WPIAL board member, retired school administrator Enrico Antonini dies

Thursday, May 7, 2020 | 2:17 PM

Enrico “Rego” Antonini, a member of the WPIAL board of directors and a retired Beaver County school administrator, died Tuesday. He was 81.

A former principal at New Brighton and superintendent at Western Beaver, Antonini served on the WPIAL board for nearly two decades. He joined the board from 1990-2004 as an elected member and then returned four years ago as the school boards representative, a position appointed by the Pennsylvania School Boards Association, WPIAL executive director Tim O’Malley said.

“I don’t know how many other people served the board that long,” O’Malley said. “Obviously, he was a very valuable member. He was extremely dedicated and valued his relationship with the WPIAL. He worked on a continuous basis for fairness and consistency. His death leaves a hole.”

Antonini was a member of the New Brighton school board.

Born Nov. 5, 1938, in Ambridge, Antonini played football for the Bridgers and Geneva College before later coaching the sport as an assistant to Joe Hamilton at New Brighton. He also worked as a guidance counselor at New Brighton.

The WPIAL mourned his death on Twitter: “It is with heavy heart that we say goodbye to a WPIAL Board of Directors member with the passing of Enrico Antonini. Rego served the league as the School Board Rep & always had the student-athlete’s best interest at heart. He was loved & will be missed!”

Sports and family were always important to Antonini, said nephew Mike Bariski, the athletic director at Lincoln Park. Antonini and younger brother Frank, who later played football at Kentucky, were both talented running backs at Ambridge. A 1950s black-and-white photo of Enrico stayed for years in the entrance to the Maple Restaurant in Ambridge, Bariski said.

“There were two pictures and articles,” Bariski said, “the 1955 Ambridge football team and the ‘67 undefeated Ambridge basketball team. Those are the only two things on the wall.”

O’Malley said Antonini will be remembered for his ability to share lighthearted moments.

“He was a jokester,” O’Malley said. “He always had a smile on his face and he did what he could every day to make sure he brought a smile and a little bit of a happiness to everybody’s life.”

Antonini is survived by his wife Sally, children Michael Antonini of Colorado Springs, Colo., Denise Reinoso of Colorado Springs, Colo., Ric Antonini of Edwardsville, Ill., and Ted Antonini of Syracuse, N.Y.; along with eight grandchildren, four great-grandchildren, a sister, Anna Muny, and brother Frank.

He was preceded in death by a sister, Assuta Antonini, and brothers Louis “Gigi” Antonini and August “Augie” Antonini.

There will be no public visitation because of the covid-19 pandemic. The family will hold a private visitation and mass with plans for a celebration of life at a later date.

Chris Harlan is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Chris by email at charlan@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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