Anthony Piccinini, 80, head of realty company, active in city's Italian community

January 30, 2001|By Jacques Kelly | Jacques Kelly,SUN STAFF

Anthony Piccinini, who founded a real estate business, died Saturday of a respiratory ailment at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center. He was 80 and lived in Towson.

He was president and chief executive officer of Leader Realty in Baltimore, a home sales and rental and land development business that he established in 1947.

"He was firm, fair and responsive," said a friend, Stanley Sugarman of Northwest Baltimore. "In racial matters, he was colorblind. He helped many black Korean War veterans, who were being denied decent housing but who qualified financially to buy homes. He worked hard to increase owner occupancy in the city."

"He always loved the city and was a great booster of it," Mr. Sugarman said.

Throughout his career, Mr. Piccinini sold and rented hundreds of Baltimore rowhouses.

In the 1970s and 1980s, he and partners purchased land in northern Baltimore County on which they developed housing.

"You could do business on a handshake with him," said Elaine Mintzes, a friend and business associate. "You could say he sensed location, location and location."

Mr. Piccinini was active in several charities, including the Shaare Zedek Medical Center, a Jerusalem hospital that treats Christians, Jews and Muslims."[He and his wife] were exceptional friends and righteous gentiles, who made a vital contribution to the health care needs of the people of Jerusalem," said Sidney G. Adler, treasurer of the medical center's American Committee.

Mr. Piccinini also supported Boys Town and Girls Town of Italy, a charity outside Rome that provides homes to children worldwide who have been victimized and left homeless.

He was active in Baltimore's Italian-American community and was grand marshal of the 1998 Columbus Day parade.

He was co-chairman of the Columbus Statue and Piazza Committee, the group that raised funds for the Christopher Columbus statue on President Street in the Inner Harbor.

He was co-founder of the Cavalier Lodge of the Order of the Sons of Italy, a member of the Towson-Dulaney Lodge of the Sons of Italy and president of the Italian American Organizations United. He was also a director of the Appian Society.

He was recognized with numerous awards, including the Commentatore of Merit conferred by the Republic of Italy.

Born in Ascoli Piceno, Italy, he came to East Baltimore with his parents.

He was educated in city public schools and worked at Bethlehem Steel Corp.'s Sparrows Point shipyard, building Liberty ships during World War II.

In 1940, he married Irene Dolores Knoedler, who died in 1997. The couple made numerous visits to the charities they supported in Israel and Italy.

A Mass of Christian burial for Mr. Piccinini will be celebrated at 9 a.m. tomorrow at Immaculate Heart of Mary Roman Catholic Church, 8501 Loch Raven Blvd.

A daughter, Janice Ann Piccinini of Timonium, served in the Maryland Senate.

He is also survived by a son, Charles Anthony Piccinini of Cockeysville; another daughter, Dolores Irene Piccinini of Timonium; a brother, August Piccinini of Baltimore; two sisters, Jenny Wise of Cockeysville and Frances Gayo of Towson; and three grandchildren.

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