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Local Death Notices

The following obituaries were posted for February, 2019.

Capozzi
Henry A. Capozzi Sr.

Capozzi, Henry A.

He was an electrician with a megawatt smile, a generous, often feisty and sometimes stubborn man who lit up the lives of everyone he met -- from walkers in South Park and church parishioners to casino workers and the homeless.

Henry A. Capozzi Sr., who helped power thousands of homes and businesses in the Pittsburgh area after opening Capozzi Electric in 1957, passed away peacefully on Dec. 22, 2018, at Jefferson Hospital in suburban Pittsburgh. He was 98.

He had been battling heart disease in his final years, a remarkable triumph for a man who had successful quintuple bypass surgery in 1987 and went on to run 10 miles a day until the age of 85.

Born on Jan. 29, 1920, he was one of nine children raised by Italian immigrants in the section of downtown Pittsburgh that was later razed for the construction of the Civic Arena.

After graduating from Fifth Avenue High School and Connelley Trade School, he met Rita Coughenour in a candy store. They married in 1950 and raised seven children, first at Locust Street in Pittsburgh, then on Lois Drive in Baldwin and Stoltz Road in Bethel Park.

By 1965, he moved Capozzi Electric to a yellow-brick office that he built on McAnulty Road next to the South Baldwin fire hall, three blocks from the Capozzi house on Lois Drive. Three sons, his brother Nick and a son-in-law would work for him.

Aside from his family, he loved his Pittsburgh sports teams. He was a Pitt Panthers season ticket holder during the Tony Dorsett years and was at Three Rivers Stadium in 1971 for the first night game in World Series history and in 1972 for the Immaculate Reception.

Even more precious to him was his faith. In the 1960s and 70s, he took his young family to mass every Saturday night at St. Germaine Church, arriving early so his kids could fill up the first row of the pews. When the family moved to Bethel Park, he became a longtime usher at St. Valentine’s Church.

He had a stubborn streak, too. He refused to use a wallet, opting instead to secure his driver’s license, few credit cards and cash with a rubber band. He often wore a favorite pair of sneakers to the bitter end, even if it meant covering the holes with duct tape.

And for someone born just 14 months after the end of World War I, he took pride in resisting the technological leaps of the past two decades. He rarely used a cell phone. But after his kids bought him an iPad a few Christmases ago, he used it every day to play games, do puzzles and stay in touch with his grandkids and many friends on Facebook.

At South Park, he was the unofficial mayor of Corrigan Drive where he made legions of new friends on his morning walks. In March, a TV crew from WTAE followed him for a story about the oldest walker at South Park. "You need to get out and walk every day,'' he often said "If you wait for the perfect day you'll never go.''

Hollywood tells us how George Bailey had a wonderful life, but he didn’t ride the Thunderbolt at Kennywood Park or go country line dancing or party in Las Vegas like Henry Capozzi did.

Mostly, he liked to “loaf” and “jag around” -- his often-used words -- with family and friends. He was flirting with nurses and cracking jokes until the very end. When one of his daughters told him she was going to miss him, he quipped, “Just pretend I’m still here." Just before he took his last breath, he looked up at 30 relatives surrounding his bed and said, “I’ve lived a good long life.’’

He is survived by seven children: Mary Jo (Frank) Kane, Delores (Chris) Tatman, Henry A. (Janie) Capozzi II, Gregory Capozzi, Joseph (Elisabeth) Capozzi, Melina (Chuck) Stokan-Bandi, and Christopher Capozzi; 19 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren; his brother Nicholas Capozzi and sister Theresa Capozzi, and 4 of his daughter's stepchildren, whom he loved as his own.

Funeral services were held at Paul Henney Funeral Home in Bethel Park, and a memorial mass was held at St. Benedict the Abbot Church, in McMurray, followed by burial at Calvary Catholic Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations in Mr. Capozzi’s name to the Friends of South Park, online at https://www.southparkfriends.org/ or via mail in care of President Sharon Adams, 6528 Ventura Dr., Pittsburgh PA 15236.

Dell, Richard E.

Richard E. "Giant" Dell Jr., age 65, of Forward Twp., passed away on Friday, January 4, 2019 at home. He was the founder and owner for Giant's Landscaping in Elizabeth. He was a former truck driver of 37 years for Marraccini Supermarket, the caretaker for Elizabeth Cemetery, and was an avid Harley Davidson motorcycle rider. Born April 21, 1953 in Washington, D.C., he was a son of the late Richard E. Dell Sr. and the late Ada Lee (Williams) Dell. He is survived by his wife of 33 years, Frances M. Wright; daughters, Kristy Torgent of Mt. Vernon and Rachel (Brandon) Hale of Port Vue; sons, Richard (Nicole) Dell III of Forward Twp., Jason (Holly) Wright of Houston, TX, Joshua (Donna) Blake of West Elizabeth and Paul Dell of Dover Air Force Base, DE; 19 grandchildren; brother, Shawn R. Dell of West Elizabeth; also, nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles and cousins. In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his first wife, Linda Dell, and brother, Michael Dell. Services were held at the Paul E. Bekavac Funeral Home in Elizabeth. Memorial contributions may be made to PA Patriot Guard Riders, 789 Washington Pike, Avella, PA 15312. Offer condolences at www.bekavacfuneralhome.com.

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