Patrick Scannello dies, a politician who cared

May 15, 1993|By John A. Morris | John A. Morris,Staff Writer

Del. Patrick C. Scannello, a Glen Burnie Democrat fabled for his constituent service, died yesterday morning from colon cancer and a related blood disorder.

Mr. Scannello, 56, known for his strong anti-abortion stance, had battled colon cancer for two years. He missed most of the recent 90-day legislative session combating a blood disorder caused by chemotherapy.

A four-term delegate, Mr. Scannello had said as recently as two ** months ago that he would run for re-election in 1994. He probably would have won; he has received the most votes of any District 32 candidate in each of his four elections.

"He was working on constituent problems up to the last week," his wife, Marie, said yesterday. "He made sure the scholarships [given by each lawmaker to students in their district] got in and were all signed so they [the students] would have them for at least one more year."

Catherine Bonsuk, his aide for 15 years, said, "If someone called up in trouble, Pat was there. If they needed groceries, they got them anonymously. If someone's son ended up in jail, he'd go up there, read them the riot act and bring them home. Pat was always looking out for his neighbors."

Mr. Scannello became active in his community almost as soon as his family moved to the North Glen neighborhood from Baltimore 40 years ago, Mrs. Scannello said. For years, the family owned a Vernon Avenue grocery; later, Mr. Scannello operated a liquor store.

He was one of three North Glen community leaders honored last month by County Executive Robert R. Neall for their roles in the construction of the community hall on Furnace Branch Road. Mr. Neall renamed the side streets after Mr. Scannello, former state Sen. Theodore Bertier and Robert Lang.

Mr. Scannello first ran for delegate in 1974 on a ticket with Senator Bertier, who had lost his seat in 1970 after a scandal in which he awarded his daughter a college scholarship. Mr. Scannello nearly won one of the three delegate seats regardless.

In 1978, state Sen. Michael Wagner recruited him to his ticket.

"That family store of theirs was a pillar of that [North Glen] community," said Del. Tyras S. "Bunk" Athey, a Jessup Democrat. "When other families had problems with their kids or with money, they were always there. That community never forgot that when he was running for office."

Mr. Scannello remained popular because "he was always reacting to people's problems. It could be anything from a school bus route to flood conditions," Senator Wagner said.

He particularly became known for his defense of mobile home owners and his efforts on behalf of senior citizens.

"He tried to give us equal rights," said Marie Delano, president of the Anne Arundel County Mobile Home Owners Association. "He helped mobile home owners get rid of the 'trailer' stigma."

Anne Arundel County Councilman George Bachman said Mr. Scannello was responsible for much of the senior housing built in the north county area. "Pat was a strong advocate for the senior citizen. He always championed their causes," Mr. Bachman said.

Outside the district, Mr. Scannello, a devout Catholic, perhaps was best known for his anti-abortion stand. He voted against the state budget for 12 years because it included state financing for abortions.

Besides his wife, Mr. Scannello is survived by four sisters, four daughters and four grandchildren.

A viewing is planned at Fink Funeral Home in Glen Burnie from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday and Monday. A Mass of Christian burial will be offered at Holy Trinity Catholic Church at 11 a.m. Tuesday. Mr. Scannello will be interred at Sacred Heart of Jesus Cemetery in Baltimore.

His family has asked that friends send contributions to the Oncology Unit at Mercy Medical Center, 301 St. Paul Place, Baltimore 21202.

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