North Huntingdon counselor shared wisdom with students, peers
It was hard for Dominic Pecora to comprehend that his father, whom he considered a man's man, could not survive his struggle with melanoma.
"My father was such a tough guy that I thought he'd make it," said his son, a resident of North Versailles. "Dad and I enjoyed watching John Wayne movies, and I compared my father to John Wayne, who never died at the end of the movie."
Ernest D. "Ernie" Pecora of North Huntingdon, an elementary guidance counselor with the Penn-Trafford School District, died of cancer on Monday, Jan. 2, 2012, in UPMC Shadyside. He was 64.
"But Dad's years of hard work as a teacher and a counselor is his legacy to those who follow him, " his son added.
Thomas Monzo, a fifth-grade elementary teacher at Penn-Trafford's Sunrise Elementary, recalled Mr. Pecora's career as a guidance counselor and a "go-to guy" whom the staff could rely on for a friendly chat or professional advice.
"It was Ernie's casual yet professional manner that led me to believe that I could trust him with any problem that I encountered," said Monzo, of Harrison City.
Born and raised in Turtle Creek, Ernie Pecora was an only child of barber Richard "Dick" Pecora and his wife, Rose Cortazzo Pecora.
After graduating from Serra Catholic High School in McKeesport in 1965, where he played football and baseball, Mr. Pecora enrolled in Slippery Rock College, where he received his degree in education four years later.
In 1975, after a short stint as an elementary teacher in St. Aloysius Elementary in Wilmerding and in the Gateway School District, Mr. Pecora was hired as an elementary guidance counselor for Penn-Trafford.
"My father understood the importance of his position," said his son. "And that's one of the reasons he enjoyed his 36 years at Penn-Trafford.
"I own a pizza shop, and I have customers that my father counseled years ago. One of my customers, who struggled with reading when he was a pupil, credits my father's efforts in helping him overcome his reading difficulties.
"But that was typical of my father, who at one time was the head football coach at Southmoreland High School (in Alverton in Westmoreland County), who expected the best from his players," his son said.
In addition to his son, and his wife, Andrea Menas Pecora, whom he married in 1980, Mr. Pecora is survived by three grandchildren and his siblings, Antoinette McNamara of Florida, Richard "Rich" Pecora of Harrison City, Pat Pecora of Johnstown and Janice Dowd of Monroeville.
Friends will be received from 1 to 8 p.m. today in Alfieri Funeral Home Inc., 201 Marguerite Ave., Wilmerding.
A service will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday in the funeral home followed by a Mass of Christian Burial at 11 a.m. in St. Jude the Apostle Church. Interment will be in Good Shepherd Cemetery, Monroeville.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.