Louis J. Tullio

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Louis J. Tullio
44th Mayor of Erie, Pennsylvania
In office
1966 – November 12, 1989
Preceded by Charles B. Williamson
Succeeded by Joyce A. Savocchio
Personal details
Born (1916-05-17)May 17, 1916
Erie, Pennsylvania
Died April 17, 1990(1990-04-17) (aged 73)
Erie, Pennsylvania
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Grace Tullio
Alma mater Boston University
Religion Roman Catholic

Louis J. Tullio (May 17, 1916 - April 17, 1990) was the Mayor of Erie, Pennsylvania for six terms from 1966 until 1989. He was the first Italian-American elected to this position.


Tullio had a childhood goal of becoming Mayor of Erie. He graduated from the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts on a football scholarship, and received a master's degree in education from Boston University. After serving in the Navy in the South Pacific during World War II, he opened a restaurant in Erie and became a high school teacher and football coach, including as head coach of the professional Erie Vets franchise. He lost the 1965 Democratic primary for mayor to Mike Cannavino, who died 11 days before the general election. This allowed Tullio to replace Cannavino on the ballot and defeat Republican incumbent Charles Williamson.

As mayor, Tullio was credited with helping slow Erie's decline as a manufacturing town and preserving it as a port city and commercial center. Regardless, during his long administration, the city of Erie declined in population and was plagued by urban deterioration. He easily won re-election five times, and unsuccessfully ran for Congress in 1976.

In October 1987, Tullio was diagnosed with amyloidosis, a rare disease that also struck then-Pittsburgh mayor Richard Caliguiri and then-Pennsylvania governor Robert P. Casey. Despite his illness, which forced him to cut back on his workload and schedule, Tullio stayed in office and did not appoint an acting mayor until November 12, 1989, shortly before the end of his term. He eventually succumbed to his illness in his home on April 17, 1990.[1]


The Louis J. Tullio Plaza, comprising Jerry Uht Park, Erie Insurance Arena, and the Warner Theatre, is named after him.


Further reading[edit]

  • deCourcy Hinds, Michael. "Erie Journal; A Mayor For Whom The Office Equals Life." The New York Times 27 Oct 1989, late ed.: A12.
  • AP. "Ailing Mayor of Erie Resigns." The New York Times 12 Nov 1989, late ed.: A28.

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