John Sciullo's mother prayed for her son to be a cabinetmaker, someone who could fix things. When John installed a kitchen in his mother's house at age 14, it was a good sign someone was listening.
The longtime Gibsonia resident died Sunday at age 83. He is remembered as a devoted family man and an accomplished woodworker and accordion maker.
Mr. Sciullo was born in Bloomfield and married Ann Parrendo in 1955. The couple had two children, John and Marilyn.
Perhaps in response to his mother's prayers, Mr. Sciullo's love of carpentry began early. As a child he hammered so many nails into a backyard tree that it died.
In the 1950s, he opened his own accordion shop, Silvano's, in Bloomfield. After closing the shop, he continued to build and repair accordions. He didn't play much, but friends say he was fascinated with building the instruments and had a great appreciation for music.
He owned Contemporary Woodwork in Gibsonia for more than 50 years, a business that specializes in custom woodwork for homes, churches and businesses.
"There was nowhere he would rather be than his shop," Mrs. Sciullo said.
His son called him a master craftsman and "a true artist," with a particular talent for wood finishing.
His daughter, Marilyn Buck of Allison Park, said Mr. Sciullo's shop was a second home.
"His customers were like family," she said.
Longtime friend Robert Fezza often visited the shop with orders for his business, but stayed for the conversation.
Mr. Sciullo often would invite friends up to the kitchen on the second floor of the shop to catch up and talk. Mr. Fezza said Mr. Sciullo was thoughtful, articulate and a good listener.
"When you left his shop, you felt you'd been with someone special," he said. "He was the friend people dream of having."
Mrs. Buck said her father was quiet and "always gave the best advice. He always had a knack for knowing what to say."
In his free time, Mr. Sciullo enjoyed classical music, reading and gardening.
True to his Italian roots, Mr. Sciullo loved to plant garlic, basil and tomatoes in his garden. His daughter remembers taking cloves of garlic to restaurants to season their pizza.
Mr. Sciullo was very interested in the life and teachings of St. Padre Pio, an Italian saint who died in 1968.
St. Pio and Mr. Sciullo's family were from the same region in Italy, which Mrs. Buck said gave her father a special connection to the saint.
He often made custom crucifixes and other works for local churches. He distributed devotions and framed pictures of St. Pio to local residents.
In addition to his wife and daughter, Mr. Sciullo is survived by a son, John, of Philadelphia; sisters Adeline Ficorilli and Michelina Mastroianni of Bloomfield; and one grandson.
A funeral Mass will take place at 10 a.m. today at St. Alphonsus Church, 201 Church Road, Wexford.
Lauren Lindstrom: email@example.com or 412-263-1964.