PORTLAND – Nicholas Mancini Sr., former longtime owner and president of Portland Sand & Gravel, Inc., who produced materials for many landmark projects across southern Maine, died Friday. He was 92.
Mr. Mancini worked in the sand and gravel business for more than 65 years. He attended Portland schools, but never graduated from high school. Around age 15, he went to work with his father and learned the business.
Mr. Mancini founded Portland Sand & Gravel in the 1960s. Soon after, his sons Anthony Mancini and Nicholas Mancini Jr. joined him in the family business. He worked in all aspects of the business from loading trucks to maintaining its crushers.
During his career, he constructed four gravel plants, which produced up to 12 different products of material. The two he constructed for Portland Sand & Gravel are located in Cumberland and Gray.
His son Anthony Mancini, now president of the company, said his father produced the materials for many notable projects, including the Tukey’s Bridge interchange, the Cumberland County Civic Center, Franklin Towers and the Central Maine Power plant on Cousins Island. The company also supplied materials to many businesses across southern Maine.
Mr. Mancini retired at age 80 when his health began to decline. The younger Mancini, who worked with his father for more than 50 years, choked up Monday recalling his last day of work.
“We were watching him climb down the five or six steps of his loader and I helped him off the machine,” his son recalled. “My father said, ‘This is it. My back is bothering me so much. I can’t work anymore.’ The same thing is happening to me now. I’m 72 years old and I love the business.”
Even after retiring, Mr. Mancini was there to help his son operate the business.
“He knew everything about the gravel business,” his son said. “It was in his blood.”
For many years, Mr. Mancini lived in Portland’s Munjoy Hill neighborhood with his wife, Mary Mancini. They were married for 60 years and raised four sons.
His son said he was a good father, who worked hard and made many sacrifices to provide for his family.
“His days were long, but when he came home at night he would spend time with us,” his son said. “He was very dedicated to his (family).”
Mr. Mancini enjoyed playing pool and cards and was an avid hunter in his early years. He also enjoyed spending time with friends at the Columbia Social & Athletic Club and the Paul Malia Post. His son said he looked forward to Sunday dinners with his children and grandchildren.
Mancini said he admired his father’s work ethic and his dedication to family.
“I’m having a really tough time,” his son said, as he stared out a window that overlooks his sand and gravel operation. “It brings back a lot of memories.”
Staff Writer Melanie Creamer can be contacted at 791-6361 or at: