Obituary: Anthony J. Cortese / He held a series of interesting jobs

Oct. 28, 1930 - March 16, 2014

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Anthony J. Cortese liked to work.

From his vantage point at organizations throughout the city, he found himself involved in activities ranging from meeting the Beatles backstage at the Civic Arena to being opposed to building a series of large high schools in Pittsburgh, said his son, Vincent of Bethel Park.

Mr. Cortese, 83, who grew up in the Hill District and lived much of his life in Beechview and later in Scott, died Sunday at UPMC Mercy.

Mr. Cortese graduated from Duquesne University in 1952 and served in the Army in Korea, receiving three service medals before being honorably discharged in 1954.

A year later, he became editor of a sales publication for the H.J. Heinz Co. and then joined the Greater Pittsburgh Chamber of Commerce as editor of the Greater Pittsburgh Magazine and director of public relations.

His next post, taken in 1962, was promotion director of the Civic Arena where his son said his dad met Sammy Davis Jr., the Beatles and the Rolling Stones.

As promotion director, Mr. Cortese encouraged the arena's use not just for music but also for sports, his son said.

Two years later, Mr. Cortese became community relations director of KQV radio, where he wrote editorials and led what is believed to be the city's first job fair, his son said.

From 1965 to 1970, he was community development director for the city Planning Department where he coordinated the annual budget.

He then joined Pittsburgh Public Schools where, according to school district records, he retired in 1993 as "facilities planning manager."

His son said his dad "just liked to work" but found time to manage Little League baseball teams in Beechview when his two sons were playing.

"He was a really good coach," said Vincent Cortese. "We won a lot, but anytime he saw anything, if someone wasn't respecting a manager, that was more important than winning, more important than loyalty. He really thought about making the kids respectful."

In addition to Vincent, Mr. Cortese is survived by another son, Anthony of Tampa, Fla.; a sister, Anna Balestrieri of Mt. Lebanon; and six grandchildren.

Friends will be received from 2 to 4 and 6 to 8 p.m. today at Beinhauers Mortuary, 2630 West Liberty Ave., Beechview.

Mass will be celebrated at 10 a.m. Thursday at Our Lady of Grace Church in Scott.

Burial will be at Calvary Cemetery.

The family requests contributions to the charity of the donor's choice.


Eleanor Chute: echute@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1955.


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