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Sales manager fought back against disease

| Sunday, July 7, 2013, 11:39 p.m.
Carl M. Firetto, 56, of Economy Borough, passed away Thursday, July 4, 2013, in his home, after a courageous four-year battle with synovial sarcoma.

Carl Firetto and his brother John drove past a disco in the North Hills one night, then decided to go back.

Good thing. One of the young ladies there had a premonition that she would meet the man she would marry that night. She gave her phone number to Carl Firetto, who recalled having one dance with her three years earlier. She later married him.

“Well, he remembered my face,” said his wife, Cynthia Firetto of Economy. “It was his dynamic personality, his zest for living and his optimism.”

Carl M. Firetto died Thursday, July 4, 2013, of synovial sarcoma, a cancer of soft tissue, in his home in Economy. He was 56.

He was born March 28, 1957, in Chicago to Michael and Josephine Firetto. His father was a purchasing agent for a railroad, steel firm and construction company, and his mother was a homemaker.

The family moved to Western Pennsylvania, and he graduated from North Allegheny High School. He played the drums in the marching band and in a wedding band, and taught drumming.

Mr. Firetto graduated from Robert Morris University with a bachelor's degree in business, and began a 30-year career in sales and management at General Motors dealerships, especially Troy-Alan Cars.

“It was a running joke among us that wherever he would go, whether it was three states away or two counties, he would always run into someone he sold a car to,” said his daughter, Carla Firetto of Bellefonte, Centre County. “But he would always remember exactly the car he sold them. He would remember the year, the make, the color and what they traded in when they bought their car.

“They would not remember him, but he was right every time. When I say that, I'm talking cars that he sold 30 years prior.”

Mr. Firetto was diagnosed with the disease four years ago. Instead of moping, he helped found Pittsburgh Cure Sarcoma, a group that raises money for research and awareness. He was race director for the 5K run and walk that last year raised $121,500 for research.

“He felt so bad for the young people who got it more so than himself,” his wife said.

In addition to his wife and daughter, survivors include his mother of Bradford Woods; a son, Matthew; brothers John of Economy, Michael of Conway and Alan of Phoenix; and sisters Catherine Firetto of Butler and Karen Rosenberg of Mars.

Friends will be received from 2 to 4 and 5 to 8 p.m. Monday in Devlin Funeral Home of Cranberry, 2678 Rochester Road. A Mass of Christian Burial will be at 10 a.m. Tuesday in St. Ferdinand Church. In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorial contributions to PittsburghCureSarcoma.org (Team Carl), P.O. Box 194, Gibsonia, PA 15044.

Bill Zlatos is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7828 or bzlatos@tribweb.com.

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