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Veteran's artistic side showed in masonry, music

| Saturday, Sept. 7, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
Anthony 'Tony' Priano Sr., 83, of Whitehall, died Wednesday, Sept. 4, 2013, of natural causes.

Anthony Priano Jr. sat and watched with fascination years ago as his father, Anthony Priano Sr., assembled decorative stones into a planter.

“There was no repeated pattern,” Priano Jr. said. “I asked him, ‘How do you know where they go?' And he said, ‘Because that's where it goes.' That was the first time I watched artwork being done.”

Anthony “Tony” Priano Sr., of Whitehall, died in his home Wednesday, Sept. 4, 2013, of congestive heart failure. He was 83.

Mr. Priano learned the trades of bricklaying, decorative stonemasonry and concrete finishing under the tutelage of his father, Alfonso.

Mr. Priano worked as a letter carrier for the Postal Service. His son said that many days Mr. Priano would work a full day at the post office, and would work on a masonry job with his brother, Guy. Mr. Priano helped build the Oak Hill housing plan in Whitehall where his family lived, said his wife of 62 years, Cathy Priano.

Mr. Priano's son said that on Sundays, the family would take drives throughout the area, and Mr. Priano would point to buildings he worked on. Even after his retirement, Mr. Priano would analyze the work.

“That was his love,” said his wife.

Family members said Mr. Priano entertained his children by doing long division in his head and by calculating cubic yards of concrete without using a pencil and paper.

His wife said that Mr. Priano preferred to work without gloves, wanting to grasp the brick or stone with his bare, calloused hands.

“He had to have that feel,” Cathy Priano said. “He could take a chisel, and ‘tick, tick, tick,” he could break a brick exactly in half.”

Mr. Priano was an Air Force veteran and a member of the American Legion Nix-Vogel Post 935 in Pittsburgh. He played the trumpet in the Air Force band.

Mr. Priano was preceded in death by his parents, Alfonso and Grazia Priano. In addition to his wife, Cathy, and son Anthony Jr., Mr. Priano is survived by a daughter, Karen, of Brentwood; and sons, Gerry, of South Park; and Al and Jeff, both of Whitehall; 11 grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren; and brothers Guy, of Whitehall; and Al, of Baldwin.

Friends will be received from 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 p.m. Sunday in John F. Slater Funeral Home, 4201 Brownsville Road, Brentwood. A prayer service will be held 9:15 a.m. Monday. Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 10 a.m. Monday in St. Elizabeth of Hungary Church, Pleasant Hills. Burial with full military honors will follow in Jefferson Memorial Cemetery.

Bill Vidonic is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-380-5621 or bvidonic@tribweb.com.

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