SAN FRANCISCO — Edward T. Mancuso, San Francisco's public defender for two decades, died Friday at the age of 84, apparently of a heart attack.
Mancuso was stricken while he was waiting to testify in a case in Superior Court. He was pronounced dead at San Francisco General Hospital.
Mancuso was appointed as the city's public defender by Mayor Elmer Robinson in 1954. He had spent the previous decade as a San Francisco supervisor. Mancuso retired in 1974, having made the job of public defender a full-time one for the first time in the city's history.
Mancuso was the 10th of 12 children. His father died when he was 9, and he quickly started helping support the family by selling newspapers and gum in the Mission District.
He later worked in a shoe store, finishing high school and studying law at night.
He is survived by his wife and one brother.