A final goodbye to Tom Cardella

Photo courtesy Monti-Rago Funeral Home
Photo courtesy Monti-Rago Funeral Home

A funeral service was held last week for Tom Cardella, South Philly Review columnist for the last 58 years.

A large crowd gathered at Monti-Rago Funeral Home, 2533 S. Broad St., for a viewing and to hear remarks from Cardella’s daughter, Lauren, and Eagles radio announcer Merrill Reese. Internment was at Laurel Hill Cemetery.

Cardella, a graduate of South Philadelphia High School and Temple, began writing for the Review in 1964 and became a columnist the following year. He was also a broadcaster for more than 35 years, hosting Eagles pre- and post-game shows on WIP, WYSP and WBCB. He lived in South Philadelphia most of his life before moving to Center City in 2019.

Lauren described herself as her dad’s “mini-me.” She recalls, while younger, walking the streets of South Philly with her dad, spending time with him on the boardwalk, “broadcasting” Big 5 games with him at home, attending college basketball games with him at the Palestra, hearing him cheer for her during high school softball games and being with him at Veterans Stadium when the Phillies won the World Series in 1980. She likes the same food and music as her dad, who walked her down the aisle on her wedding day.

Reese knew Cardella from their college days at the Temple radio station, and they remained friends. In fact, Reese was in the bridal party when Tom married his wife Fran. Reese credited Cardella with writing columns that could make people laugh and cry. He told the crowd that the first person he called after each Eagles game was Cardella.

“I will feel very, very empty this year without Tom’s instant feedback,” he said.

Cardella, who was 84, is survived by his devoted wife of 59 years, Frances (Scroccarelli); son, Craig; daughter, Lauren; son-in-law, Keith; and grandchildren Eliza and Grayson (Samantha). He was the uncle of Susan (Frank), Sharon (Matthew), Kevin, Christopher, Eric, MJ and Charlie.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to the Friends of the Free Library of Philadelphia, 1901 Vine St., Philadelphia, PA 19103. ••