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John DeFazio

Saturday, January 08, 2000

Thirty-five years before he competed in the political arena, John DeFazio made a name for himself at the Civic Arena.

He was a professional wrestler for most of the 1960s and '70s.

His ring name was Jumpin' Johnny DeFazio, and he always played a baby face -- the wrestling term for a good guy.

DeFazio, now 58, says his in-ring character was no act, even though most of his matches were scripted.

He retired from wrestling in 1977 to become an international representative for the United Steelworkers of America.

He had sandwiched his ring career around labor jobs in steel mills, where he became a union activist.

DeFazio was but 29 when he was elected president of his 3,500-member local union at Jones & Laughlin Steel.

His name identification from wrestling and unionism made him an easy winner last year when he ran as a Democrat for an at-large seat on the new Allegheny County Council.

DeFazio, born and raised on Mount Washington, graduated from South Hills High School.

The brother of Allegheny County Sheriff Pete DeFazio, John DeFazio now lives in Shaler with his wife, Marsha, a clerk in the county's marriage license bureau.

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