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Alexander V. Sarcione Sr., 86; a founder of Widener Law School

Alexander V. Sarcione Sr., 86, of Haverford, a founder of what is now Widener University School of Law, died Saturday, Nov. 3, at his home.

Alexander V. Sarcione Sr., 86, of Haverford, a founder of what is now Widener University School of Law, died Saturday, Nov. 3, at his home.

He "was sharp as a knife" the day before, and went shopping for clothes at Brooks Brothers, said his son-in-law, Paul Ryan.

Known as Sandy to his friends, Mr. Sarcione was born and raised in Providence, R.I., but spent most of his life in Villanova and Haverford.

Mr. Sarcione was one of several attorneys who in 1971 founded the Delaware Law School, later renamed as part of Widener. The school in Wilmington honored him last year, saying he "provided great leadership in [its] efforts to gain accreditation and raise funds."

Mr. Sarcione graduated from Classical High School in Providence and received an appointment to the U.S. Military Academy. He graduated in 1949 and was stationed in Germany as part of the occupation force in Western Europe.

In 1955, Mr. Sarcione went into the jewelry and real estate business with his father-in-law, but he aspired to practice law and went to Temple Law School at night, his son-in-law said.

His daughter, Jackie Ryan, recalled her father "down in the basement studying" during that period.

Mr. Sarcione earned his law degree in 1963, and was hired in the office of the chief counsel for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, where he worked until the early 1990s. Although a staunch Republican, he survived changes of political regime.

The hallmark of his legal career was supervising the state's litigation over construction of the Blue Route. Mr. Sarcione was considered an expert in eminent domain law, his son-in-law said.

One of Mr. Sarcione's favorite projects was mentoring young attorneys fresh out of law school. "He gave tons of young lawyers their first job," his son-in-law said.

Both his sons, Alexander V. Jr. and Anthony A., attended Delaware Law School. Anthony is a former Chester County district attorney and is a Chester County judge.

Alexander's death in 1976 while enrolled at the law school led to creation of the annual Alexander V. Sarcione Jr. Memorial Award and Scholarship.

Mr. Sarcione was a longtime member of the Lincoln Table at the Union League, the Justinian Society of Philadelphia, and Overbrook Country Club.

His son-in-law described him as "a consummate gentleman, with old-school dignity and perfect manners."

In retirement, he focused on family, enjoying the Ocean City, N.J., beach with his grandchildren and wife of 63 years, the former Nancy C. Castiglioni.

Surviving, in addition to his wife, son and daughter, are a brother; a sister; nine grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.

A visitation from 6 to 9 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 7, at the D'Anjolell Memorial Home of Broomall, 2811 West Chester Pike, will be followed by an 11 a.m. Funeral Mass on Thursday, Nov. 8, at St. Denis Church, Eagle Road and St. Denis Lane, Havertown. Entombment will be in Calvary Cemetery, West Conshohocken.

Memorial donations may be made to Widener Law School, c/o Alexander V. Sarcione Jr. Endowed Scholarship Fund, Box 7474, Wilmington, Del. 19803.