Obituary for Salvatore A. Certo
DR. SALVATORE A. CERTO. Dr. Certo, age 95, was home with family by his side when he passed peacefully in his sleep November 6, 2017. Born May 1, 1922, son of the late Louis and Mary (Antonucci) Certo. Survived by Patricia Maurer Certo, his loving wife of 64 years; his 14 children, Dr. Louis (the late Connie Cerra) Certo, Mary Pat (Peter) Wolff, Mary Ann (Louis) Marsico, Mary Lyn (Michael) Fieldhammer, John Michael Certo, Mary Sue (Daniel) Certo-Newcamp, Mary Jo (Terrence) Schmidt-Totten, Thomas (Susan) Certo, Mary Kathleen (Dennis) Blackwell, Esquire, Mary Christine (Robert) Kocent, Mary Ellen (Matthew) Oxenreiter, Mary Amy (Frank) Caligiuri, Mary Megan (Troy) Edwards, Dr. Mary Lori Certo-Rossetti; fifty grandchildren; eight great-grandchildren; his sisters Dr. Josephine Certo and Dr. Natalie Certo; his brother Peter Certo; and eight nieces and nephews.
A Bloomfield native, Dr. Certo was a graduate of Immaculate Conception Parish School, Central Catholic High School, the University of Pittsburgh, and Loyola University of Chicago School of Medicine. Unable to return home from war in a timely manner, Dr. Certo also studied at Biarritz American University while overseas.
Following his residency, Dr. Certo worked at Passavant, Divine Providence and Braddock Hospitals while at the same time remaining at St. Francis Medical Center for over 50 years, where his office building was two blocks from where he grew up. As a general surgeon, Dr. Certo was devoted to his profession and beloved by all those whom he cared for. Dr. Certo was known for his unassuming manner. It was not uncommon for patients to approach him on the street while he walked from his office to the hospital asking for his medical advice. After freely giving it, Dr. Certo would invite them to just stop by his office anytime and he would take a closer look. He had the classic black physician’s bag which he brought with him to many house calls for family, friends and neighbors. He also served as team physician for the Morningside Bulldogs and North Catholic High School football team where his sons played football. Dr. Certo served as Chief of Staff at St. Francis Hospital where countless interns and residents studied under his patient guidance. His son, Dr. Louis Certo, joined his practice in the 1980s. Together they pioneered the use of laser surgery in general surgical procedures at St. Francis. His daughter Dr. Mary Lori Certo-Rossetti also followed in his footsteps. Dr. Certo remained active in the medical field well into his 80’s working as a physician conducting military physical examinations for all branches of the military at the William S. Moorhead Federal Building in Pittsburgh.
Dr. Certo served on many boards of directors, including Allegheny Valley Bank and Wheeling Jesuit University. Additionally, Dr. Certo was a successful real estate developer, amongst many other business interests. He was also an accomplished painter whose work was featured in exhibitions of the Associated Artists of Pittsburgh as well as the Catholic Physician’s Guild.
A World War II veteran, Dr. Certo enlisted in the United States Army at the age of 20 because he felt the desire to serve his country. He served in the European Theater of Operations. Dr. Certo fought in Normandy, North France, Rhineland and Central Europe and received four bronze stars, the Good Conduct Medal, the Victory Medal and a Letter of Commendation for his extraordinary service to our country, exhibiting a high degree of devotion to duty, the performance of his duties, and his untiring efforts which contributed materially to the successful operation of the Photo Interpretation Team. Due to his knowledge of many languages, he worked with Military Intelligence as an interrogator questioning Prisoners of War. Dr. Certo was also among the American troops to liberate the prisoners at the Dachau concentration camp. Though he seldom spoke of the war, Dr. Certo confided in later years that his military service was among his greatest achievements, and stems from his sheer love and respect for this country, as well as his desire to fulfill the opportunities bought for him by the risks and sacrifices of generations preceding him. Dr. Certo is a member of what has been considered the “Greatest Generation”. Dr. Certo was honorably discharged from the United States Army on December 27, 1945 with the ranking of Staff Sargent.
Dr. Certo was a devout Roman Catholic throughout his life. As a child, he was a member of Immaculate Conception Parish (Bloomfield), and then as an adult at St. Edward’s Parish (Blawnox), and St. Mary of the Assumption Parish (Glenshaw). He was known by his great faith throughout his life. His high school yearbook noted “Sam” (his boyhood nickname) as “small in stature but big in spirituality as shown by his daily visits to the chapel”. Dr. Certo attended daily mass every day of his life. Dr. Certo was also a benevolent and generous contributor to countless charities. He had a perpetual dedication to the Blessed Mother and the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Dr. Certo also had a great affection for his own mother on whose birthday he went home to the Lord.
Dr. Certo was completely devoted and in love with his wife Patricia, a beautiful nurse he met at St. Francis Hospital, whom he called the source of all of his success, happiness and blessings.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations, in memorial of Dr. Salvatore A. Certo, be made to the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. www.stjude.org
Friends will be received at Kyper Funeral Home, Inc. 2702 Mt. Royal Blvd., Glenshaw, PA. 15116, on Thursday, November 9, 2017 from 2-4pm and 6-8pm.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at St. Mary of the Assumption Parish in Glenshaw, on Friday, November 10, 2017 at 11:30AM. Interment will immediately follow in St. Mary of the Assumption Cemetery.