Obituary: Jim Crivelli / McKees Rocks car dealer was also community leader
May 15, 1916 - May 30, 2014
May 31, 2014 11:51 PM
By Madasyn Czebiniak / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Jim Crivelli might be remembered by Pittsburghers for being the owner of Jim Crivelli's Chevrolet in McKees Rocks, but his family will remember him for something else -- being a teacher.
"He was always taking every opportunity he could to teach me, my brother, or my cousins ... and they would always run away when they were little because he would always have the blackboard out," his daughter, Sandy Horgan, of Moon said.
Mr. Crivelli died of natural causes Friday at Ohio River Hospital. He was 98.
"He was the type of person who would take the time to teach you anything. Not that he was bossy or anything, but he would tell you what he knew," Ms. Horgan's husband, Joe Horgan, said, recalling a time his father-in-law helped save a friend's business by encouraging him to invest in computers when they first came out.
"We had a vendor in the office supply business. His name was Frank. And he said, 'Frank if you don't get computerized you'll go out of business.' I ran into Frank five or six years ago and he said, 'if I didn't have that conversation with Jim, I wouldn't be in business.' That's always stuck with me as the type of thing he would do."
Mr. Horgan, who has been working as the controller at his father-in-law's dealership for 41 years, also talked about Mr. Crivelli's generosity when it came to charitable causes.
"He was a member of the Lion's Club and the Citizen's Care Program which is now called Partners for Quality," Mr. Horgan said. Partners for Quality helps those with intellectual and social challenges. Mr. Crivelli attended their golf outing every year. "He was a very avid golfer. He loves golf, even up until last summer he was playing golf with his friends. He couldn't play a full 18 holes but he enjoyed golf. He is the only one I think played in every single event since they started it," Mr. Horgan said.
"We have him scheduled to go ... even if he was just sitting in the cart with his oxygen, he would be going," Mr. Horgan said. "He would be involved in anything that he could."
"He'd say to me 'Hurry up and take your time,' " his son, Jim Crivelli of Moon, said of their golf outings. "I never knew what he meant by that."
Ms. Horgan, 63, said she still remembers what it was like to go to her father's car dealership as a little girl.
"In grade school -- his dealership was around the corner -- my brother went there after school and we stayed there until we went home with him," she said. "My father was the most generous kind man I'll ever know. I've always felt like it was just a wonderful place to be."
Her brother remembers those visits for another reason.
"We were a little bit of a handful. We weren't too quiet -- we would make too much noise -- there were times when my uncle would find us hiding in the back of a station wagon," he said.
Jim Crivelli also remembers the days his father would drive a Corvette home. Because there were only two seats, his father used to take turns driving him and his friends around. "They thought that was great," he said.
Mr. Crivelli was born May 15, 1916. He moved to McKees Rocks with his family from West Aliquippa when he was a teenager to help them open a store, Mr. Horgan said. Since then, his roots have always been there.
"He helped run the store almost when his father worked the railroads," Mr. Horgan said. The store eventually expanded into a service station and then into Crivelli Brothers Sales and Service on which sold Nash cars.
Mr. Crivelli gave that up to sell Chevrolet cars in 1955, the same day his son Jim was born.
"That was that car at the time," Jim said. "When they used to deliver cars to us on the trucks the cars would be covered up. People couldn't wait to see what the new models looked like. I remember those days ... those were great days," he said.
Besides his son and daughter, Mr. Crivelli is survived by his wife, Mary; four grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.
Viewings will be held from 2 to 4 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m., today and Monday at Musmanno Funeral Home in McKees Rocks and a funeral service will be Tuesday at St. Mary's Church, part of St. John of God Parish in McKees Rocks, at 9:30 a.m.
Madasyn Czebiniak: firstname.lastname@example.org, 412-263-1269 or Twitter: @PG_Czebiniak.