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Claremont Courier - A Local Nonprofit Newsroom

Marty Gottuso: Entrepreneur, veteran, loving patriarch

Entrepreneur, veteran, loving patriarch

Mario “Marty” Gottuso Sr., a longtime Claremont resident, died on May 22, 2015. He was 92.

He was born in 1922 in Utica, New York to Vincent Gottuso, a Pentecostal minister, and his wife Evangeline, both of whose parents immigrated to the United States from Sicily, Italy in the early 1900s. The eldest of 10 children, he spent his early years growing up on the family farm.

Marty loved school and, as he claimed, was always the teacher’s pet. However, he had to leave school at age 15 during the Great Depression. He worked laying linoleum, refinishing furniture and at any other job he could find to contribute to his family’s financial needs. Unfortunately, he never returned to finish high school. Yet he thrived well beyond any education, spending most of his career in the furniture and real estate industries.

Mr. Gottuso proudly served in the US Army Air Corps during World War II. In the summer of 1945 he married Josephine, whom he met a number of years previously through the “marriage matching” of both of their parents. They were married for 45 years until her death in 1990. Shortly after their wedding, the couple headed west to California, living in Los Angeles and Alhambra. When Marty and Jo moved to Pomona in the mid-1950s, they began attending the Pomona First Baptist Church where they were longtime members. They settled in Claremont in 1962, where Mr. Gottuso remained until the year after his wife’s passing, when he moved to Upland.

Mr. Gottuso was known as an exceptional salesperson. It was often said he could sell someone anything, if he had enough time to work with them. He owned Manor House Furniture on Holt Avenue in Pomona for many years.

After closing his furniture store in 1971 he became a realtor, beginning with a tenure with Herbert Hawkins in Pomona followed by a position as sales manager with Gene Hart Realty in Claremont and Pomona. Marty and Jo eventually became the owners of Century 21 Gene Hart Realty.

As the owner, Mr. Gottuso continued working in sales and advertising until “retiring” at a year no one really knows, because he continued to do advertising for the company for many years. With his cheerful disposition and positive attitude, he also maintained his role as encourager and cheerleader for the realtors.

Mr. Gottuso loved playing the piano, which he learned by ear, and was the life of any party. He was energetic and personable, always keeping the person he was talking to the priority of the conversation. He was very free with hugs and kisses on the cheeks of those he knew for a long time and even people he just met.

In the final weeks and days prior to his passing, he was considerate with those caring for him, rarely complained and often dressed up so he felt he was participating in the day. He was still able to talk about world events and ask how each person in the family was doing, and continued to give advice. He received wonderful hospice care in his home through VNA and lived his final days gracefully and with dignity.

Marty loved his family and seemed to keep living for another family milestone, whether it was a graduation, wedding or other significant event. People were amazed at his age, as he always looked and acted much younger. He truly enjoyed life and will be missed by all who knew him.

He is survived by his sons and daughters-in-law, Vincent and Debbie Gottuso and Mario Jr. and Robin Gottuso, and his daughter Lorraine “Lorie” Anderson; his grandchildren Kimberly, Mario “Joshua,” Brian and his wife Kathy, Nicole and her husband Andrew Gulotta, and Justin and his wife Ann as well as great-grandchildren Logan and Macey.

Mr. Gottuso also leaves his loving companion Edith Terwilliger, who for more than 24 years was like a second mother to his children, as well as his brothers John and Nick Gottuso, his sister Rose Gottuso and numerous nieces, nephews and cousins.

Services for Mr. Gottuso will be held on Saturday, June 6 at 2:30 p.m. at the Church of Our Heritage at Forest Lawn Covina Hills, located at 21300 Via Verde Drive in Covina. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests that donations be made in Marty Gottuso’s honor to Pomona First Baptist Church.

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