Edward R. Piana, 90, passed away February 13 at Cornerstone at Canton. A lifelong resident of Canton, Ed attended the Revere and Eliot schools, Boston College High School, and Northeastern University. After graduation he then served honorably with the U.S. Army 7th Infantry Division in the Korean War from 1953-54. In 1955 he married Ann P. Collins, also of Canton, and they raised three sons in the Collins family homestead on Independence Street.
Ed’s banking career began at Norfolk County Trust Company in Stoughton, later becoming president of BayBank Credit Corporation. During his tenure he also completed the Advanced Management Program at Harvard Business School. After 37 years in banking, Ed founded Credit Corporation of New England, which he then operated until his retirement.
Ed was the son of James and Joanne (Caron) Piana, who both emigrated from Gattinara, Italy. He had a tremendous love of the Italian language, history and culture. He read voraciously on Napoleon Bonaparte, who hailed from Corsica not far from a quaint town named Piana. Ed found that potential genealogical connection intriguing. His historic research included an in-depth analysis of the emigration of the “Gattinarese” from Italy to the United States in response to decimation of their farmlands by the “Tempest of 1905.” He published a study of this migration and organized a reunion of the descendants of those immigrants in Massachusetts in 1995. In 2005 he engineered a trip to Gattinara for the 100th anniversary of the Tempest with 50 other descendants. There he became an honorary citizen of Gattinara.
Ed was also deeply committed to veterans’ causes. He chaired the Massachusetts Korean War Veterans 50th Anniversary Committee and delivered the welcoming address at the dedication of the Korean War Memorial at the Charlestown Navy Yard on July 27, 2003, commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Korean Armistice. He also became the editor of the Morning Calm, the publication of the Korean War Veterans, working to increase recognition of the “forgotten war.” In Canton, Ed spearheaded an effort to memorialize fallen soldiers from the town from the Civil War to Vietnam. He profiled each of the fallen soldiers in articles for the Canton Citizen, secured honorary high school degrees for those who had not been able to complete their education, and worked with town leaders to commemorate these heroes with plaques on their home street signs.
Most of all, Ed was the consummate gentleman, dedicated unwaveringly to his family and friends.
Ed was the beloved husband of the late Ann P. (Collins) and the revered father of James E. and his wife, Diane, of Raynham, Dr. Robert N. and his wife, Cynthia, of Nashville, TN, and Stephen A. and his wife, Lynn, of Canton. “Nonno” was adored by his seven grandchildren: Danielle, Christine, Matthew, Michael, and Kevin Piana, Mark Piana and his wife, Arch Vamanrao, and Dr. Lauren Piana and her husband, Dr. Adam Wray. Ed is also survived by his beloved niece, Margaret Rubenacker, her husband, Larry, and their two children, Anna and Joey, of Canton, and many nieces and nephews.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Ed’s memory to St. John the Evangelist Church, 700 Washington St., Canton, MA 02021.