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Stone mason entrusted to restore NYC history

| Saturday, Feb. 22, 2014, 12:01 a.m.
Eugene “Gino” Marchese Jr., 64, of Ross Township died Feb. 18, 2014.

Eugene A. Marchese Jr.'s legacy is in the details.

From the decorative roof on the Brooklyn Academy of Music in New York City to a 20-foot wall in his Ross home — Mr. Marchese lived for stone masonry.

“He was absolutely my hero and someone I'm tremendously proud of,” said brother Neil Marchese. “He was tremendously skilled, a tremendous student and just a great person.”

Mr. Marchese, a well-respected and award-winning stone mason, died on Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2014, of vasculitis. He was 64.

Up until last week, Mr. Marchese was on the job, working to finish a historical restoration project at The Grand Central Oyster Bar & Restaurant in New York City. Mr. Marchese was a project superintendent for Graciano Corp. of Pittsburgh and had been traveling regularly since 1992 to New York City to restore landmarks there, said Graciano President Glenn Foglio. Mr. Marchese would return to Pittsburgh on weekends.

“Everybody loved him,” Foglio said. “He was hard because he demanded so much and he worked so hard ... but you wanted to work for him.”

Mr. Marchese learned the trade early in life from his grandfather. When he earned a college degree in fine arts, he melded the two. He shared his knowledge with Foglio, who was an engineering student in 1980 when he met Mr. Marchese at a construction site.

Foglio would later recruit his mentor to Graciano, and Mr. Marchese left a legacy in New York City. Mr. Marchese did restoration work at numerous historical structures there, including The Marketplace at Queensboro Bridge, the Waldorf Astoria hotel and the MetLife Building.

Sharon Marchese met her husband of 23 years at a construction site in Pittsburgh. When she walked past on her way to work “he just kept saying ‘Hello,' ” she recalled.

“Work is what he liked,” she said.

He liked their cats, who he named Pete and Repete, even though Sharon Marchese said the animals weren't fond of him.

In addition to his pets, wife, brother and co-workers, Mr. Marchese — known as “Kiki” or “Gino” — is survived by his father, Eugene Marchese Sr.; sisters Kathleen Marchese, Lynn Leghart and Brigida Mertz; an uncle, Armen Gonano; parents-in-law William and Ann Stewart; and other family members and friends.

Transfer prayers will be held at 9 a.m. Saturday in T.B. Devlin Funeral Home in Ross. A Mass of Christian Burial will follow at 9:30 a.m. at St. Sebastian Church in the township. Memorial contributions can be made to Animal Friends at 562 Camp Horne Road, Pittsburgh, PA 15237.

Renatta Signorini is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-837-5374 or rsignorini@tribweb.com.

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