Marge Tartaglione dies; longtime former city commissioner from Oxford Circle was 86

Marge Tartaglione, a former longtime city election commissioner from Oxford Circle, died on Tuesday morning. She was 86 and had been battling a myriad of health issues.

Marge Tartaglione hugs her daughter, state Sen. Tina Tartaglione, on Jan. 1, 2019, as the younger Tartaglione was sworn in to a seventh term. James Robinson | Pennsylvania Senate Democratic Caucus

Tartaglione, a longtime resident of the 1400 block of Van Kirk St., was elected in 1975 as an ally of Mayor Frank L. Rizzo.

A Democrat, she served nine four-year terms, losing in the 2011 primary. She was also the longtime Democratic leader of the 62nd Ward.

A daughter, Tina, was elected to the state Senate in 1994 and is in her seventh term.

Tina Tartaglione released the following statement:

“It is with immeasurable sadness and despair that I announce the passing of my beloved mother, Margaret Tartaglione. Throughout her recent illness, she was surrounded by family and friends, and was provided with the very best medical care. Thank you all for bringing her joy and comfort. My mother was a very strong yet compassionate woman. She cared deeply about her family, her community, and her city. She was a pioneer in the political realm – the first woman elected to a citywide office in Philadelphia’s history. At a time when women were rarely afforded a seat at the table, she not only earned a seat, she became an enduring leader and icon who will always be revered and remembered fondly.”

Margaret Tartaglione and her husband, Eugene, received an audience with Pope John Paul II during the couple’s 50th wedding anniversary celebration in Italy.

Lisa Deeley, chairwoman of the city commissioners, issued the following statement: “Our entire department is saddened by news that Chairwoman Marge Tartaglione has passed away. The Chairwoman was a larger than life individual who left her mark on the Commissioners’ Office and the City in her over 4 decades of service. Today, we talk about women in politics and strong female leaders as if it were a novelty – she embodied that. The Chairwoman made members of the Old Boys Club stand up and take notice, and if they crossed her, she would let them know, persistently.

“In my career, we have been on the same team and opposing sides and I can tell you the latter was no fun. Regardless of the politics, her love for the Commissioners’ Office and her longtime staff was undeniable, as well as their love for her. I am fortunate that she made time to pass on some of her years of wisdom of the office to me, advice that I will treasure forever. I would like to extend my condolences and the condolences of our entire department to Senator Tartaglione and the entire Tartaglione family. Rest in peace Chairwoman, we will carry on your work.”

More details will follow, including funeral arrangements. ••