Sam F. Pagano 1930-2022 | News, Sports, Jobs

GIRARD — It is with great sadness that the Pagano family announces the death of Sam F. Pagano, 91, on Sunday January 16, 2022, at the Hour of Angels. As he lived his life, he died on his own terms: with his spirit fully intact, in the home he built, and with his 60-year-old sweetheart and loving family by his side.

Sam was born Salvadore Paolo Pagano, August 2, 1930, to Girard, son of the late Joe and Mary Trina Pagano of Roccalumera, Italy. He developed a strong work ethic at a young age to support his family after losing his father when he was 3 years old. His first official job was at age 14 at the United States Steel Mill Restaurant in 1944. He worked at both Sheet and Tube and the United States Steel Mill as a teenager during the war.

A permanent resident of Girard, he attended Girard High School. As a sophomore and while still working at the steel mill, he was approached to play football by Girard’s head coach. Despite his late start in the sport and his other obligations, Sam was voted “Best Defensive Lineman” in 1947. Sam was elected senior class president and graduated from Girard High School in 1949. He thanks his coach, Phil Koppel, for changing course. of his life by encouraging him to stay in high school. As class president, he and his committee proudly held a class reunion every five years for 70 years.

After high school, Sam attended Kent State University on a football scholarship and, as a freshman, was awarded “Outstanding Defenseman of the Year.” After an injury, he was forced to return to the steelworks. The following year he joined the Youngstown College Penguins football team and played tackle under the great Dike Beede from 1952 to 1954.

In his senior year, Sam also served as president of the “Varsity Y” club and served as the Army ROTC Battery Commander on campus.

Sam earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Youngstown College. After graduating, Sam fulfilled his ROTC obligation by serving as a first mate and platoon leader in Germany for two years.

At Youngstown College, Sam met the “love of his life,” Dahlia Vitucci, an educator and musician. They were married at St. Christine’s Church on September 23, 1961 and celebrated their 60th anniversary last year.

After his military service, Sam began his true calling as an industrial arts educator, teaching at Howland High School from 1959 to 1986. Sam continued his education by earning his Masters in Industrial Arts Education from Kent State University in 1968.

At Howland High School, Sam created the first of his many inventions, a copy holder for typing books. He went on to develop a number of bookends for educational purposes and holds nine patents to his name. He sold the holders through several entities, including Type-Rite Enterprises, Pagano Enterprises, Girard Development, Hold ‘N View, and Love to Learn Enterprises, Inc. He and Dahlia traveled the country promoting his products during educator conferences.

Sam’s additional business activities with his brother, Guy Pagano, and Andrew Petrella included Pagano Cleaners, which operated from 1951 to 1963, and Hubbard Funland from 1963 to 1985. Hubbard Funland was a well-known outdoor recreation facility which included miniature golf, driving range, fast-pitch (the infamous Audi-Shine) and slow-pitch batting cages, and a game room.

A teacher for over 30 years and owner of Hubbard Funland, Sam has had a profound impact on many teenagers in Mahoning and Trumbull counties. He has mentored and provided countless young people with valuable training for their future careers, emphasizing the importance of character, responsibility and work ethic.

Sam was inducted into both Girard High School and the Youngstown State University Hall of Fame in 2002 for his outstanding athletic ability. He also received the Distinguished School of Technology Alumni Award from Kent State University in 2005.

Sam was elected to the Girard Board of Education and served from 1984 to 1988, during which time he was instrumental in the eventual consolidation of schools in the town of Girard. He was chairman of Girard High’s Arrowhead Stadium Restoration, where he served as foreman, lending his construction skills and free labor to the renovation project.

During his retirement, Sam continued to “tinker” and build. He spent summer days in his garden and enjoyed making homemade wine, which he shared with his buddies every week until his death. He continued to support and attend football games at Girard High School and Youngstown State University until last year, and remained active with his close-knit circle of YSU football friends.

Sam is survived by his wife, Dahlia; her three children, Dr. Trina Pagano (Scott Conner), Lia (Dr. Gordon) Byrne and Dr. Paul (Nikki) Pagano; his six grandchildren, Sam (Tara), Karina, Francesca, Dante, Stella and Enzo; and “little brother”, Andrew (Millie) Petrella.

Besides her parents, her stepfather, Dominic Petrella; one brother, Guy Pagano; sister-in-law, Irene Pagano; half-brother, James Petrella and his wife, Dolores; and a half-sister, Angeline Bevilacqua and her husband, Felix, predeceased Sam.

Family and friends may pay their respects from 5 to 8 p.m. Friday, January 21, 2022 at Kinnick Funeral Home, 222 S. State St., Girard. Family and friends can meet from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, January 22, 2022 at the funeral home.

Funeral services will begin at 11:30 a.m. Saturday at the funeral home and continue with a Christian burial mass at noon Saturday at St. Rose Catholic Church, 48 E. Main St., Girard. Interment will follow at Girard Liberty Union Cemetery.

The family would like to express their gratitude to Sam’s physician, Dr. Anthony Cassachia, and the staff at Mercy Health Palliative Care for the kindness and care provided to Sam.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that contributions be made in Sam’s honor to schools in the town of Girard for the Sam and Dahlia Pagano Penguin Scholarship Fund.

Arrangements have been entrusted to Kinnick Funeral Home in Girard. Visit kinnickfuneralhome.com to view and share this obituary and to send your condolences online to Sam’s family.

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