Don King remembers his friend Paul Sciria

 

 

 

 

“Friendship is the only cement that will ever hold the world together.”

President Woodrow T. Wilson

 

Paul Sciria, the first publicist of legendary, iconic boxing promoter Don King has died.   Sciria, who passed away on June 23, was 88 and a resident of Mayfield Heights.

 

More than 40 years ago Sciria served as King’s first publicist and subsequently worked with the world’s greatest promoter on the ’Show for People Care’,  Forrest City Hospital boxing benefit that raised in excess of $89,000  to save  Cleveland’s local hospital.

 

“Loyalty and friendship is more than just a word. It’s a way of life Paul Angelo Sciria exemplified that loyalty and friendship by never forgetting the words fair, objective and impartial, and do so in a journalistic approach as well as in his daily life living with family ad friends,” said King. “It was indeed a pleasure to call Paul Angelo Sciria a friend.”

 

According to his family, he succumbed as a result of an apparent heart attack.

 

Among his many clients was King, publisher of the Call & Post.

 

Sciria was at King’s side when the late Muhammad Ali fought Trevor Berbick in the Bahamas in 1981 and last when King hosted his annual Turkey Tour in Cleveland two years ago.

 

“I am saddened by the death of my longtime friend Paul Sciria. We were both from Cleveland and he was by side during some of the most historic boxing events in the world. My heart pours out to his wonderful children, grandchildren and great grand children. I will miss him dearly,” said King.

 

King joined family and friends as they celebrated Sciria’s life and legacy on Tuesday  June 27 at St. Francis of Assisi Church in Gates Mills. A Mass of Christian Burial was also held, followed by a private Interment.

 

Sciria was a journalism legend known for his heavy-rimmed glasses and an unmistakable voice, and he became as prominent as most anchors after becoming the first full-time street reporter in Cleveland television in 1957. He said it was "a job I never applied for," for which he "just happened to be in the right place at the right time."

 

A former student at Cleveland-Marshall School of Law he  worked part-time in Cleveland's Recreation Department, but when his boss got a call from WTAM sportscaster Tom Manning saying his writer had quit without notice Sciria took the part-time gig, picked up more sports writing work and then was offered the full-time news reporting job by Channel 3, which was KYW then and later WKYC.

 

His interviews included the Beatles when they arrived in Cleveland in 1964, Richard Nixon, Robert Kennedy, Jimmy Hoffa and a who's who of Cleveland athletes -- not to mention underworld figures and his deep sources with the police.

 

When his contract went unrenewed one Friday in 1975, "I didn't skip a beat," he said. On Monday, he opened the public relations business whose clients included Don King, the boxing promoter and onetime rackets figure, and the Fraternal Order of Police.

 

In 1992, he founded La Gazetta Italiana, a monthly newspaper serving the Italian-American community in Northeast Ohio that continues publication. He wrote a column as managing editor and earlier was publisher.

 

The son of Sicilian immigrants, he was born Nov. 3, 1928 in Cleveland. He graduated from John Adams High School and Ohio State University, with a degree in political science, before law school. He served four years on Mayfield Heights City Council starting in 2011.

 

A member of the Cleveland Journalism Hall of Fame, he belonged to a more exclusive but shrinking fraternity as a pioneer of TV journalism. 

 

His interviews included the Beatles when they arrived in Cleveland in 1964, Richard Nixon, Robert Kennedy, Jimmy Hoffa and a who's who of Cleveland athletes -- not to mention underworld figures and his deep sources with the police.

 

 

Sciria was preceded in death by his wife Franca who died in 2005 after 38 years of marriage. He is survived by five children, nine grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

 

 

 

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