Pa. state representative Cianciulli dies

November 20, 2008 9:44:15 AM PST
Matthew J. Cianciulli, a retired grocer and former state representative convicted of voter fraud, died of heart failure. He was 66. Cianciulli, a Democrat, represented South Philadelphia in the Legislature after winning elections in 1976 and 1978.

He was sentenced to three years in federal prison in October 1979 for conspiring to encourage people to give false addresses on voter-registration forms so they could vote in his district. Cianciulli resigned from office and, after losing appeals, served 11 months.

"Matt was the personification of the grass roots Italian politician. He was always doing favors for people," said James J. Tayoun, a former state representative and City Council member before his own imprisonment on corruption charges.

Cianciulli attended one year of college before joining his father at the family's grocery, Matt's Market, in South Philadelphia. He eventually inherited the business, retiring in 2000.

His wife of 46 years, Lorraine, said they enjoyed spending time at their summer home in Collings Lakes, N.J.

Cianciulli died of heart failure Saturday at Kessler Memorial Hospital in Hammonton, N.J. Services were held Thursday in Philadelphia, followed by interment at Fernwood Mausoleum in Lansdowne.

Besides his wife, Cianciulli is survived by two grandchildren. His son Matthew III died in 1981 and his son Christopher died in 2005.

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