As a volunteer fireman in Crafton in the 1960s and 1970s, David Warren LaSota was always at the ready when the fire siren went off, grabbing his gear and running out of the door.
As a Crafton borough councilman in the 1970s and as a longtime community volunteer, Mr. LaSota put to use his organizational and craftsman skills in helping to plan special events and facilities improvements in the borough.
And, as a talented phone installer for various telephone companies, Mr. LaSota worked on projects in Washington, D.C., and Harrisburg and the New York state capital in Albany.
But the role he held most important was that of father and husband, said his daughter Laura Sylvester of Jefferson Hills.
"I don't think anybody that talked to him wouldn't know about his family by the end of the conversation. He always talked about how proud he was of us," said Mrs. Sylvester. Among those who heard the details of Mr. LaSota's family were the nurses at UPMC Mercy Hospital who took care of Mr. LaSota in his final days.
Mr. LaSota died Sunday at Mercy of complications following a recent fall. He was 78.
He was a native of Carnegie, where he played football and graduated from the former Carnegie High School.
After high school, at the age of 17, Mr. LaSota was hired by Bell Telephone, where he learned to become a phone installer. He would work in the field for more than 35 years, later transferring to AT&T and Lucent.
After retiring from the phone industry, he worked for another decade installing phones for Kaufmann's department stores in Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia.
"He was very good at what he did and they always assigned him to important things out of town," Mrs. Sylvester said.
After moving to Crafton in 1960, Mr. LaSota became deeply involved in community affairs, first with the fire department and later serving several terms on the borough council, said his son David of Patton, Cambria County.
Mr. LaSota was a frequent volunteer for community functions and was among the founding members of Crafton Celebrates, an annual celebration including a parade, food booths and fireworks held in the borough around July 4.
He also raised grant money to build a band shell in Crafton Park and made himself available to work on park improvement projects.
He coached his son's community baseball and football teams and continued to coach in the Crafton leagues after his sons were grown.
Mr. LaSota was an avid reader, favoring mysteries and history, and frequently donated his books to the Crafton Public Library.
Through his words and actions, Mr. LaSota "instilled a great work ethic in his children and grandchildren," said his daughter Lisa McDaniels of Portsmouth, R.I.
In addition to his two daughters and son, Mr. LaSota is survived by his wife, Carolyn; another son, John of Robinson; a sister, Diane Miscoski of Baldwin Park, Calif.; nine grandchildren; and one great-grandson.
Visitation will be from 6 to 8 p.m. today and 1 to 3 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m. Friday at the Schepner-McDermott Funeral Home, 165 Noble Ave., Crafton.
A funeral Mass will be celebrated at 10 a.m. Saturday at St. Philip Catholic Church in Crafton.
Mary Niederberger: firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-1590.