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Nuclear engineer Donald Colamarino traveled the world for his work

Jacob Tierney
| Monday, June 19, 2017, 11:00 p.m.
Donald A. Colamarino, 89, of Penn Township, formerly of Murrysville, died Sunday, June 18, 2017.
Donald A. Colamarino, 89, of Penn Township, formerly of Murrysville, died Sunday, June 18, 2017.

When work began on the USS Nautilus, the world's first nuclear submarine, Donald Colamarino was one of the first engineers on the job.

Colamarino dedicated his life to Westinghouse Electric Corp., where he worked in the burgeoning field of nuclear energy.

“My dad was probably the hardest-working person you'd ever find,” said his son John Colamarino.

Donald A. Colamarino of Penn Township, formerly of Murrysville, died Sunday, June 18, 2017. He was 89.

He was born March 17, 1928, in Pittsburgh to Guy and Christina Colamarino.

Mr. Colamarino was a child of the Great Depression, which taught him the value of hard work and good stewardship.

“He had nothing growing up. He used rocks for baseballs when he was a kid,” his son Robert Colamarino said.

During World War II, Mr. Colamarino joined the Army, as did several of his friends.

“They all signed up for paratrooper school, and my dad was the only out of the group that made it through the training,” John Colamarino said.

After returning home, he studied at the University of Pittsburgh and went on to work for Westinghouse, never forgetting the values he learned growing up.

He passed his work ethic along to his children.

“He taught you a lot of values in life. It sticks with you,” Robert Colamarino said. “He taught us how to stand on our own two feet.”

Colamarino traveled the world for work — Italy, France, Germany, Switzerland and more — during a career dedicated to nuclear energy, both naval nuclear and commercial nuclear.

He retired as a senior engineer after 37 years but didn't stay away from Westinghouse for long. He returned to the company as a consultant, a position he held until he was 87.

He was a stickler for details who ensured the quality of whatever he was working on, his children said.

“He was proud of that, no doubt about it. He enjoyed his work,” Robert Colamarino said.

A member of Manor American Legion Post No. 472 and St. Barbara Catholic Church in Harrison City, he was a fan of the Pirates, Steelers and his alma mater, the University of Pittsburgh.

Mr. Colamarino is survived by his wife, Mary Louise (Izzo) Colamarino; sons Donald J. Colamarino of Murrysville, Robert M. Colamarino of Hempfield and John G. Colamarino and wife, Donna, of Knoxville, Tenn.; and several grandchildren.

Family and friends will be received from 2 to 4 and 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday at Vaia Funeral Home, 463 Athena Drive, Delmont. A funeral Mass will be celebrated Wednesday at a place and time to be announced, with entombment to follow in Twin Valley Memorial Park, Delmont.

Jacob Tierney is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-836-6646 or

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