Former Rep. Joseph Vigorito Dies at 84

Posted February 7, 2003 at 3:36pm

Former Rep. Joseph Vigorito, 84, a Democratic Congressman from Pennsylvania, died Wednesday at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. He had lymphoma.

Vigorito was born Nov. 10, 1918, in Niles, Ohio, and moved to Pennsylvania in 1931. After graduating from Strong Vincent High School in Erie, Pa., he served in the Army during World War II as a first lieutenant. Vigorito was awarded the Purple Heart upon completion of his duty in 1945.

He earned his bachelor’s in 1947 from the Wharton School of Finance at the University of Pennsylvania. In 1949 he earned his master’s degree in business administration from the University of Denver, after which he returned to Pennsylvania to serve as an assistant professor of economics at the University of Pennsylvania from 1949 to 1964.

In 1964 Vigorito defeated the Republican incumbent, Rep. James Weaver. Vigorito held the seat for five more terms, 1965-1977, losing his final bid for re-election. During his six terms in Congress representing Erie, Crawford and Mercer counties, Vigorito served on the Agriculture and Interior committees.

Following his service in Congress, Vigorito spent a year teaching economics at Georgetown University.

He was a resident of McLean, Va., until his death.

Vigorito is survived by his wife, Florence Hope Vigorito, of McLean; three daughters, Tina Griggs of Fairfax, Va., Barbara Cook of Columbus, Ohio, and Linda Jordan of Grapevine, Texas; a brother; and three grandchildren.

— Katie Kennon