Former Delmont tavern owner made everybody's day better
Mary Kastelic had the honor of being recognized by her peers as the oldest businesswoman on Route 66 in Delmont -- an honor steeped in hard work and sacrifice.
As the owners of the Villa D'Esta Tavern on Route 66, Mrs. Kastelic and her husband, Michael, were known for their ham barbecue sandwiches, their gracious hospitality and the long hours on the job.
Mary A. Kastelic, formerly of Delmont, died on Friday, Nov. 16, 2007, in the McCullough House in Johnstown. She was 81.
"For over 43 years our customers could depend on Mom to be on the job at 6 in the morning and to have the coffee ready, especially on cold winter mornings," said her son, Dr. Richard Kastelic.
"My mother was the chief," he added. "She was a very proud woman who wanted everything done right. And although she could be stern at times, she could also be a lot of fun.
"As my brother, Mark, and my sister, Marylee, and I were growing up, we were expected to work in the restaurant.
"Mark and I did the maintenance, including keeping the grass cut in the front," Dr. Kastelic added.
Born and raised in Slickville, Westmoreland County, Mary Repos was one of six children of coal miner Frank Repos and his wife, Mary Metelko Repos.
Her father was killed in a mine accident when she was 3. Upon graduation from Slickville High School in 1944, where she excelled in basketball and track, Miss Repos completed a two-year business course at a Greensburg business school and was employed with the Woodruff Monument Co. in Greensburg.
In 1952, Mary Repos married Michael Kastelic, a welder and a World War II veteran.
The couple made their home in Delmont, and in 1964 they bought the Villa D'Esta on Route 66 in Delmont.
Marylee Kastelic, who continues to operate the restaurant, recalled her mother as a workaholic who loved her clientele, and they loved her.
"Our business has always been a family affair," said her daughter. "Mom and Dad did everything. And even after Dad died in 1974, Mom never let up," said her daughter.
"It was nothing for my mother to open in the morning when her customers were going to work and be there in the evening when they returned."
Mrs. Kastelic is survived by three children, Marylee Kastelic and Mark Kastelic, both of Delmont, and Dr. Richard Kastelic, of Johnstown and two grandchildren.
She is also survived by her sister, Mollie Dovyak, of Slickville.
Respecting the family's wishes, visitation, services and entombment in Twin Valley Memorial Park, Delmont, will be private.
Services will be conducted by Mrs. Kastelic's former pastor, Monsignor Donald Mondello of St. John Baptist de la Salle Catholic Church in Delmont.
Arrangements by the Vaia Funeral Home Inc., 463 Athena Drive, Delmont, Pa., 15626.