James M. Desiderio Jr.

About This Inductee

Born in Wilkes-Barre on June 7, 1958, he was the son of Elizabeth (Cecere) and the late James M. Desiderio. He was educated in Wilkes-Barre schools and was a graduate of E.L. Meyers High School, Class of 1977. He attended Luzerne County Community College and was a graduate of Miami Dade College, Miami, Fla., where he received his degree in mortuary science.
Jimmy was a three year varsity starter for the powerful Meyers wrestling program.
Desiderio was a two-time District Two place winner at 112 and 125 pounds respectively. He would eventually be crowned District Champion in 1977 at 132 pounds. That same season, Jim would capture the 1977 Northeast Regional Runner-up title, which would qualify him to wrestle in the PIAA State Tournament in Hershey, Pa.
After his wrestling career was completed, he turned to youth coaching in the Pittston Area School District for two years and then returned to his alma mater of Meyers High School for 5 years. His overall combined record at both schools was a remarkable 89 wins with only 1 loss. Under his guidance, these programs were able to capture five overall Junior High championships. This preparation of his athletes allowed for many successful Senior High programs. Jimmy next turned his sights toward Wrestling Officiating.
As a well-respected athlete, he was able to provide the necessary accountability for guiding and officiating wrestling matches at various levels. He would be a leader and mentor to new officials, and a provide wisdom and expertise to high caliber wrestling events. Jim was a District Two wrestling official for over 26 years. He would take this leadership and knowledge to the next levels, and worked the Regional and PIAA State Tournaments for a combined 10 years. He was truly in his element on the floor at Hershey.
The parallel to his officiating was his professional life. Jimmy was the owner/operator of Piszczek-Desiderio Funeral Home Inc. and health officer of Hanover Township for many years.  He was a Luzerne County deputy coroner for 25 years; a licensed funeral director for 27 years and past president of the Luzerne County Funeral Directors’ Association. He was on the YMCA Board of Directors for more than 10 years; past president of St. Aloysius Holy Name Society and their Ushers’ Club. He was a member of Wyoming Valley Country Club, Plymouth Council 956 Knights of Columbus; the Bishop William J. Hafey Fourth Degree Knight of Columbus, Wilkes-Barre; and the Wyoming Valley Motorcycle Club.
Desi was an avid motorcycle enthusiast, attending countless motorcycle benefits, especially the SPCA Bike Benefit Run, which was closest to his heart. He had a magnetic personality and touched many people in a special way. His soft voice and comforting smile will be forever remembered. He truly made an impression on many.