The Penn Hills community has suffered a huge loss as a result, Harper said. “He made a fantastic leader. He was a wonderful man. He was concerned about the local populace. He never left my side in terms of support or trying to get the case noticed after I lost my kid to gun violence. There aren’t many people like him.
DeLuca worked to ensure patient safety in all aspects of medicine, including pharmacies, during his more than 20 years as the Democratic Chairman of the House Insurance Committee. DeLuca became an advocate for cancer awareness and early detection after being initially diagnosed with lymphoma and later receiving a breast cancer diagnosis for his wife Connie. He backed and put forth measures to boost financing for regional cancer research and better post-diagnosis care.
Anthony DeLuca, a supervisor at Rivers Casino, said his grandfather was a dedicated public worker who had no interest in retiring despite being in his mid-80s. He claimed that his father, an Italian immigrant and butcher who managed DeLuca’s Meat Market on Larimer Avenue in Pittsburgh’s East Liberty neighborhood, taught him the value of treating people honestly.
“His parents taught him the value of perseverance. He simply adored serving as a state representative. Retirement was never a topic of discussion. DeLuca stated that his grandfather’s success as a politician resulted from how much he cared about people, adding that he did it because he enjoyed his work.
He placed a high value on his family and carried that into his profession. He regarded his neighborhood as his family. He was receptive to others. No matter how long you wanted to talk, he would listen and pay attention to everything you said. That would enable him to offer the greatest solutions that people were seeking, according to DeLuca.
“After leaving the workplace, he would call even though he was finished for the day. He would either be receiving a call from a constituent or would need to make another call to one. His job was never truly finished, then. He put in his time till a few weeks ago. He worked till the very end, answering calls and messages from residents.
DeLuca was referred to as a genuine public servant by Rep. Austin Davis, D-McKeesport.
A lawmaker’s legislator, Tony DeLuca was. He obviously belongs to a different generation than I do, but when I first joined the House, he was someone who really took me under his wing and made it a point to mentor new, young politicians,” Davis said. In particular, he worked tirelessly for working class families in Penn Hills and throughout Western Pennsylvania. He was a man who never gave up on the underdog. He is a person who will be sincerely missed in the state capitol’s halls.
According to Davis, DeLuca frequently demonstrated a sense of style in those hallways.
Every day on the House floor, he claimed, people would sort of watch Tony to see what color blazer he was donning. He frequently wore pink or orange, and he always succeeded in advising the rest of us on how to dress. Simply put, it was something that would make you laugh out loud. We’re all going to miss his enormous personality, which was just that.
According to DeLuca’s grandson, he was also well-known for organizing yearly community picnics in Penn Hills Park, which involved the whole DeLuca family and required everyone to pitch in.
He stated, “He’d gather the whole family, the kids, the grandkids, and we’d all pitch in.” “From dawn to dusk, the park would be crowded. We would eat hot dogs, kielbasa, spaghetti, and meatballs for lunch and dinner. We offered refreshments, activities for the kids, prizes, and other things. Nothing cost anything.
“He would visit every table. He would talk to everyone there that he could since he cared about them. For that he was well renowned. He was friendly to everyone. People would feel special around him.
DeLuca “dedicated his life” to the legislature, said to Rep. Chris Sainato, D-New Castle.
“He cherished the organization. Tony would collaborate with anyone… Democrats and Republicans would both be allies. Tony didn’t give a damn,” Sainato claimed. We’re here to aid people, he would remark. He was passionate about assisting people.
The grandson of DeLuca claimed he will never forget the teachings learned from his grandfather.
Anthony, his grandson, said, “He taught me so much about how to treat people and the good you put out in the world will come back to you.” I’ll remember that for the rest of my life.
The DeLuca office will close on October 15 and return on October 17.
DeLuca received his diploma from the Community College of Allegheny County and Westinghouse High School, where he briefly played football.
Debbie (Chris) Brinker, Larry (Tina), Michele (Bud) Joyce, and the Honorable Judge Anthony (Beth) were his four children. He also had nine grandchildren, including Anthony (Anjelyque), Emily, Ashley, Joseph (Andrea), Nicholas (Ali), Olivia (Gabe), Christina, Zachary (Kait), and Michael, as well as great-grandchildren Bella, Ellie, and Julia, with a fourth due in April, and his He was predeceased by his parents Lawrence and Katherine, his older brother Larry, and his wife of 66 years, Connie (Judy).
Wednesday’s visitation will take place at the Gross Funeral Home in Penn Hills from 2 to 8 p.m. Thursday at 10:30 a.m., St. Joseph Catholic Church in Verona will host a funeral mass.