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Educator set example of hard work, compassion

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Aldo O. Prosperi, 86, of Latrobe, passed away Sunday, Sept. 8, 2013, at his home.

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By Rossilynne Skena Culgan
Saturday, Sept. 14, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

With the belief in education as “the road to success,” Aldo O. Prosperi devoted his life's work to teaching — from hundreds of high school students to college undergraduates to his six children, his son said.

Mr. Prosperi of Latrobe died Sunday, Sept. 8, 2013. He was 86.

The longtime teacher and principal was one of the first professors at Westmoreland County Community College, where he taught philosophy, logic and psychology from 1972 to 1996.

“He was there at the inception of the college,” said his son, Aldo J. Prosperi.

He served as chairman of the Education Department of St. Vincent College, his undergraduate alma mater, where he prepared students to become teachers.

“He himself was a demanding teacher — demanding, but also got great results,” said Archabbot Douglas R. Nowicki, chancellor of St. Vincent College. “His own family is proof of what a good role model he was.”

Mr. Prosperi's career included work at schools in Fayette and Westmoreland counties, Ohio and New York.

“He had an extremely hard work ethic,” Aldo J. Prosperi said. “He thought education was the road to success. He loved teaching people, and he loved being around young students.”

A family man, Mr. Prosperi would give comfort with the phrase: “Today's going to be yesterday tomorrow,” his son recalled. He reminded people that material things are fleeting and that “money doesn't make you happy,” with the saying, “People today love things and use people.”

Nowicki lauded Mr. Prosperi's values and devotion to his family.

A Navy veteran who served in the Pacific Theater during World War II, Mr. Prosperi earned a master's degree in education from Duquesne University. He loved to read and to golf.

He left this legacy, his son said: “Stay focused, work hard, treat people nice with compassion and love.”

He is survived by his wife, Shirley M. Prosperi; six children, Susan M. Hickey and husband Martin F. of Latrobe; Dr. Aldo J. Prosperi and wife Kathy of Latrobe; Maryrose Orange and husband Michael of Latrobe; Dr. Stephanie A. Prosperi and husband Denny Findish of Latrobe; Dr. Paul W. Prosperi and wife Amy of Cedar Run, N.J.; and Dr. Anne H. Prosperi of Columbus, Ohio; and 12 grandchildren.

Military services accorded by the combined funeral detail of American Legion Post 515 and VFW Post 3414 will be held at 9:15 a.m. Saturday in Hartman-Graziano Funeral Home, 1500 Ligonier St., Latrobe. A funeral Mass will be celebrated at 10 a.m. in St. Vincent Basilica. Interment will follow in St. Vincent Cemetery.

Rossilynne Skena is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-836-6646 or

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