WESTBROOK — John Pizzo asked for only the simple things in life.

“He was always wanting to be happy and make other people happy and see people happy,” said his daughter Elizabeth Pizzo.

Mr. Pizzo died Monday. He was 73.

When he turned 18, Mr. Pizzo began working for Tally’s Wholesale Tobacco. He worked there for more than 50 years, as a salesman.

“He knew everyone,” his daughter said. “From the guy in the local corner store to the guy at the laundromat.”

Mr. Pizzo came from a big family — he had four brothers and three sisters. With his siblings, children and grandchildren living throughout southern Maine, the family got together for dinners and cookouts quite often, his daughter said.

“Just spending time together” was something he enjoyed, she said, whether it was for dinner or someone’s birthday.

Mr. Pizzo and his wife, Diane, celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary three years ago.

“We rented a limo for them,” his daughter said, and took them to Maria’s restaurant in Portland. “He was just so happy.”

The couple met at a Halloween dance through Mr. Pizzo’s cousin. His daughter remembers her parents saying how he was wearing white pants and blue suede shoes; she was in a poodle skirt.

“It’s amazing nowadays to see someone stay together. Ups and downs, but 53 years is a long time,” she said.

Besides working and enjoying time with his family, Mr. Pizzo took great pleasure in golfing and gardening. For many years, he played on Sundays at South Portland’s municipal golf course and in a seniors league. One of his grandsons had a chance to golf with him this summer, his daughter said.

When it came to gardening, “He could grow anything,” she said, remembering how he left her a plant of rosemary growing from a ceramic pot in the shape of “the blessed Mother.”

The plant was a little surprise that Mr. Pizzo left his daughter after he checked in on her cats while she was gone. When she traveled for work, he would stop in, feed the cats, watch television and often leave her notes.

While the family always had cats as pets, Mr. Pizzo decided to buy Buddy, a Yorkshire terrier, as a present for his wife about five years ago.

“He bought that dog as a gift for my mom for her birthday. The dog has been at my father’s side ever since,” his daughter said.

He took Buddy for walks every morning and the dog became his co-pilot over the years.

“He really loved that dog,” she said. “It was simple. He just wanted to have joy for everyone.”

 

Staff Writer Emma Bouthillette can be contacted at 791-6325 or at: [email protected]