James "Jimmy" Morasca was a winner in the Mr. Pittsburgh amateur bodybuilding competition last May, an accomplishment that followed a lifetime of athletic achievements.
Mr. Morasca, a past Golden Gloves boxer, skilled marksman and former Chartiers Valley High School football player, died Saturday of pancreatic cancer. He was 57.
Those close to him described Mr. Morasca, of Scott, as a vibrant and fun-loving man. He loved jokes and Italian music and was an incredible cook.
In a recent photograph from a golfing trip, he flashed a brilliant smile that seemed to always be present.
"That picture was him and I, we were golfing in Marco Island, Fla.," said a brother, Michael Morasca. "A fun-loving guy, always fun to be with. He was my actual golfing buddy. He was a jokester, definitely a jokester."
Mr. Morasca was diagnosed with the illness just two days after Christmas. His family said his rapid deterioration was a shock.
"He was very good at eating right. He was in perfect shape, always ate properly, worked out every day and he was in very good shape," said his brother.
Mr. Morasca, who worked as a cook at the Westin Convention Center hotel and later in purchasing, first became interested in bodybuilding after his son had worked with trainer Gary Udit.
"Jimmy said 'It was always on my bucket list to do one of these [bodybuilding competitions].' It was a matter of dieting correctly. He won that in May in the over-50," Mr. Udit said.
Mr. Morasca was a natural, said Mr. Udit, and a pleasure to work with.
"First and foremost he was selfless. He was always helping someone else," Mr. Udit said.
"People come and go. Every now and then you meet a guy that makes an impact."
Mr. Morasca was a member of the 1972 Chartiers Valley High football team that won a conference championship. He went on to play at California State University.
He won a Golden Gloves title while still in high school, according to Michael Morasca, and recently won awards in local marksman competitions.
Mr. Morasca is survived by two children, Angelo and Silvia; and four brothers, John, Michael, Peter and Sam Jr.
Funeral services were held Thursday.obituaries
Jenn Menendez: firstname.lastname@example.org.