Bertoia had fondness for books
To the editor:
It should be noted by all book lovers in this area as well as those who recall days past in downtown Steubenville, the sad news of Monday’s passing of Roger Bertoia. Roger, with his partner, Charlie Bishop Jr., founded the Bishop of Books Bookstore in 1976. Over the years they had two locations, 328 Market St. and 145 N. Fifth St. It was when the North Fifth Street closed that BookMarx decided that Steubenville could sustain another used book store, and we relocated from Atlanta back in 2008. One of BookMarx’s earliest supporters and biggest fans when we opened was Roger Bertoia. He remained active in the used collectible book trade, running it out of his home on St. Andrews Drive here in Steubenville, ably assisted by his charming wife, Lauretta.
Roger had the most amazing collection of books and sports memorabilia with a focus on his beloved Pittsburgh sports teams. His love of sports started during his days at Catholic Central High School in Steubenville and in college, where he excelled as quarterback at Xavier University and where, in 2007, he was inducted into the Xavier Hall of Fame.
The collection of books he had was absolutely amazing. I recall my first visit to his house. We spent a few hours walking around the aisles of books in his basement. It was a collection that I admire to this day and one that helped inspire me to add as many quality books as possible to my own collection.
BookMarx in its early days in Steubenville was a modest store by comparison to the Bishop of Books. Roger, though, was our biggest fan. He visited the store frequently and always found something to buy. I was always pleased when he found a particular first edition or a special hardto-find book that excited him.
Over the years, Roger continued his frequent visits and occasional pep talks. His knowledge of the book trade was called upon whenever I was stumped on identifying a difficult book; he always took time to help out, and his advice was always helpful. Frequently, book buyers who were from out of the area would stop by our store and ask about Roger. His customer base and reputation spread across the entire country. Everyone had kind words about their dealings with Roger and the high quality of his books.
He will be missed dearly at BookMarx. As long as we are open, he will always be remembered as Patricia and I strive to operate a store worthy of visits and purchases by one of the premier bibliophile’s in the country. Rest in peace, Roger.