Bertoia left lasting impact
To the editor:
I was very much saddened when I learned of the recent passing of a true Steubenville icon and someone I have long considered a personal friend and mentor, Roger W. Bertoia, who will long be remembered, and highly respected, for his outstanding contributions to the area as a businessman, athlete, coach and community leader.
Bertoia, who lived nearly all of his adult life in the Steubenville area, graduated from Xavier University in Cincinnati, where he played quarterback on the school’s fine football team for four years, and for his outstanding achievements and leadership on the football field was honored by his induction into the school’s athletic hall of fame in 2017.
Following his graduation from Xavier, Bertoia played professional football for the Ottawa Rough Riders of the Canadian Football League.
I fondly recall that during my two decades of employment in Steubenville, dining at my favorite restaurant, Naples Spaghetti House, where his photograph was prominently placed on the wall, performing on the gridiron, near the photo of another Steubenville icon, the legendary Dean Martin.
Upon completion of his outstanding athletic career, Bertoia relocated to Steubenville, where he served as president and owner of the Ohio Nut and Washer Co. from 1960 to 1984, when he sold the business, and from there owned and operated the excellent Bishop of Books bookstore in the area for the next 20 years.
Also, Bertoia was extremely active as a very involved and highly respected community leader, serving on local boards, representing the Diocese of Steubenville schools, Franciscan University of Steubenville, Steubenville Chamber of Commerce, the Jefferson County Department of Job and Family Services and the Jefferson County Drug and Alcohol Abuse Program, to name a few.
In addition, Bertoia had served as head golf coach and assistant football coach at Catholic Central High School.
Bertoia also had a fine collection of autographed photos, many of which he marketed for sale.
I always will be grateful to him for his mentorship in the field of autographed photos, a hobby which I pursued with much enjoyment and passion, accumulating more than 1,500 signed items during the years, of which I have since sold, while others remain of some of my most treasured possessions.
I am a very avid reader and accumulator of a great many books during the years, many of which Bertoia had generously purchased from me when I was ready to part with them during the decades.
Bertoia, without question, was an outstanding individual, and I consider myself to be truly blessed to have known him, and will forever be grateful to him for his friendship and kindness.
May he rest in peace. His wonderful life has left a positive impact on many, including myself.