Obituary: Dr. Philip Pitruzzello

Dr. Philip Pitruzzello, 94, died peacefully in Seattle on December 5th 2017, surrounded by his family. Phil was born in Middletown Connecticut, the son of Angelo and Vincenza, immigrants from Melilli, Sicily.

Phil was an educator who enriched the lives of thousands of students throughout his career. Early in WW II Phil enlisted in the U.S. Navy, serving for the duration of the war in the Pacific Naval air campaign. He participated in some of the biggest battles in the Pacific and received many commendations for his service. Within 3 days of the end of the War Phil was in a college classroom, fulfilling his dream to attend college. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Central Connecticut College (1948) and master’s degree from Boston University (1950). From 1950 to 1960 he was a history teacher in the Fairfield CT public schools, where he helped students aid a Hungarian refugee family, and later became Principal of Ridgefield CT High School. In 1960 he packed up the family and moved to Chicago to earn his doctorate at the University of Chicago. He became Ridgefield CT’s Superintendent of Schools from 1962 through 1964, and Superintendent of Schools in Herricks School District on Long Island, NY 1964-1968. In 1968, he joined the faculty of New York University as Professor of Educational Administration until his retirement in 1988.

Dr. Pitruzzello had a profound, positive impact upon the institutions and individual students who attended them during his tenures. He ceaselessly encouraged students, collectively and individually, to target and achieve the highest academic and personal standards. Since 1988, in addition to holding the title Professor Emeritus from NYU, Dr. Pitruzzello was a highly esteemed arbitrator and mediator in Port Charlotte, Florida. He was actively engaged in his community with young and old, and volunteered as a Long Term Care Ombudsman in Florida and Washington and was a member of the Seattle-King County Council on Aging. Phil engaged in fundraising for college scholarships to ensure that disadvantaged youth had the same opportunities to achieve their potential that he had as a young man. Throughout his life Phil was a champion of civil rights and instilled these values in his children and grandchildren.

Phil is survived by his loving wife of 72 years, Ann LaBella, his son Philip, daughter Janice Sabin and son-in-law Jack, three grandchildren Michael Sabin (Angelique), Laura  Sabin Lopez (Nancy) and Holly Sabin Houston (Brent), and two great grandchildren, William Sabin and Charlotte Sabin.

The family will hold a private memorial service but encourages those who wish to share memories and condolences to send them to