Former Providence Councilman Sharkey Almagno has died

Photo credit: Ron Cece

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Philip “Sharkey” Almagno, who represented Providence’s Silver Lake neighborhood for two terms on the City Council and remained a powerbroker in city politics for much of his life, died on Jan. 12. He was 90.

His death was announced in an online obituary.

“Phil represented the very best attributes of an elected official,” Ward 7 City Councilman John Igliozzi told Eyewitness News. “He loved his family, he loved his community, he loved the city and he represented all three honorably and with respect. He will be missed.”

Almagno was elected to the Ward 7 City Council seat as a Democrat in 1974, the same year voters first elected Republican Vincent A. “Buddy” Cianci Jr. as mayor. In his memoir, Cianci credited Almagno with setting up a secret Columbus Day meeting that led several Democrats to endorse him over the incumbent mayor, Democrat Joe Doorley.

Almagno remained loyal to Cianci for his eight years on the council, but when the City Council contracted from 26 members to 15 before the 1982 election, he decided to not challenge Councilman Louis Stravato for the new Ward 7 seat. Cianci then made Almagno chief of the city’s weights and measures division, a position he held until 2003, according to his obituary.

A veteran of the U.S. Navy, Almagno also ran Sharkey’s Wholesale Fruit and Produce for many years. He stayed active in city politics long after leaving the council, serving on the 7th Ward Democratic Committee.

Almagno is survived by his wife, Lucy, and four children.

Joanne Giannini, a former Democratic state representative who grew up in Silver Lake, said she first met Almagno as a little girl.

“I always admired his honesty, leadership and love of his neighborhood,” she said. “He will be missed.”

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Dan McGowan (dmcgowan@wpri.com) covers politics and the city of Providence for WPRI.com. Follow him on Twitter: @danmcgowan