Honoring the legacy of Ron Donatucci

Photo by Roger Barone

The 2300 block of S. 21st Street was renamed to honor Ronald Donatucci Sr. for his service to the city.

The block was ceremoniously renamed “Ronald R. Donatucci Sr. Way” on Saturday as family, friends and elected officials gathered to honor the former South Philly resident who passed away on Election Day last year.

“It is my honor to have sponsored Resolution #210814 naming the 2300 block of S. 21st Street ‘Ronald R. Donatucci Sr. Way’ to honor a man who loved his native South Philadelphia and the entire city so much.” Councilmember Kenyatta Johnson said. “He was always looking to help all Philadelphians improve their lives for the better. Whether it was serving South Philadelphia in the Pennsylvania state House, a Democratic ward leader, or serving the citizens of Philadelphia’s Register of Wills for over 40 years, he was legendary in helping people who could not help themselves or didn’t know where to turn to for help. I am honored to have had him as a friend.  This ceremonial street renaming is well deserved for a person who loved Philadelphia.”

The resolution was approved by City Council on Oct. 14. Family members who spoke at the ceremony included Donatucci’s wife Stephanie, his son Ron Donatucci Jr. and daughter Ava Marie Donatucci.

Along with Johnson, elected officials who gave remarks included former U.S. Rep. Bob Brady, chairman, Philadelphia Democratic City Committee; Bernard W. Smalley Sr., president,  Board of Directors of City Trusts; Louis DiRenzo, 26th Democratic ward leader; Obra S. Kernodle IV, deputy CEO, Delaware River Port Authority; and Jody Della Barba, South Philadelphia community activist.

Photo by Roger Barone

Donatucci grew up in South Philly and began his law career as a law clerk in the City of Philadelphia Law Department and went on to serve as chief of enforcement for the City’s Department of Licenses and Inspections, and later legal counsel to the Philadelphia Parking Authority.

He served as a member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives for the 185th District, which covers parts of Philadelphia and Delaware counties, from 1977-80. He remained a strong political figure in South Philadelphia, serving as the leader of the 26th Democratic Ward, which includes a stretch of Philadelphia south of Passyunk Avenue and west of Broad Street, until his death at the age of 72.

Donatucci was also known for serving an elected position as Philadelphia’s Register of Wills for more than 40 years. He served as a trustee for Temple University and as president of the board of directors of City Trusts.