- On December 11, 2020
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Oreste “Rusty” Carioli (72) died December 8, surrounded by love in a room decorated with memorabilia from his beloved Pittsburgh sports teams, including a jersey signed by Mario Lemieux and a personal note from Penguins CEO David Morehouse delivered in recognition of his brain cancer diagnosis. Rusty was a son of Ambridge, Pennsylvania, graduated from Edinboro State University in 1970, and married his high-school sweetheart Cyndie Gideon. This past November 28, the couple celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary as friends in cars drove by to visit the pair at their memorial bench in Mt. Lebanon.
In December, 1970, Rusty enlisted in the U.S. Air Force and was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant, with assignments at Craig AF (Selma, AL), Keesler AF (Biloxi, MS), and Selfridge ANG (Mt. Clemons, MI) bases before being honorably discharged in 1973.
In 1973, the Cariolis moved to Philadelphia (job related) and raised three children — two sons, Carly and Paco, and a daughter, Tia — before moving back to Pittsburgh in the 1990s. Rusty spent his professional career working for a single employer—the Social Security Administration, from which he retired last February after 48 years of service. In Philadelphia, Rusty was known as an avid softball player and soul-music collector who moonlighted as a wedding and party DJ under the name “Rocky the Disc Jockey.” He took the family on trips to Cape Kennedy to witness space shuttle launches and once built a spaceship in the family’s basement — out of cardboard, duct tape, and his old flight helmet — complete with a two-hour mission-simulation recording, which became a field-trip destination for local school children. He was an early adopter of home computing, and one of his illustrations — created on an Apple IIe — was published in the 1980s in the Philadelphia Inquirer. He instilled in his children a love of music, newspapers, education, and technology — and they grew up to become a rock critic, a schoolteacher, and a software project manager, so mission accomplished.
Back in the Pittsburgh area, at the age of 45, Rusty surprised friends and family by taking up long-distance running. Beginning with the Pittsburgh Marathon in 1993, he completed 25 marathons over the next 23 years, including the Boston Marathon in 2008. At age 70, he biked the Great Allegheny Passage from Washington, DC to Pittsburgh, a distance of over 360 miles, alone. But running was his religion, and he continued to run after being diagnosed in June with a rare, aggressive, incurable brainstem tumor.
He is survived by his wife, Cyndie (Gideon); son Paco and grandchildren Luca and Gianna of Canonsburg; son Carly and his wife Kate and grandchildren Kaia, Liliana, and Margot of Arlington, Massachusetts; daughter Tia and her husband Erich Roehre of Somerville, Massachusetts; cousin Margie (Carioli) Clark, of Aliquippa and his black and gold Chevrolet Camaro convertible, which he nicknamed the Camarioli. He was preceded by his mother, Elizabeth “Betty” (Syco) and father, Francis Carioli, of Ambridge.
In lieu of cards, flowers, etc., please consider making a tax-deductible donation ($5 recommended) to Rusty & Cyndie’s ACS ‘Relay for Life’ Team, CANCER CRUSHERS: http://main.acsevents.org/goto/CCarioli