Biagio Vincent Musto, 82, of Pittston Township, passed away Wednesday, May 5, 2021 in Geisinger Medical Center, Danville.
Born in Pittston Township on December 16, 1938, he was the son of the late Honorable James A. Musto Sr. and Rose Frushon Musto. Throughout Biagio’s life he would mention the devotion that his mother had to St. Therese “the little flower of Jesus.” He also spoke with pride for the dedication that his father had in providing support to coal miners, as well as their children and widows.
He was a graduate of Pittston Township High School, King’s College; where he received a bachelor’s degree, and Catholic University where he received a master’s degree and completed doctorial work.
He built his career around children, their mental health, and their educational success. He held positions at King’s College, Children’s Service Center, and went on to have a successful career at the Pennsylvania Department of Education, where he retired as a Division Chief. He also held adjunct faculty positions at Luzerne County Community College and Misericordia University. Along the way he met many students and learned about their accomplishments, needs, and aspirations. He never forgot one of them. One of his good friends and colleagues once said of him, “Everything Biagio touches turns to gold.”
When Biagio married his wife, Carol Hee Musto, in October 1969, they embarked on a journey together. A life filled with nurturing children, growing a family, giving back through education, preserving nature, embracing literature, and of course engaging in spirited debates. Biagio and Carol had six children, eight grandchildren, and most recently a great grandchild. As Biagio grew up in a large Roman Catholic family filled with love, respect, and kindness, he made sure to echo those same ideals to his own family. He shared stories of he and his seven siblings, especially memories of Ma and Pop and working in the Musto’s Market store.
When his children were young, summers were filled with basins of vegetables from the farmer’s market, planting the garden, canning, watching the fireworks at Kirby park on the Fourth of July, Polka at the Mt. Carmel church picnic, picking berries to make homemade jam and camping trips in the pop up anywhere from Maine to Prince Edward Island to Cape Ann. Biagio could get an idea and build it. He could make anything with his hands. He was a master builder. He pictured the home where he wanted his family to live and made it into the great “house up on the hill.” He built custom dollhouses for each of his daughters, which Carol then decorated.
As the years went on, Biagio could be intimidating to any of the dates who would arrive to pick up his daughters. Coming to pick up a date for the prom might turn into a quick psychological assessment, IQ exam, or some stern advice on how to get yourself on the right path. If you were lucky enough to get to the part where he said, “...that’s neither here nor there”, it was probably best to really listen and soak up the wisdom.
Sunday’s and holidays were incredibly special to Biagio. He would bake Easter pies, molasses cookies, breads, cinnamon raisin walnut buns, and homemade pizza. He and Carol always made sure that macaroni with sauce from the tomatoes in the garden was bubbling on the stove on Sunday. Mass was important and a way for him to celebrate his religion and see family and friends.
He had a true love for pets and wildlife. If he found baby bunnies, or a bird in need, it always became a family project to provide the best care possible. Throughout the years he rescued dozens of animals in need, dogs, cats, bunnies, and birds. He had feeders in every corner of the yard and would enjoy watching the array of birds that would show up.
If you were to ask Biagio what his greatest accomplishment was, he would tell you, his children. Prior to one of his major surgeries in 2008 he told his daughter, “I want you to know, you are all perfect.” He fought a courageous battle against heart disease for over forty years. He endured so many surgeries, procedures, treatments, and tests. It was so much that it would have broken some people or caused them to give up, but he thrived.
Biagio passed away on the evening of May 5th with his wife and his children around him. They surrounded him with their love and read him a blessing to guide him on his way. In the end, we are all flowers plucked from the earth, with some time before we wilt and return to the soil. Biagio was a beautiful bright poppy... like he was “Poppy” to his grandchildren.
While Biagio is now our angel, who will watch over us always, his presence among us has changed. In a way though, he is still here. He is here in comforting someone who truly needs it. He is here in everything he taught his children, grandchildren, students, family, and friends. He is here in the love that he has become. He is here in the light that surrounds us.
In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by sisters, Antoinette Deeb and Louise Francioso; brother, Raphael J. Musto; Gerard Musto; and James Musto; brother-in-law Paul Deeb and sister-in-law Philomae Musto.
Surviving are his wife of 52 years, Carol Ann Hee Musto; children, Anya Carolyn Musto, Arizona; Antonia Rose Musto, Pittston Township; Sophia Louise Musto, Maryland; Atty. Biagio Vincent Musto, II and his wife Stevie Rose, Pittston; Leonard James Musto and his wife Michele, Pittston Township; and Miriam Musto Price and her husband Jonathan, Duryea; grandchildren, Cherokee, Brianna, Adam Biagio, Alexander Vincent, Amara Rose, Joshua Leonard, Alessandra Rose and Abigail Anna; great-granddaughter Ayla Georgeann; brothers Joseph Musto and his wife Fortunata, Duryea; and John Musto, Pittston; brother-in-law James Francioso, Pittston Township; sisters-in-law, Domenica Musto, Jenkins Township and Frances Musto, Pittston Township; numerous nieces and nephews.
A private Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated in St. Joseph Marello Parish with interment in St. Rocco’s Cemetery.Arrangements are entrusted to Adonizio Funeral Home, LLC, 251 William Street, Pittston.