At the early age of 71, Mario Donnangelo passed away in his sleep on Monday morning, April 12, 2010. Mario was an icon of NISOA. In addition to being a long time referee for NISOA, including a national championship game, Mario worked diligently for the organization in many capacities. Since 1991, Mario served as Associate Director and had a variety of responsibilities including: membership, insurance liaison, sales, awards programs, editor of the NISOA and Interscholastic Newsletters, printing and publications, and the interscholastic liaison. Countless hours were spent daily by Mario ensuring every detail was satisfied with membership registrations and more. He was the ultimate professional in every aspect of his endeavors. Calling himself a “Renaissance Man,” Mario continued to work on process improvement and making the organization more efficient. He took several manuals and placed them on cd’s so that they could be mailed to members easier and less costly. He developed a data base for membership and most recently automated the voting process for awards and general elections. He was always willing to try something new and master it.
From 1983 -1984, Mario served as president of NISOA. He received almost every award NISOA presents including: 1985 Life Membership, 1985 Hall of Fame, 1986 Honor Award, and 1997 Robert Sumpter Excellence in Teaching Award. In 2002, the NISOA Interscholastic Award was renamed the Mario Donnangelo Interscholastic Award in recognition of his efforts with the National Federation of High Schools (NFHS). In addition, he was also inducted into the Lehigh Valley Soccer Hall of Fame.
When NISOA decided to develop a residential training camp in 1977 for referees, Mario worked with others to establish the Elizabethtown Training Academy. He attended every camp since its inception and helped many young officials develop to their fullest potential. Mario always enjoyed his time at camp and helping the campers.
At the high school level Mario held many positions at both the National and state levels. He was on the National Rules Committee, rules interpreter for the Pennsylvania State Interscholastic Athletic Association. He worked closely with the NFHS on several projects and was instrumental in developing the relationship that NISOA now shares with the NFHS.
In addition to soccer, Mario was also an active basketball official at the high school level. He belonged to the Bethlehem Association of Approved Basketball Officials and the Colonial Interscholastic Athletic League. He officiated high school varsity for many years.
After graduating East Stroudsburg University, Mario began his teaching career in his home town of Bethlehem, PA. He earned a master of education degree and went on to be a principal in the Salisbury School District. After retiring in 1993, Mario began another career when he accepted a position with the Boy Scouts of America where he worked until 2008 as the Learning for Life Director.
Truly sports and officiating was a passion with Mario. However, more importantly was his family. He was married for 48 years to his wife Barbara and loved his two children Susan and Deborah. He took every opportunity to spend time with his grandchildren Alana, Vincent, Ariana and Lizzy. He enjoyed taking them to dinner, helping with homework, and going to minor league baseball games. He took every opportunity to talk about how each grandchild was progressing and how well they were doing with their education. He was a proud “pop-pop” in every sense.
Mario will be missed but his accomplishments and ideals will never be forgotten. Rest in peace our dear friend and collegue.