Entrepreneur lived doing what he loved [The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review :: ]
(Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (PA) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) March 16--If Philip Maffeo loved anything more than cars and computers, it had to be friends and family. But he really loved cars, especially Corvettes, those closest to him said.
"If we had the means, I'm sure he'd want to be buried in a Corvette," said his son, Matthew Maffeo of Charlotte, N.C.
Philip D. Maffeo died Wednesday, March 12, 2014, of injuries suffered when he was struck by a vehicle while crossing a street in Clairton. He was 66.
Mr. Maffeo grew up in a mill village house on Clairton's Farnsworth Avenue. He lived as an adult in Elizabeth Township but kept a presence in his hometown through his businesses -- Central Auto Center and Central Computer Center, at the intersection of St. Clair Avenue and Route 837.
Born to Nicholas J. Maffeo and Matilda Delconte Maffeo, Mr. Maffeo made a brief attempt to follow in his father's footsteps working at U.S. Steel's Clairton Works, said his brother Carl Maffeo, who has worked at the plant for a decade. Their other brother, Nick, has worked there for more than 40 years.
"Phil worked there for about two or three weeks and didn't like it, so he got out," said Carl Maffeo of Clairton. "He liked cars, and he loved tinkering."
Mr. Maffeo had more than 40 years' experience in the auto industry, first working as a body man at a shop owned by a neighbor and then opening a business in the early 1980s. Around the same time, he taught himself the DOS computer operating system and how to build and repair computers.
Matthew Maffeo works as an information technology consultant.
"I definitely got my interest in computers from my dad," he said.
The two talked daily on the telephone, discussing everything from electronic toys and technology news to the Steelers.
Mr. Maffeo found time to talk or hang out with a group of his best friends nearly every day, usually in Russo's Hardware in Clairton.
"He was the type of guy who touched a lot of people," said store owner and friend Ralph Russo.
They'd talk about cars, computers and business, Russo said, "wondering where our next 10 cents was coming from."
Mr. Maffeo was a Johnny-on-the-spot in a time of need, Russo said.
Mike Warhola knew Mr. Maffeo for 40 years, working in his auto body shop before moving on to become an insurance claims adjuster.
He said a common bond was a love of hot rods and antique cars, mainly Corvettes for Mr. Maffeo.
"He was into the '67s and '66s," Warhola said. "He probably had at least 20 over his lifetime. Maybe more."
In addition to his son and brother, Mr. Maffeo is survived by his brother, Nicholas Maffeo of South Park, and sister Mary Heckman of Elizabeth Township.
Friends will be received from 2 to 4 and 6 to 8 p.m. Sunday in A.J. Bekavac Funeral Home, 555 5th St., Clairton. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at noon Monday in St. Michael Roman Catholic Church in Elizabeth Township.
Jason Cato is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7936 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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