Guy R. Petroziello

As high school sweethearts in the pre-war years, Guy Petroziello and Rosemary Agurkis would wave good night to each other from the windows of their cattycorner homes on Center and Searle streets in the upstate coal-mining town of Pittston, Pa., a bustling enclave of hardworking immigrants that sprouted and later wilted amid the forested and picturesque Pocono Mountains.

Guy and Rosemary said goodbye for the last time Thursday, Nov. 18, when Guy died after a long struggle with kidney disease. He was 83.

The couple began their long romance as students at Pittston High School when Guy was a junior, and Rosemary just a freshman. World War II would soon begin and after graduation in 1944, Guy entered the U.S. Army and began studies at Penn Military College. His time at the college was short-circuited by the demands of war, however, and he was shipped overseas after six months of training. While he was stationed in the Philippines as part of the U.S. occupying force, Guy continued his education at the University of Manila.

Academics would become a second love for Guy, a master teacher and inspirational force for thousands of students over many decades. When he returned home, Guy attended and graduated from Jesuit-led Scranton University, where he developed a keen interest in writing, public speaking, and debate. He later earned a masters degree from Fordham University in New York City.

Guy roomed at a YMCA while attending Fordham, but Rosemary's comforting presence was nearby. A graduate of Marywood College, Rosemary's post-graduate education continued at Traphagan, also in New York, where she studied fashion design and illustration.

The two enjoyed an adventurous time together in one of world's great cities. Upon completion of their studies, Guy and Rosemary returned home in 1952 to be married. They had their first child, a son, a little more than a year later.

Guy began his teaching career at Lambertville High School in New Jersey. He later landed a job as an English teacher at the mushrooming Bristol Township School District. He started at Delhaas High School, and later transferred to the newly constructed Woodrow Wilson, now Truman High School, in the early 1960s. Using his GI benefits, Guy had bought the couple's first home in 1955 in the infant community of Levittown. With a $100 down payment on their Jubilee-style home, the couple settled in for the next decade, giving birth to six more children, and eventually moving to a larger home in Bensalem.

During his career in Bristol Township, Guy rose to department chairman, and later a curriculum coordinator, a district administrative post. He was instrumental in forming the Bristol Township Education Association and served as its first president.

For several years Guy coached a debate and forensics team at Wilson that competed throughout the region. His team regularly appeared on the Philadelphia-based "It's Academic" high school debate show. He also traveled with students competing in public speaking contests. Guy also was an adjunct teacher at Bucks County Community College since its inception and at Penn State's satellite campus.

To support his family, Guy also did private tutoring, conducted writing classes for a variety of institutions, and continued to teach well past his retirement from the Bristol Township School District.

For several years he was a lector at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church in Bensalem. His strong work ethic and commitment to family and faith are among the cherished values he handed down to his children and 18 grandchildren. Guy also was a great-grandpop.

Guy and Rosemary's Bensalem homestead was for many years a gathering place for large family celebrations. Indeed, happy memories resonate within the home's walls, where dozens of photos document a life dedicated to family. Beyond home and family, Guy's many former students speak to his legacy as a respected and beloved teacher. He taught so many so much.

Guy is survived by his loving wife Rosemary; and six children, Guy Petroziello and his wife, Ann; Lisa Oliverio and her husband, Wayne; Barry Petroziello and Diana; Rosemary Eifert and Ed; Sharon Calhoun and Ken; Craig Petroziello and his wife, Joanie.

He was preceded in death by a daughter Karen, who died at birth.

Relatives and friends will be received by the family from 7 to 9 p.m. Monday, and from 9 to 10 a.m. Tuesday at Hoffmann Funeral Home, 1770 Brown Avenue at Hulmeville Road in Bensalem. A funeral Mass will be celebrated at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church, Park Avenue, Bensalem. Internment will be at 1 p.m. in Washington Crossing National Veterans Cemetery in Upper Makefield.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Guardians of the National Cemetery, P.O. Box 233, Newtown PA 18940-0233. Hoffman Funeral Home,


November 21, 2010 2:51 AM