Dominic J. Cappelli Sr., of Glen Mills, PA, died from complications caused by Parkinson’s disease on Nov. 14, 2005. He was 79.
Mr. Cappelli was born on July 13, 1926, in West Philadelphia to Elizabeth (DeMarco) and Pietro Cappelli.
At 17, he joined the Navy. A member of a construction family (Mr. Cappelli’s grandfather and uncle founded DeMarco Construction Company, which specialized in quarry work), he served for three years during World War II with the Navy Seabees in China, the Philippines and Borneo. Mr. Cappelli’s 111th Construction Battalion was known as the “Dozer-Ridin’ sailors,” whose motto was, “There’s nothing they can’t do.” Mr. Cappelli continued using his construction skills throughout his civilian life.
After his discharge from the service in 1947, Mr. Cappelli worked for several contractors, eventually settling in with Swarthmore, PA-based Morrow Quarry Company. There, he operated every piece of equipment the company used, including cranes and dozers. This, as well as other construction skills, earned him a quick promotion to quarry superintendent. Mr. Cappelli also saw the construction boom approaching with returning WWII veterans’ migration into the suburbs. After consulting with Morrow’s owner. Mr. Cappelli expanded the business by creating Morrow Construction Company, a firm that would eventually grow into the second largest construction company in Delaware County, PA.
At 27 years old, Mr. Cappelli decided to go into business for himself and with his brother, Joe, he founded D&J Cappelli Inc. Mr. Cappelli’s home in Springfield, PA, served as the company’s headquarters. (They kept their equipment on a lot in Ridley Township, PA.)
In addition to D&J Cappelli Inc., Mr. Cappelli also founded Cappelli Excavating Company and Earth Products Inc.
Mr. Cappelli was a founding member of the Suburban Contractors Association of Pennsylvania. He also was a member of UNICO International, Sons of Italy and Local 542, the Operating Engineers Union. He was the former owner of the Fox Valley Inn Restaurant and the Alpine Inn Restaurant, and was a parishioner of St. Thomas Catholic Church in Chester Heights. The Columbus Memorial Association of Delaware County declared him “Man of the Year” on Oct. 8, 2000.
Not only was Mr. Cappelli a hard-working man, but he also was a generous one. Those in need only had to ask and D&J Cappelli Inc. was there to help, whether it was St. Thomas Church, Brandywine Youth Club or even local municipalities like Chester Heights Borough, and the Township of Concord.
Mr. Cappelli’s hobbies were work and horses, which led him to build a small stable for his children’s ponies. His five children all became good riders and entered numerous horse shows in the Tri-State area, winning many ribbons and trophies in both English and Western classes.
Mr. Cappelli is survived by his wife of 58 years, Palma (nee Brancaleoni); his children, Elizabeth Haase; Dominic Jr.; Peter; Richard; and Joseph C.; 11 grandchildren; sisters, Marie Castellano and Sister Theresa Cappelli; and brother, Joseph F. Cappelli. Memorial contributions may be made to the Parkinson Disease and Movement Disorder Center, Lewis House, First Floor, Medical Center Blvd., Upland, PA 19013.