Obituary: Salvatore Marini / Beechview bricklayer was 'last gentleman of his trade'

May 13, 1915 - Feb. 6, 2014

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Salvatore Marini, better known as Sam, left a visible imprint on the Pittsburgh area through the many construction projects he was involved in.

But for those close to him, that legacy runs much deeper. His daughters -- Patricia Smith and Janet Jenkner, both of Beechview -- recall growing up in a home where their parents made everyone feel welcome.

Mr. Marini, a longtime resident of Beechview, died of heart failure Thursday. He was 98.

He was born in the Hill District, and the family moved to Beechview when he was 10. Although he was a lifelong Pittsburgher, Mr. Marini -- the son of Italian immigrants -- was also "100 percent Italian," Ms. Jenkner said.

He studied drafting and earned a bachelor's degree at the former Carnegie Tech, now Carnegie Mellon University. He served in the U.S. Army Military Police during World War II and was stationed in Tennessee, where he guarded prisoners of war.

Mr. Marini was a bricklayer by trade. By the early 1960s, he owned his own business -- Marini Construction Co., which specialized in masonry work for businesses. Clients included Today's Home, Bell Telephone, Baptist Homes in Castle Shannon and Benihana in Green Tree. His daughters joined the company and worked with their father.

Over the years, he built his own house, along with homes for several family members.

His colleagues called him "the last gentleman of his trade," Ms. Smith said. "The man never swore, never drank. When he shook your hand, that was his contract. He always had his dress shirt on. He was a very polite man. He was a gentleman."

"A hard-working man, a tireless craftsman, a builder of dreams," Ms. Jenkner wrote in a tribute for his 90th birthday.

Mr. Marini was known for his generosity, giving turkeys at Thanksgiving and hams and bonuses at Christmas to his employees. He was a loyal football and Steelers fan, and coached the Beechview Olsons football team in his younger days.

When he was 85, he joined the choir at St. Catherine of Siena Church and continued to sing there until he was 96.

His late wife, Dorothy, died in August 2013.

In addition to his daughters, he is survived by four grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

There will be no visitation. A Mass will be celebrated Wednesday at 10 a.m. in St. Catherine of Siena Church, 1810 Belasco Ave., Beechview.

Memorials can be made to PA Connecting Communities, 4401 Butler St., Pittsburgh 15201.

Adrian McCoy: amccoy@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1865.


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