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Funeral arrangements set for wrestling legend Bruno Sammartino

| Friday, April 20, 2018, 9:54 a.m.
Bruno Sammartino was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame on Saturday, April 6, 2013, in New York.
Bruno Sammartino was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame on Saturday, April 6, 2013, in New York.
Bruno Sammartino was the longest reigning champion of the World Wide Wrestling Federation, holding the title from 1963-71, and again from 1973-77.
Submitted
Bruno Sammartino was the longest reigning champion of the World Wide Wrestling Federation, holding the title from 1963-71, and again from 1973-77.

Funeral arrangements for legendary wrestler Bruno Sammartino have been set for this weekend in Pittsburgh and Ross, officials said.

Visitors will be received Saturday and Sunday at John A. Freyvogel Sons Funeral Home, 4900 Centre Avenue in Pittsburgh's Shadyside neighborhood, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. John Freyvogel anticipated crowds but said the funeral home was not taking any extraordinary measures.

“We've had funerals like this before with large crowds; we just have to keep people moving through,” he said.

Funeral services and a Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 10 a.m. Monday at St. Sebastian Roman Catholic Church, 311 Siebert Road in Ross. Sammartino's burial will be private.

After surviving the Nazi occupation of his hometown of Pizzoferrato, Italy, the scrawny Sammartino came to Pittsburgh and built himself into a mountain of muscle and a professional wrestler, the longest-reigning champion of the World Wide Wrestling Federation from 1963 to 1971 and again from 1973 to 1977. He was 82 when he died Wednesday .

Sammartino represented hard work and a by-the-rules attitude even as professional wrestling veered into grander theatrics, drug abuse and exploitation, eventually reconciling with management and getting inducted into the sport's Hall of Fame in 2013.

Matthew Santoni is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724 836 6660, msantoni@tribweb.com or on Twitter @msantoni.

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