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Hazelwood restaurateur passed love of sports on to sons

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By Jerry Vondas
Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2008
 

The legacy Chuck Bonasorte leaves for his sons includes hard work, devotion to family and a love of sports.

After graduation from Connelley Vocational High School in Uptown, Mr. Bonasorte delivered milk for Country Belle Dairy, worked as a heavy equipment operator for PennDOT and ran his own restaurant.

Charles D. "Ringy" Bonasorte of Hazelwood, former co-owner and operator of the Chasmar restaurant in Hazelwood, died Sunday, Feb. 24, 2008, at his home. He was 81.

In 1953, Mr. Bonasorte married Maryann Coppola of Hays, whom he had met at a church dance in Greenfield.

"As a family, we owned and operated the Chasmar on Second Avenue," said his son, Charles Bonasorte, owner of the Pittsburgh Stop on the University of Pittsburgh campus, a business specializing in official Pitt products.

"My mother did the cooking. I worked the dining room and bar. We had as customers members of the Steeler and Pitt football teams," he said. "Dad worked all day at PennDOT, came home and worked at the restaurant until we closed.

"The players loved my mother. She often fed a dozen of them at a time. And she was like a mother to several Steeler players who she befriended. And we also had our regulars, the millworkers and railroaders."

Charles Bonasorte was known as "The Kamikaze Kid" when he was a linebacker for the Pitt Panthers from 1972-76. Mr. Bonasorte's other son, Francis "Monk" Bonasorte, an All-American football player for Florida State University, is senior associate athletic coach at Florida State and executive director of the FSU Varsity Club.

"My father and my Uncle Bucky (Joseph Bonasorte) inspired my brother and I to participate in sports," Charles Bonasorte said.

"They took us to every Pirate and Pitt game. And as soon as my brother and I were old enough, they signed us up for Little League."

Born and raised in Hazelwood, Mr. Bonasorte was one of 12 children of carpenter Corridano Bonasorte, an Italian immigrant, and his wife, Harriet Durkin.

"I'm often asked what's the best way to describe my uncle," said his niece, Kim Bonasorte. "He was the kind of guy that would give you the shirt off his back."

Mr. Bonasorte is survived by his sons, Charles Bonasorte of Hazelwood and Francis Bonasorte of Tallahassee, Fla.; two grandchildren; a sister, Annabelle Martin of Palm Harbor, Fla.; and a brother, Francis Bonasorte of Bethel Park.

He was preceded in death by his wife, Maryann Bonasorte, in 2001.

Friends will be received from 2 to 4 and 6 to 8 p.m. today at the John O'Connor & Son Funeral Home Inc., 5106 Second Ave., Hazelwood. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 10 a.m. Thursday at St. Stephen Parish, Hazelwood.

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