Businessman's vast efforts enriched region

| Monday, April 8, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

Edward Dardanell was a man of his word, his family said.

When planning a 64-acre residential development, Dargate, in Murrysville in the mid-1970s, one potential buyer asked for a guarantee that the infrastructure would be built, recalled his wife, Marilyn Dardanell, of O'Hara. A banker responded that the buyer need not worry because Dardanell had given his word, she said.

“If he said something was so, it was so,” Marilyn Dardanell said. “He would do it no matter what.”

Edward L. Dardanell died Friday, April 5, 2013, in Forbes Regional Hospital in Monroeville of complications from Parkinson's disease. He was 89.

He helped establish Forbes Regional Hospital, owned a chain of suburban Pittsburgh newspapers, served as a state representative from 1965-68 and was a board member for a host of nonprofits.

“But in each (role) he just really excelled. And I think that was a big part of his character — that you just give as much as you can,” said daughter Megan Olsen of Shaler.

Mr. Dardanell served in France and Germany during World War II as a combat officer with the Fourth Infantry Division.

He returned to the military during the Korean War, during which he served in the Far East Command. For his service, he received a Purple Heart, Bronze Star with Cluster and other commendations.

Mr. Dardanell, a University of Pittsburgh graduate, founded Dardanell Publications, which acquired newspapers including The Progress in Penn Hills in 1956, the Advance Leader in 1959 and the Times-Express in Monroeville in 1960.

Dardanell Enterprises published 16 suburban newspapers. His central printing plant printed about 60 other publications regularly.

In 1978, Dardanell Publications became part of Trinity International Holdings PLC, and its name was changed to Gateway Publications. In 2003, Westminster Holdings Inc., led by Trib owner Richard M. Scaife, acquired Trinity.

As the eastern suburbs grew, Mr. Dardanell helped establish Forbes Regional Hospital in 1978 by leading a campaign to raise $5 million to build the hospital.

In 2004, he was honorary chairman of the capital campaign for three Forbes projects — a new emergency department, Women's and Infants' Care Center and advanced heart and surgery center. Mr. Dardanell donated $1 million toward the heart center, which was named The Ed Dardanell Heart and Vascular Center.

“Without the help of Mr. Dardanell, Forbes Regional Hospital would not exist in the capacity it does today,” the Forbes website says.

After a 1997 heart attack, he underwent treatment at Forbes, Olsen said.

“The heart center became very important to him,” she said. “That's why he wanted to make a difference and a donation in creating a heart and vascular unit with state-of-the-art equipment.”

Mr. Dardanell served in numerous volunteer capacities, including as chairman of the board of trustees for La Roche College, a trustee for the University of Pittsburgh and Forbes Health System; and a board member of United Mental Health and the Animal Rescue League.

In addition to his wife and daughter, survivors include a son, Edward, of the South Side, and two grandchildren. He was preceded in death by a brother, Frank; a sister, Lucy; and a granddaughter.

Visitation will be from 2 to 4 and 6 to 8 p.m. Monday in William F. Gross Funeral Home Ltd., 11735 Franks-town Road, Penn Hills. Service and interment will be private.

Tory N. Parrish is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-380-5662 or

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