Al Vento Dies, Co-founded Franco's Italian Army, Owned Pizza Shop

Jun 29, 2018 278

BY: Eric Heyl

Al Vento, the owner of Vento's Pizza in East Liberty for decades and the 1970s co-founder of Franco's Italian Army, the fan club for Steelers Hall of Fame running back Franco Harris, died Tuesday. Mr. Vento, of Whitehall, was 89. A pillar of the East Liberty business community, Mr. Vento operated his Highland Avenue pizza parlor and was a well-known figure in the Italian American community.

He received many accolades and awards for his public service, including being named Business Professional of the Year by the National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame. But Mr. Vento probably was best-known for creating Franco's Italian Army along with his cousin, Pittsburgh baker Tony Stagno, in 1972 as Harris became a star with the Steelers. All of the proceeds from the organization were donated to Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh.

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