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Matthew DeVitto remembered for intellegence, quick wit

Rich Cholodofsky
| Sunday, May 20, 2018, 11:00 p.m.
Matthew DeVitto
Submitted photo
Matthew DeVitto

Everywhere Matthew P. DeVitto went in his hometown of Latrobe he traveled by foot.

So much so, that it could take more than two hours, or longer, to return from the store with a loaf of bread.

“He would walk from one end of town to the other. It would take that long because he would stop and talk to everyone,” daughter Renee Kozar said.

Mr. DeVitto died Wednesday, May 17, 2018, at The Winds at Mattern in Duncansville. He was 86.

He was born April 25, 1932, in Latrobe, the son of the late Paul V. and Valia DeVitto. Shortly after his graduation from Latrobe Area High School, Mr. DeVitto married his wife, Betty, then shipped out to serve as a military policeman with the Army, stationed at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii.

While in Hawaii, Mr. DeVitto served as a member of the security detail for then-Vice President Richard Nixon during his tour of Pearl Harbor in 1953.

“He said Nixon was very kind to him. He spent four or five days as part of his entourage,” nephew Gary Lamolinara said.

Upon his return home, Mr. DeVitto got a job running the furnace at Kennametal plants in Latrobe and Kingston — a job he held for 45 years until his retirement.

Family members recalled Mr. DeVitto as a quick-witted man who was always the first to assign friends with a nickname.

Mr. DeVitto enjoyed bowling, gardening and playing cards, specializing in pinochle and bridge.

“He never wrote the score down. He kept them all in his head,” Kozar said.

Mr. DeVitto attended Holy Family Church. He was a member of the Knights of Columbus Council No. 940, the American Legion Post No. 515 and the Fraternal Order of Eagles No. 1188.

“He was so smart and, no matter what, he was right. I still go back and say ‘Dad told me that,'” Kozar said.

Mr. DeVitto was preceded in death by his wife, Elizabeth I. “Betty” (Krinock) DeVitto. He is survived by daughters Renee A. Kozar and her husband, Michael, of Chipley, Fla., and Jennifer M. Gregory, of Duncansville; two sisters, Joanna Lamolinara and her husband Edward, of Latrobe, and Beverly A. Smith Maker and her husband, Bud, of Angola, Ind. He is also survived by six grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

A funeral Mass will be conducted 10 a.m. Monday at Holy Family Church with the Rev. Daniel C. Mahoney officiating. Internment will follow at St. Mary's Cemetery, where a graveside military service will be conducted by the Greensburg V.F.W. Post No. 33.

Rich Cholodofsky is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-830-6293 or

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