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Industrious lawyer influenced by war, Depression

| Monday, Dec. 23, 2013, 11:48 p.m.
Samuel R. Sciullo of Castle Shannon, a lawyer for more than 60 years, died on Saturday, Dec. 21, 2013, after a lengthy illness. He was 91.

Samuel Sciullo was the only member of his army unit who could type and take shorthand — leading to his immediate appointment in 1945 as secretary to Brig. Gen. Frank Hawley, military commandant of the occupied American sector of Berlin.

“This guy led a life that you would not believe,” said Lisa Sciullo Goodyear of Mt. Lebanon, Mr. Sciullo's daughter. “He had office skills and could speak Italian, French and German, and that's why he became the general's secretary.”

Samuel R. Sciullo of Castle Shannon, a lawyer for more than 60 years, died on Saturday, Dec. 21, 2013, after a lengthy illness. He was 91.

Mr. Sciullo was in Paris on Liberation Day in 1944 and was among the first Americans to enter Berlin. He spent two years in Berlin, then a city in shambles, whose residents were starving.

“He still would tear up when he talked about some of the young children he knew there,” Goodyear said.

On a visit to Adolf Hitler's destroyed bunker, Mr. Sciullo found an autographed photograph of the dictator, which he donated to the Allied Museum in Berlin.

Born in Vandergrift, Mr. Sciullo received a letter from the governor when he graduated from high school, congratulating him for perfect attendance.

When the war ended, he attended the University of Pittsburgh on scholarship and then Pitt's law school. At Pitt, he met his wife of 65 years, Ryta Pluciennik Sciullo.

Mr. Sciullo was a family lawyer but took all kinds of cases, his daughter said. He worked seven days a week, including many evenings.

“He worked like that until he was in his 80s,” Goodyear said.

Ryta Goodyear of Washington said her grandfather often talked about his early life during the Depression.

“Life was really hard then. I think he wanted us to be grateful for everything we have,” she said.

Mr. Sciullo was a volunteer fireman and served on the Keystone Oaks School Board and Castle Shannon council.

In addition to his wife and daughter, Mr. Sciullo is survived by daughters Gina Sciullo Siudyla of Castle Shannon and Maria Sciullo Kaufman of Castle Shannon; a son, Samuel R. Sciullo Jr., of Castle Shannon; a brother, Eugene Sciullo of Mercer; and six grandchildren.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 9 a.m. Tuesday in St. Anne Church, Castle Shannon. Private entombment will follow at Queen of Heaven Cemetery. Arrangements are by Laughlin Memorial Chapel, Inc., 1008 Castle Shannon Blvd.

Rick Wills is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7944 or at rwills@tribweb.com.

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