Jan. 26, 1931 – June 19, 2019
Peter Mascaro, an Italian immigrant who built successful businesses in the United States and Canada, died Wednesday at Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital after a brief illness. He was 88.
Born to Francesco and Giulia Mascaro in 1931, Mr. Mascaro got a humble start in Cellara, a small town in the Calabria region of Southern Italy. In 1951, with encouragement from his father and $26 to his name, he traveled through Halifax, Nova Scotia, and arrived in Niagara Falls.
Later, at an Our Lady of Mount Carmel dinner dance, he met the young woman who would become the love of his life: Laura Parenti.
The two danced, and he escorted her home. They continued to dance each weekend at the Marconi Hall and see Italian movies together during the week, his family said. In 1955, they tied the knot.
Mr. Mascaro was devoted to his family, which eventually grew to include four daughters, eight grandchildren and four great-grandchildren; and made friends easily.
Determined to build the life he had dreamed of in Italy, Mr. Mascaro went to work in the concrete and waterproofing business with his brothers, Anthony and Aldo. That led to his own successful construction business, building houses that included his own.
He enjoyed grocery shopping in Canada, where he had relatives. After one such trip, he was inspired to open a market of his own and moved his family across the northern border to operate Mascaro Food Market. Though he and his family enjoyed the years they spent in Canada and in the grocery business, Mr. Mascaro missed construction and moved back to the United States, where he started Mascaro Construction in 1968, his family said.
He ran the business until 1995 and continued after his retirement to manage properties he owned.
Drawing on lessons he hard learned during his small-town Italian upbringing, he shared his wisdom with his family. Each year, he organized the so-called Cellara picnic, in honor of San Sebastiano, his hometown's patron saint.
Mr. Mascaro made wine and an Italian salami called soppresatta with his family and friends. He loved the Buffalo Sabres and the New York Yankees and enjoyed a good game of bocce. An avid gardener, he loved to share its bounty with family and friends, and raised chickens at his home in Niagara Falls.
Predeceased by his brother Anthony, survivors include his wife, Laura A. Mascaro, his daughters Julie Polka, Eda Buzzelli, Franca Romeo and Gina Mascaro-Lore; his brother Aldo, along with his grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Services will be held at 9:15 a.m. Monday at M.J. Colucci & Son Niagara Funeral Chapel, 2730 Military Road in Niagara Falls, followed by a Mass of Christian burial at 10 a.m. Monday at St. Vincent de Paul Parish at Prince of Peace Church, 1055 North Military Road, Niagara Falls.