Editor’s Note: This is the first story in a series of Westmoreland County residents being honored as Hometown Heroes.
Bill Tuscano didn’t expect a wasted moment.
He retired in 1992, leaving the Greensburg insurance company he built to the next generation of his family. But, at the age of 65, he was not ready to retire.
“He needed something to do, so he went into business, and he needed a place to sell his products,” said daughter Jinny Tuscano, now chief operating officer of the WN Tuscano Agency.
After moving from Greensburg to Ligonier, he bought a nearby gas station and bait shop along Route 30 in Longbridge. Known for selling cups of coffee for 5 cents, Tuscano continued to sell the place when the covid-19 pandemic hit.
His death on Aug. 28, 2020, at the age of 93, ended a diverse career characterized by strong work ethic, interest in public service and a unique way of life. That life is honored on Greensburg’s Pennsylvania Avenue, where a photo of Tuscano as a Navy major is displayed on one of the Hometown Hero banners.
Tuscano “seemed to do things a little differently because it would make people remember you,” his daughter said.
After turning 50, he acquired a BMW motorcycle and started riding it for business and pleasure.
“He visits customers on his motorcycle, and he remembers riding it,” Jinny Tuscano said. “He and my youngest brother, Rob, who we do business with, used to go to national insurance meetings on motorcycles.”
Travel was a passion of Bill Tuscano’s life. He was born on his family’s apple orchard near Milford but, when the Great Depression forced them to leave, he moved across the country to Greensburg’s Hilltop.
He graduated from Greensburg High School, joined the Navy in 1945 and went on tour in the Far East, as World War II was winding down.
His daughter said, “He sent for a few months as a soldier, but he contracted rheumatic fever and was discharged.”
Tuscano attended Waynesburg College, through the GI Bill. After getting married in 1948, he started working as a truck driver to support his family of 6 children.
“He used to run from Pittsburgh to New York City to pick up produce,” Jinny Tuscano said. “Then he changed and started sending Sun Oil, so that he could stay at home and be available to his family.
“He was a normal person. Nothing could end a relationship like that.”
Bill Tuscano was also active in the local Republican Party at a time when Democrats dominated politics in Westmoreland County.
He was elected to two years in the State House, in 1967-68. But he lost his election and later ran for Congress to two prominent Democrats – Amos K. Hutchinson and Jack Murtha, respectively.
Tuscano “liked to be a bit smaller,” his daughter said. “He was fine with it. He was very fond of politics and participated in it.”
Although Tuscano’s career in politics was not over, he set out on a journey into insurance. He landed a position at Westmoreland Casualty Insurance Co., which inspired him in 1970 to start his own insurance company.
“He started it from scratch, on our front porch,” Jinny Tuscano said. “He worked hard to build a business. He came to work at 5 in the morning, and he came back after dinner.”
Bill Tuscano still found time to reach out and help others beyond his family. Member of St. Michael’s of the Valley Episcopal Church, participated in mission trips to the Agua Viva Children’s Home in Guatemala. He also volunteered with Meals on Wheels.
“He was always a giving person,” said his daughter.