Gaytana M. Pino, 72, of Cherry Hill, an entrepreneur, social worker, award-winning South Jersey community leader, volunteer and senior advocate, died Thursday, December 1 of septic shock at Virtua Voorhees Hospital.
Known for her energy, empathy, and strong commitment to community service, Ms. Pino was the owner, president, and COO of Paper & Ribbon Supply Co. in Cherry Hill for more than three decades. Previously, she worked in Philadelphia as an investigator for the Pennsylvania Department of Fraud and Abuse Investigation and Recovery, now known as the Office of Fraud Prevention and Prosecution, and as a social worker for the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare, now the Department of Human Services.
But Ms. Pino was best known for her countless actions as a volunteer business and community leader and advocate for seniors in South Jersey. “She was happiest when she helped people,” said her niece Jennifer Cotellese. “That was the skill set she had to offer.”
For nearly 30 years, Ms. Pino was the President, President, and Past President of a dozen civic, community, business, and educational groups, and an active member of many more. She was a founder of the Cherry Hill Business Council, coordinator of the senior services program in Cherry Hill Township, and chair of the Cherry Hill Arts Advisory Board and Wexford Leas Community Group.
In 2011, the Camden County Board of Homeowners, now the Camden County Board of Commissioners, declared February 17 Gaye Pino Day in Camden County. “His compassion for her extended to the community at large, as she spent so much of her life giving back to others,” US Representative Donald Norcross said in a tribute. “Gaye’s absence leaves a void in our community that is impossible to fill.”
Ms. Pino is a past chair of the Cherry Hill Zoning Adjustment Board, the University of Philadelphia School of Business Administration Advisory Board, the Cherry Hill Business Association, and the Pennsylvania Union of Social Service Workers. She has also served as a committee member of the Democratic Party and on the Camden County Human Relations Committee, the Camden County Open Space Advisory Board, the Philadelphia Executive Women’s Forum, and the Cherry Mayor’s Citizens Advisory Board. Hill.
As chair of the Cherry Hill Arts Advisory Board, she told The Inquirer in 2008 how she got things done. “Our volunteer board members are the key to our success,” she said, referring to that year’s week-long Art Blooms Festival. “Everyone has an affinity for a particular art form, but all of us are dedicated to bringing top-tier talent to the community to enjoy in our own backyard without the high costs of [Philadelphia.]”
Ms. Pino has won many awards and accolades, including Cherry Hill’s Joyce Alexander Walker Community Service Award and the Camden County Martin Luther King Jr. Medal of Freedom for volunteers. She has written grants, recruited volunteers, fundraised, and lectured at the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce, Philadelphia University School of Business, and the eMujeres Network.
On December 12, Cherry Hill officials celebrated her career at the city council meeting, calling her a “pillar in our community” and a “giant in our city.” In a tribute, a friend said, “I will always remember Gaye’s deep devotion to the arts, Cherry Hill, senior services and the Cherry Hill Democratic Party.”
Ms. Pino started at Paper & Ribbon Supply, a national office supply distributor, in 1989 and helped grow sales so much over the next decade that she rose to president, CEO and finally owner in 2000. From 1981 to 1989, He directed welfare fraud investigations and other functions for the Pennsylvania Department of Fraud and Abuse Investigation and Recovery.
In 1980, she provided financial and personal advice to more than 100 families as a social worker in Philadelphia. “Knowing that she could be a source of comfort and support to so many brought her immense joy,” said her nephew, Chris Pino.
Born May 16, 1950, in Philadelphia, Gaytana Marie Pino grew up in South Philadelphia graduating from St. Maria Goretti High School, now Ss. Neumann Goretti High School. She earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Temple University and received graduate education in business law, finance, management, and real estate at Temple, and business training from the New Jersey Economic Development Authority.
He liked to travel, cook, read, attend the theater and was an active participant in the Parish Council of the Church of Santo Tomás Moro. “Gaye loved her family, especially her nephew and her nieces,” said her sister-in-law, Andrea Florentino. “She always saw the best in them and she was very proud of her accomplishments in life.”
In addition to her niece, nephew, and sister-in-law, Mrs. Pino is survived by other relatives. A brother died before.
Visitation with his family is scheduled for Monday, January 23, from noon to 1 pm, at St. Thomas More Church, 1439 Springdale Rd., Cherry Hill, NJ 08003. A funeral mass will follow. The burial must be private.
Donations can be made in his name to St. Thomas More Church, 1439 Springdale Rd., Cherry Hill, NJ 08003.