By Stefan Yablonski
He was the former publisher of The Palladium-Times and columnist for Oswego County Business Magazine
Bruce Frassinelli, 84, former editor and publisher at The Palladium-Times in Oswego, died Wednesday, Sept. 6, 2023.
He was also the former editor and general manager of The Express newspaper in Easton, Pennsylvania. He worked there more than 25 years, starting in 1966.
He had been a long-time columnist for the Oswego County Business Magazine, as well.
He died early Wednesday of natural causes at his home in North Whitehall.
Mr. Frassinelli was born in Summit Hill, Carbon County. He was a 1957 graduate of the old Summit Hill High School and is in the Carbon County Sports Hall of Fame for his achievements as a football lineman.
His extra-point kick made the difference in a thrilling 7-6 win against Jim Thorpe during the 1956 season.
In 1992, he was named publisher of The Palladium-Times where he served until his retirement in 1998.
He has three sons, Mike, Paul and Stephen; two stepsons; five grandchildren; and four step-grandchildren.
His wife, the former Marie Macaluso of New Columbus, passed away in 2015.
He was still sharp and writing right up to the end, his son, Mike said.
“He had a nasty fall earlier this year. And he had some other problems, too. He was going to get a pace maker; so we were monitoring that. Before that he was walking five miles every day,” Mike said.
His father’s parents were Italian immigrants who met in Bethlehem and moved to Summit Hill, where they operated a successful grocery store that catered to the town’s mining community, Mike said.
He was the youngest of three boys. His mother instilled the importance of an education in her sons.
“Dad’s best quality was his curiosity. It wasn’t enough for you to tell him that something happened — he wanted to know how it happened,” Mike said.
Before becoming a newspaperman, Mr. Frassinelli worked as a radio announcer and a French teacher at Notre Dame High School in East Stroudsburg.
Mike recalled a time when his father was working at a radio station. He was playing Big Band records. Someone called the station and said, “Hey pal, I like what you are playing.”
“The caller was a Big Band music composer and my dad was playing some of his records,” he said. “The caller invited him over to play some pool. He needed a secret code to get into this bar where they were playing pool.”
They made him use the radio name Bruce Phillip (his middle name) instead of “Frassinelli” in the early 1960s, he added.
“My grandmother was irate over that. She said, ‘Frassinelli was good enough for you all these years and now it’s not!?’”
Mr. Frassinelli joined The Express in 1966 as Pocono bureau chief and rose through the ranks. He was named editor in 1990 and general manager in 1991.
“My father started at a one-person office in Stroudsburg, the smallest office there, and he rose all the way to the top editor spot,” Mike said; a journalist himself who formerly worked at The Morning Call in Allentown and The Star-Ledger in Newark, New Jersey.
“He was very proud of working at The Express and working in Easton and being with a paper that always punched up. He was also very proud of all of the talented people that worked in that newsroom.”
After retirement, Mike said his father remained active working as a consultant and educator. He was an adjunct instructor at Lehigh Carbon Community College and taught at SUNY Oswego and at Strayer University in Upper Saucon Township.
His father was the son of immigrants from northern Italy who went on to interview “presidents and paupers,” Mike said As a journalist, he interviewed dozens of high-profile figures and loved to tell stories about their encounters — among them President John F. Kennedy, President Ronald Reagan, Vice President Dan Quayle and Princess Grace Kelly, he added.
“I’ve been a professional journalist for 36 years now. And this (my dad’s obituary) is the most important thing I’ve ever written,” he said.
“He wanted there to be music from the 1950s and early ‘60s — he wants people to reminisce about their time together,” Mike added. “He doesn’t want a somber thing.”
A memorial service is set for noon Friday, Sept. 15, at the Thomas J. Parambo Funeral Home, 54 W. Fell St., Summit Hill. Calling hours are 10 a.m. to noon that day.