When Dante Polla was a teenager, he would talk with the neighbors about what was happening in the community, write it up, print it out and hand out his own newspaper.
His passion for newspapers followed him throughout his life, no matter what career he was in, and eventually led him to the Tribune-Review, where he worked as an advertising representative.
“He went door to door selling advertisements and liked to be creative in the advertisements he did,” his daughter, Maureen Jozwick, said. “It didn’t matter the business, my dad had a wonderful way of coming up with the creative ideas to help the merchant sell his or her product.”
Dante H. Polla of Greensburg died Tuesday, July 9, 2019. He was 97.
Born in Leechburg on Dec. 8, 1921, he was the son of the late Anthony and Angelica Romarso Polla.
Prior to working at the Tribune-Review, Mr. Polla served in the Coast Guard during World War II. The day he turned 20 was the day Congress declared war on Japan, Jozwick said. During his time on the Coast Guard ship, he worked in the newspaper printing room.
According to Jozwick, Mr. Polla had people coming up to him asking for his autograph during a leave in New York City during the war, because of his resemblance to actor Gregory Peck, known for his role as Atticus Finch in “To Kill A Mockingbird.”
And that Atticus Finch persona carried over into his daily life, telling his daughters, Jozwick and Helene Ciarochi, “You don’t know what it’s like to be another person until you’ve walked in their shoes,” a quote similar to one said in the book.
Honorably discharged in 1945, Mr. Polla started his newspaper career at the Jeannette News Dispatch. Moving to Greensburg in the mid 1950s, he started to work for the Tribune-Review.
Mr. Polla was a member of Our Lady of Grace Church in Greensburg, serving in the choir alongside his late wife, Jennie Rich Polla, and as an altar server. In his free time, he enjoyed tending a garden, canning vegetables and making sauces, building things for the house and volunteering at the Christian Layman Corps in Greensburg.
“He was the best dad,” Jozwick said. “He was thoughtful, considerate and a great neighbor. He loved his family. He was married to my mom for so many years, over 60 years, and just had a wonderful marriage.”
In addition to his daughters, Mr. Polla is survived by four grandchildren, Adrienne Michitsch, Mia Schochet, Michael Ciarochi and Carly Martinez; and five great-grandchildren.
Family and friends were received at Barnhart Funeral Home in Greensburg. Interment with full military honors was held in Westmoreland County Memorial Park.
Memorial donations can be made to Christian Layman Corps, 258 E. Pittsburgh St., Greensburg.