One more thing, about someone whose death didn't make the news, but this man definitely was a Chicago neighborhood institution.
If you ever drove down Lawrence Avenue just west of Pulaski through Albany Park, chances are you saw him plying his trade. In the window of Marie's Pizza and Liquors, Pietro Benincasa--or Pete to his countless friends—is seen making his thin pizzas, and the dough, the sausage, the meatballs all from scratch. He was here almost 55 years. The only job this native of Sanremo, Italy ever had in America.
We caught up with Pete a few years ago.
"Next year, it will be 50 years for me," Benincasa said. "And if it wasn't a good place, a nice place, I wouldn't be sticking around. No body can say, 'hey, I went to Marie's and got a bad pizza.'"
Pietro Benincasa semi-retired after his wife of 50 years passed away last summer, but he'd still come in once in a while to add an authentic touch to a classic Chicago business that you might say looks like it's preserved in tomato sauce; Pete's tomato sauce. Pete died last week at the age of 83.
All the folks he fed at Marie's, and at the annual spaghetti dinners he made for churches will miss him.