Steven J. Aquilina

Steven J. Aquilina died September 20, 2013 at his Scranton home surrounded by his family.

Born in Scranton on December 30, 1951, Steve graduated from Scranton Technical High School in 1969.  He furthered his education with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Health and Physical Education, attained a Level II certification as an elementary and secondary school principal, a certification in health and physical education by the state of Pennsylvania, a Master’s Degree in School Administration and a Superintendent’s Letter.

A talented man who could accomplish anything he set his mind to, he always made time for his family.  Steve instilled a love of knowledge and music with his pride in hard work that inspired family, friends, coworkers and students by his example.  At the time of his death, he was employed by the Abington School District where he was a respected and admired principal at both the Clarks Summit and Waverly elementary schools.   Steve was also a legendary keyboardist and vocalist in the NEPA music circuit.

Surviving is his loving wife of 38 years, the former M’Lissa A. Bertocki.  Also surviving are a son Damian and his wife Beth and step-daughters; a daughter Kimberly; his mother Grace Aquilina; siblings Mary Ann DeFazio, Elaine Mueller and Salvatore Aquilina their spouses and children.

He was preceded in death by his father, Stephen.

Steve’s family would like to thank their family, friends and coworkers for their outpouring of prayers, love and support during his courageous battle with cancer.

The family invites anyone attending the funeral to go directly to the church.

A Memorial Mass will be celebrated Wednesday at 10am in the Immaculate Conception Church 801 Taylor Ave. Scranton.

Friends may call Tuesday from 4-7pm in the Vanston and James Funeral Home 1401 Ash St. Scranton.

Those attending are reminded of the funeral home’s parking lot located at 1405 Ash St.

Interment, Cathedral Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers the family strongly encourages memorial contributions be made to the Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center by visiting to help fund cancer research in hope of one day finding a cure.

For directions or to send the family an online condolence please visit


  1. kathy luongo

    m`lissa, my heart is broke…I am so happy I got to see steve preform one last time with the poets…I`ve always loved steve he was a great guy.he will be missed by all who knew him…you were a wonderful and caring wife to him ,my thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

  2. David Wolfe

    Missy and family, My Deepest sympathy for your loss. Although I never met Steve he must have been a wonderful man. We will be praying for all of you in this time of loss. Dave Wolfe and Family

  3. Arnine and Jeff Weiss

    Our thoughts are with you at this very sad time. May the love and support of family and friends bring you comfort. We’re so sorry for your loss. Warm regards.

  4. mr and mrs joseph mercado

    Rip steve you were a good man to my family great guy sorry for your loss to the family he will be missed

  5. Lawrence N Sykes

    The world has lost one of the great ones.
    Just like the music, Steve will live on in our hearts.
    RIP Steve

  6. Al and Colleen Caponigro

    Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. May your memories bring you comfort and peace.

  7. Bill Hessmiller

    M’lissa, Mary Ann and family, I am so sad to learn of Steve’s passing. Steve was always a gentleman and ALWAYS a “nice” guy. I am proud to say he was my friend. Hang on to your precious memories and please know that you will be in my thoughts and prayers.

  8. Mary Rezzino Melisky

    I was heartbroken to hear about Steve. Besides being a talented man, I mostly remember his sense of humor and big smile. Praying for your family, may they find comfort and peace in their memories.

  9. Rick and Lisa McGee

    May God Bless Steve his family. A kind soul who I am sure touched everyone with his peaceful loving nature. A gentleman takin to soon RIp Steve you will be missed.

  10. Andrea Luongo

    May all your beautiful memories and happy times guide you through this difficult time. When you close your eyes, I hope you always hear him singing.

  11. Mary Ann Sirianni-Siconolfi

    M’lissa, Kim & Damian, I did not want this day to come and yet, I knew it was going to happen. I will remember cousin Steve as I always knew him, with that smile on his face and a gentle voice. We loved him in life and we will love him now as he sleeps with the angels. May you have peace in knowing that he is no longer suffering. Mary Ann & family.

  12. Joyce

    So sad. He was a great principle ad will be truly missed!

  13. Linda Tucker

    My thoughts and prayers go out to Mr. Aquilina’s family. Though I didn’t know him well, I saw him almost every morning while in high school and he always cheerfully bade me good morning. He will be definitely be missed by the class of 2003.

  14. Mar and Joe

    We will miss Steve forever. Remembering all the good times. It is a privilege to call him a friend.

  15. Jacklyn Bailey

    My thoughts and Prayers go out to Melissa and all of Steve’s family. My heart is broken and so sad. He was my Principal at Clarks Summit Elementary. He was a wonderful, kind hearted Man. He cared so much about his staff, it was so contagious. His OFFICE DOOR was always open just to sit and make the day better. My life became better when I met Steve. it is a privilege to call him family.FAITH, HOPE, AND LOVE.

  16. Diane Gaughan Nigro

    Mary Ann &family,
    Very sorry to hear about Steve’s passing. He was a wonderful man and will be missed greatly. Keep all the great & happy times close to your heart.

  17. Steven Chimel

    I was shocked to hear of Mr. Aquilina’s passing. I know for me, and many other students, he will be remembered as a strong, fair principal that would work towards the best interest of everyone.
    On a personal note, I feel like it was only last year that I was a roadie helping him, and his band, during their many musical gigs. He was a great guy to work for, a great entertainer, and always made sure to put on a great show.
    He will be missed.

  18. Sandy Mulone

    I am so sorry for your loss. I remember meeting him in Florida with your Mom & Dad. I hope your faith will keep you strong and you will cherish all of your memories. My sympathy goes out to you and all the family. Peace and Love be with you. Cousin Sandy and family

  19. Anne

    Prayers to all family. He will surely be missed. We are sorry for your loss. The memories are now treasures to cherish. God Bless. Anne and Tom Berardelli

  20. M Krayer

    Truly sorry to hear of Steve’s passing. Steve was an amazing entertainer and gentleman through and through. In high school my friends and I frequented many dances. At one event, Steve was kind enough to come to the rescue of some silly high school girls that ran out of gas. He took us to the gas station, purchased gas out of his own pocket, and the drove us back to our car and waited till we were safely on our way home. I will never forget that simple act of kindness! May he rest in peace.

  21. Maryjane

    So sad this happend. I truly miss him. He was the best principle

  22. Jane Morris

    Melissa and family,
    My heart has been very sad all weekend since I learned of Steve’s passing. He was a wonderful boss and principal. I always marveled at all the things he did in addition to Abington Heights. I have a great picture of the two of us dancing at my George’s 80th birthday party.
    You are all in my prayers and I will be thinking of you this week from Florida. God Bless you All!!!!!

  23. Ted Michaliga

    Hes a great man and will always remember him… hes been there for me when I was in high school.. May he resyIin peace and prayers to the rest of the family.. Sorry for the loss

  24. The Rohs Family

    I just want to say how sorry to hear of your loss. My daughter, Jessica Rohs, was a student at St. Ann’s School while Steve was principal and good friends with your son Damien. Steve was a very caring person and took care of his students. Prayers go up …. blessings come down! Linda, Nick, Nicholas. Jessica and Joe Sinagra and family

  25. Chris and Carla McCue

    Although I knew Steve only from our few interations at Waverly I would like his family to know how welcome he made our little girl Mariella feel when she started at the “BIG” school at Waverly Elementary. Mariella had an excitment about starting her education, and Steve along with her teachers there made that possible. She felt welcome from day one.
    May you rest in peace Steve, and may his family have peace knowing that he is in a better place where there is no more suffering.
    May peace be with you.

  26. Constantino Michael Siconolfi

    To my cousin Steve Aquilina,

    A light from our family is gone
    A voice we loved is stilled
    A place is vacant in the home
    Which never can be filled

    We have to mourn the loss of one
    We would’ve loved to keep
    But God who surely loved him best
    Has finally made him sleep
    After a lifetime of his love and joy
    And music to fill our ears
    God leaves us with these wondrous memories.

    ** Steve,
    You were a musical inspiration to me since I was a kid. Just when I was about to give up the endless hours of drum practice…I would listen to that old “Frankie & the Corvettes” / Poets Album,
    only to see you on the cover.
    You’ve given me the drive and never gave up. You will be missed by many but your memories music and inspirations will live on within each of us. Until we meet again, rest in peace cuz.

    #ThePoets, #SweetPepperandtheLongHots, #ThemAgain, #Aquilina, #NEPA, #NEPAMusicians

  27. Louise & Andy Kurechka

    M’Lissa and Family, we were so sorry to hear of Steve’s passing. Steve was a refined and honorable man. The world was a better place because of him. He will now be playing his music in Heaven.

  28. Pat Schlosser

    M’Lissa, Kim, and Damian. My thoughts and prayers are with you at this most difficult time. Steve was a kind, comforting and compassionate person to me when I dealt with cancer in 2000. I worked with him at Abington Heights high school. May he rest in peace.

  29. The Phillips Family

    Our family was very sad to hear of the passing of such a wonderful man. It was truly a pleasure to watch him interact with the students at Waverly Elementary. My three children really enjoyed him most at Halloween time, when he would dress up and enjoy the festivities along with the students. It was obvious that he was an extremely caring person. We are so sorry for your loss!!

  30. Kathy Geary Wilson

    M’Lissa, my thoughts and prayer are with you and your family at this sad time. Steve was a true gentleman, as well as talented in so many ways. His legacy lives on in the love he left behind – I know he’s already making music in Heaven! Sincerely, Kathy Geary Wilson

  31. The Archangeli's

    We are so sorry to hear of the passing of your dad. Please accept our sincerest condolences . May God Bless you an your family in this time of need

  32. Kerry Bentler

    Our sincerest condolences to you, M’lissa, and your entire family. May Steve rest easy and God bless you all

  33. Dennis M. Fanucci

    Just a line to express my most heartfelt condolences on learning of Steve’s passing. I worked as a foreign language teacher at Abington Heights High School during his term there as Assistant Principal. He was a real gentleman. I am going to make a memorial contribution in his name to the Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. I will keep Steve in my prayers. May God console you all in your loss.

  34. Ruth McCusk

    Wonderful man, good life, even better afterlife ahead.

  35. Marie Manning

    M’Lissa, I just heard of Steve’s passing..I am so sorry for your loss. Please know you are in my prayers at this most difficult and sad time of your life…my condolences to you and your family.

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