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Columnist Bruce Frassinelli dies

Lehigh Valley Press and Times News columnist Bruce Frassinelli died unexpectedly Sept. 5 at age 84, his family said Sept 6.

Frassinelli, a retired editor of The Express-Times and a Summit Hill native, wrote several opinion columns a week for the Lehigh Valley Press and Times News.

“Bruce added a valuable dimension of critical thinking that we needed in the Times News, and our readers got a chance to experience the well thought out and well researched topics he took on when writing his opinion columns. We will all miss Bruce for his contributions to the Times News, and I will miss him as my friend,” said Fred Masenheimer, publisher emeritus of the Times News.

Frassinelli was inducted into the Carbon County Hall of Fame in 2019.

A 1957 graduate of Summit Hill High School, he lettered in three sports and served as co-captain of the Hillers’ football team in his senior year.

His extra-point kick made the difference in a thrilling 7-6 win against Jim Thorpe during the 1956 season. As a tackle, he was named to the all-Panther Valley team during his senior year.

He also threw the discus and shot put on the track and field team for three years and was first baseman and hit .383 on Summit Hill’s first-ever baseball team during the spring of 1957.

The son of Italian immigrants, Frassinelli was in the communication and education professions simultaneously for almost 65 years.

He delivered the keynote Memorial Day address in Summit Hill during the community’s annual services in 2018.

A 1961 graduate of East Stroudsburg University, he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in education, majoring in French. He was one of the first three recipients of a Master of Arts degree in political science from ESU in 1969.

In 2011, he was named recipient of the Distinguished Alumni Award from his alma mater, and in May 2012, he was the keynote speaker at the ESU Graduate Division Commencement ceremonies.

His career started as a part-time radio announcer at the Stroudsburg radio station while he was a junior at ESU in 1960. Three years later, he became the station’s program, news and sports editor.

In 1966, he was named Pocono Bureau chief of The Easton Express (now The Express-Times), rising to editor, then general manager.

He was the former editor and general manager of The Express-Times in Easton, where he worked for more than 25 years.

He and his colleagues were nominated for a Pulitzer Prize in 1972 for Rape of the Poconos, a series of articles about abuses in the vacation-home industry, which led to corrective Congressional legislation.

While he was editor of The Easton Daily, it was named one of the 14 best small-city newspapers (under 50,000 circulation) in the United States and the best in Pennsylvania by the American Society of Newspaper Editors.

In 1992, he was promoted to publisher and editor of The Palladium-Times, the daily newspaper in Oswego, N.Y., where he served until his retirement in 1998.

For 25 years, he was an adjunct instructor of communication courses for the State University of New York at Oswego. He also had taught political science courses at Lehigh Carbon Community College, Schnecksville, where he lived. He also taught courses at ESU, Northampton Community College, Strayer University and Stroudsburg Area and Notre Dame high schools in the Stroudsburgs and at the former Washington, N.J., High School.

During his time in Oswego, Frassinelli served as chair of the board of directors of Oswego County National Bank and chair of the bank’s philanthropic foundation. He was also governor of Rotary International District 7150 in Central New York, president of Oswego Rotary Club and chair of its board of directors.

He served as coordinator and master of ceremonies for the regional finals of Scripps National Spelling Bee for 25 years.

Frassinelli was president of the Pennsylvania Associated Press Managing Editors Association and the Professional Journalists and Communicators of Oswego County. He won prizes for column writing in both Pennsylvania and New York.

He was cited by both the Pennsylvania General Assembly and the New York state Legislature for more than a half century of “outstanding contributions in the fields of communications and education.”

Frassinelli has three sons, two stepsons and nine grandchildren. His wife, the former Marie Macaluso, of New Columbus, died in January 2015.

Bruce Frassinelli, a Summit Hill native, was an award-winning journalist and opinion columnist for Lehigh Valley Press and Times News. Frassinelli died Sept. 5.