North Huntingdon bus driver trekked millions of miles on the road
Driving was a major part of Mark Lazzaro’s life from the time he was a teenager.
Whether it was for the Marines or a commercial bus line, Lazzaro took his driving seriously and treated his passengers with care, said his wife, Janice.
“He just loved driving ever since he was young,” she said. “He also felt that he ministered to the people on the bus. He would have a microphone and sing Christian songs with the people.”
Mr. Lazzaro accumulated more than 3.6 million miles as a commercial bus driver and, later, as a driver for senior citizens and Sunday school students.
Mark J. Lazzaro of North Huntingdon died Saturday, Aug. 17, 2019. He was 76.
Born in Pittsburgh on Sept. 21, 1942, he was a son of the late Joseph J. and Josephine M. (Mazzei) Lazzaro. He enlisted in the Marine Corps at age 17, serving from 1960-64 and in the reserves for another four years.
A motor transport member, he was stationed in Japan for a while and was lead driver for a colonel. During the Cuban missile crisis, he served on a ship that was part of a planned but abandoned U.S. military response, his wife said.
“He was in the water waiting to go, until President Kennedy stepped in and stopped what was going on,” she said.
Mr. Lazzaro trained as a commercial bus driver with Greyhound and then went to Lincoln Coach. He also drove for Pennsylvania Coach, Sun Coach and 88 Transit.
He met his wife on a Lincoln Coach bus that took people in the North Huntingdon/Irwin area to their jobs in Pittsburgh. Janice Lazzaro was working as a secretary in Pittsburgh at the time and had Mr. Lazzaro as a driver.
“I would get on his bus. He saw me sitting behind him, and he was looking in the mirror at me,” she said. The couple started dating and were about to celebrate their 45th wedding anniversary.
Although his career kept him away from home for stretches at a time, he enjoyed the travel aspects of his work, his wife said. “He would come back and tell us what he did. He enjoyed the traveling and the places he got to see,” she said.
Mr. Lazzaro drove for charter tours to a variety of destinations on the East Coast and in the South, including Lancaster, Niagara Falls, Dollywood (Tennessee), Oglebay Resort (West Virginia), North Carolina, Georgia and Florida, she said.
He later was lead van driver for Community Life in Wilkinsburg, where he took senior citizens to various appointments. He was in charge of the church van at Norwin Christian & Missionary Alliance Church, where he served as an elder, a Sunday school teacher and a member of the choir.
“He excelled at everything he did,” Janice Lazzaro said.
Mr. Lazzaro is survived by his wife, Janice L. (Sinwell) Lazzaro; his children, Cheryl Odorcich, Mark A. Lazzaro Sr. and his wife, Pamela, and Melissa L. Hamilton and her husband, Lawrence; seven grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.
Friends may call from 9 to 10 a.m. Tuesday at the William Snyder Funeral Home, 521 Main St., Irwin, where a funeral service will be held at 10 a.m. Interment with military honors will follow at Union Cemetery.
Stephen Huba is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Stephen at 724-850-1280, [email protected] or via Twitter .