Obituary: James Diulus / Tough builder and loyal University of Pittsburgh fan

May 29, 1936 - March 2, 2013

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A tough businessman in the construction industry who loved University of Pittsburgh athletics, James Diulus was defined by his loyalty.

He played golf at the South Hills Country Club for 35 years, had Pitt basketball season tickets for about 40 years, was married to Patricia Diulus for almost 60 years and went to Pitt football games for the last 68 years.

The number of home football games he's missed in that time-frame? Two.

He died Saturday from complications of Parkinson's disease. He was 76.

Mr. Diulus grew up in Panther Hollow before spending the rest of his life in Whitehall, but Pitt always was his backyard. "It was in his blood to be a Pitt fan," said Nanette Stevens, of Peters, one of his five children.

His son, Peter Diulus, said one of his most vivid childhood memories of his father was being awakened by the Pitt fight song.

"When I was growing up, Saturday mornings during football season, he would get ready by playing the Pitt fight song on the record player," Peter Diulus said.

Ms. Stevens chuckled at the memory, "If you ever wanted to sleep then, that wasn't going to happen."

"The whole neighborhood could hear it," said daughter Jennifer Brinker, of South Park.

But his love of Pittsburgh wasn't just for its athletics. He prided himself on managing construction projects that facilitated the city's growth.

Mr. Diulus got his interest in construction from his father, who helped build Pittsburgh's roads. He was always surrounded by contractors and frequently lent a hand, Peter Diulus said.

After graduating from Baldwin High School and earning a degree in civil engineering at Pitt, he married his high school sweetheart and worked in management positions at companies such as Mellon Stuart and Massaro.

"We would drive past a building and he would say 'I built that,' " Peter Diulus said. "He got great satisfaction out of creating a legacy."

Although he had a "tough guy image in the business world" and was known for saying "nothing good comes easy," he was an involved father and grandfather, Peter Diulus said. "He reveled in the accomplishments of his kids and grandkids."

Other survivors include a daughter, Maria Blair of South Park, a son, James P. of Baldwin, a brother, Frank Diulus, and nine grandchildren.

Friends will be received at John F. Slater Funeral Home, 4201 Brownsville Road, today from 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 p.m. There will be a funeral prayer Wednesday at 9:15 a.m. Mass will be celebrated at 10 a.m. in St. Gabriel of the Sorrowful Virgin Church.

The family suggests donations to the St. Gabriel School Fund or the Parkinson Foundation of Western Pa.

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Alex Zimmerman: or 412-263-3909.


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