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Sam Pinizzotto, 90, musician, teacher

In the early 1950s, Sam Zotto was a tenor with the Oscar Dumont Orchestra, broadcast over the CBS radio network.

In the early 1950s, Sam Zotto was a tenor with the Oscar Dumont Orchestra, broadcast over the CBS radio network.

When he was a child, son Russell recalled, "my mom would wake me up and we would hear him singing on coast-to-coast radio," mostly on Saturdays.

They would listen in their Paulsboro home while his father performed at what was then the Sunset Beach Ballroom in Almonesson.

For the rest of the week, Russell said, Samuel J. Pinizzotto - who shortened his name when he was performing - "substitute-taught, sold automobiles. The guy worked his butt off."

On Wednesday, March 25, Samuel J. Pinizzotto, 90, of Paulsboro, who began teaching full time in 1956 and retired in 1981 as superintendent of schools in the Greenwich Township School District after earning a doctorate in education, died at the New Jersey Veterans Memorial Home in Vineland.

For Oscar Dumont and others, Mr. Pinizzotto also played guitar, though, his son said, "he played tuba in the marching band" at Paulsboro High School.

"His dad sent him for lessons when he was 5 years old," and he continued playing guitar into his 80s.

"When he was a teenager," his son said, "he would go to Atlantic City and play with one of the big bands," ones that needed to flesh out the bandstand with local talent.

After he began his teaching career, Mr. Pinizzotto continued playing at banquets and other local events with bands such as that of Thomas DiPaolo of Mount Laurel, known as Tommy Darro.

"He sang somewhat" with these groups, his son said, "but he was not the main singer. . . .

"I like to mow my lawn," his son said. "He liked to go out and play music."

Born in Mapleton, Huntingdon County, Pa., Mr. Pinizzotto graduated from Paulsboro High School and during World War II served as an Army radio operator in the Philippines and New Guinea.

He earned his bachelor's at La Salle University after years as a part-time student and earned a master's in education at Rowan University while teaching full time.

He later earned his doctorate in education at Temple University.

In 1956, he began his academic career by teaching sixth grade at a Clayton elementary school for a year or two, his son said, then briefly teaching sixth grade in Paulsboro.

He taught in the demonstration school at Glassboro State Teachers College, where students learned by watching teachers deal with grade-school students and, by the late 1960s, his son said, "he ended up being principal of that school."

In the early 1970s, Mr. Pinizzotto was dean for program development and community services at what is now Atlantic Cape Community College.

From the mid-1970s, he was Greenwich school superintendent and, for a time, a member of the Paulsboro Board of Education.

He was a former Paulsboro president of the Order Sons of Italy in America and of the Circolo Italiano of South Jersey.

Besides son Russell, Mr. Pinizzotto is survived by sons Samuel Jr. and Joseph, daughter Frances Rufino, a brother, 11 grandchildren, and 17 great-grandchildren. His wife, Edith, died in 2005.

Viewings were set from 7 to 9 p.m. Monday, March 30, and from 9 to 10 a.m. Tuesday, March 31, both at the Landolfi Funeral Home, 300 W. Broad St., Paulsboro, before a 10:30 Funeral Mass at St. John's Church, 647 Beacon Ave., Paulsboro, with interment in Eglington Cemetery, Clarksboro.

Donations may be sent to the Dr. Samuel J. Pinizzotto Memorial Scholarship, Paulsboro High School, 670 N. Delaware St., Paulsboro 08066.

Condolences may be offered to the family at

Editor's Note: This story was changed to correct the date of death.

610-313-8134 @WNaedele