Former U.S. Rep. Frank R. Mascara of Charleroi looking rather humorous in happening clothing in 1972 after having been elected controller in Washington County, Pa., where he would later serve 14 years as chairman of county commissioners. (Observer-Reporter photo)
By Scott Beveridge
CHARLEROI, Pa. – Two humorous stories were told Saturday during the funeral for former U.S. Rep. Frank R. Mascara, who was otherwise all business in public.
One involved a tradition he carried out each Thanksgiving at his Charleroi, Pa., home that involved him starting a food fight.
"Imagine to be at his house and him throwing food," said the Democrat's nephew, Joey Mendola, who delivered a eulogy for Mascara in Mary, Mother of the Church in this Southwestern Pennsylvania borough.
It is funny to think Mascara would waste food when his per diem receipts in Washington, D.C., often came from such fast food restaurants as McDonald's and Wendy's rather than those at five-star hotels.
"He'd say, 'That's people's money. That's just wasteful," Mendola, was quoted as saying in the Observer-Reporter while remembering the life of Mascara, who died of lung cancer July 10 at age 81.
The other story came from a 13-year-old grandson, Matthew Mascara, who delivered an eloquent eulogy.
The boy spoke about his having convinced another kid in the family to sneak behind their grandfather and dump handfuls of rock salt on his head.
The other boy complied, and then Mascara just sat there and did nothing, staring with a straight face and salt burning his eyes.
"That's what I call love," Matthew said. "What an amazing man."
It was a fitting end to an impressive and classy funeral carried out by the late congressman's family.