Former mayor remembered
WELLSVILLE — Those who knew the late Nunzio Lombardozzi remembered a man who was passionate about his hometown and took pride as a community leader.
Lombardozzi, who served in various roles in the community and also spent 21 years in public office as both a city councilman and longtime mayor, died Saturday at the age of 82.
Since Saturday evening when news of his passing broke on social media, several tributes, condolences and memories have been shared by friends and family who knew Lombardozzi, some sharing pictures of him throughout his life and career.
Current Mayor Nancy Murray remembered Lombardozzi for his dedication in numerous ways to the community, whether it was through the various non-profit organizations in which he participated or his time in office.
“He was dedicated to this village, he loved this town,” Murray said. “He was ‘Mr. Wellsville’, you know.”
Murray recalled speaking with Lombardozzi after winning the mayoral race in the November 2015 election, and remembered the advice he gave her as she started her four-year term this past January.
“He did give me some advice though when I was elected mayor,” Murray said. “He did say ‘Just remember, you do it your way, you do it the right way and things will work out.'”
Longtime councilman Randy Allmon served on council during Lombardozzi’s tenure as mayor and noted that while Lombardozzi may have been the mayor, he wasn’t afraid to get the job done.
“He was always dressed in work clothes because he would be out there working with the men,” Allmon said. “He wasn’t like a mayor…but he had to do it himself. He had to make sure it was done right, and he just loved to work.”
Lombardozzi’s political career in Wellsville included a 13-year run on city council, to which he served as president pro-tempore for 10 of those years, followed by eight years as the town’s mayor.
Along with earning the nickname “Mr. Wellsville,” another title that stuck with him over the years was “The Marrying Mayor of Wellsville” – connected to Lombardozzi presiding over more than 330 weddings during his two terms in office.
This past May during a village council meeting, Lombardozzi took time to talk about the weddings as he was honored by the Moving Wellsville Forward Committee for his career achievements – one of numerous recognitions he received throughout his lifetime. He said during the acceptance speech the weddings were all chronicled in several scrapbooks.
“We had seven albums and in there listed was every wedding we did, 333 of them, which says a lot when you get to do that,” Lombardozzi said as he accepted the award.
Born Jan. 4, 1934, in Wellsville, Lombardozzi was a 1952 graduate of Wellsville High School and served in the U.S. Army Medical Corps during the Korean War.
In addition to his tenure in public office, Lombardozzi worked 31 years at Crucible Steel Co., where he became a foreman in the General Labor department until the mill’s closure in 1982. He later served as chief of security at Homer Laughlin China Co.
Staying busy outside of public office and his other careers, Lombardozzi remained dedicated to various organizations throughout the community. A longtime parishioner of the former Immaculate Conception Church, he served as an usher at the church for 50 years and was active with the local Knights of Columbus as a former Grand Knight.
He also served as president of the Wellsville Jaycees in the early 1960s, was a member of the Wellsville Sons of Italy, and served in various charity drives including the Heart Fund Drive, Dollars for Scholars, Catholic Charities, Boy Scouts and Measure Up for Mental Health.
Lombardozzi also showed his support for local sports as he served as timekeeper for the Wellsville football team for 35 years and handled statistics for the Wellsville basketball team, also for 35 years.
Among other recognitions he received were the Distinguished Service Award, “Outstanding Community Leader of America” and “Citizen of the Week” all from the Jaycees in 1968, Jaycee of the Year in 1969, and a recipient of the Columbiana County Man of the Year Award in 1983 as selected by the Morning Journal (a sister publication of The Review). He was honored by the village in 2008 as a Wellsville Legend and was inducted into the Lou Holtz Upper Ohio Valley Hall of Fame in 2010.
Lombardozzi is survived by his two sons, Anthony and Michael, both of Wellsville; a sister, Rose Benedetto, also of Wellsville; and eight grandchildren and 17 great-grandchildren.
Visitation is 2-8 p.m. today at Dawson Funeral Home in East Liverpool, with funeral services set 11 a.m. Wednesday, also at the funeral home. Following the service, Lombardozzi will be laid to rest at St. Elizabeth Cemetery in Wellsville with full military honors. Memorial donations can be sent to either the American Heart Association or the American Cancer Society.