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Stephen J. Pellegrine, 83, Altoona, passed away Wednesday at UPMC Altoona. He was born in Altoona, son of the late Umberto and Adella “Ida” (Marinucci) Pellegrine. On June 9, 1962 he married the love of his life, Theresa Balasco.
Steve graduated from Altoona High School in 1957 and was a member of the US 28th Infantry Division Band of the National Guard.
Steve was a self-taught sign painter. He started his lengthy career in Florida, where he learned to letter buildings, billboards and vehicles. It wasn’t long before he made his way to bending neon and installing massive signs on exterior structures. With the knowledge and experience he gained in Florida, he was able to move home to Altoona and start his own business, Pellegrine Signs. One of Steve’s first accounts was with Bob Sheetz. Together they worked on the design of the first Sheetz sign, which was built in Steve’s basement. Steve then went into business with Don Devorris, forming the partnership of Blair Sign Company, where Steve served as President and CEO. Blair Sign company manufactured, shipped and installed signs in nearly every mall across the country.
Steve’s love of painting started as a young boy, with a Spaghetti Dinner sign he made for his mother. Soon he was making signs for every birthday, anniversary and special occasion for his family and friends, as well as signs for the Mount Carmel Festival. Steve was an active member of Mount Carmel Church where he served on many committees, was a long standing member of the choir and served on the original founding committee that established the Festival. Steve loved working in his workshop where he built everything from rocking horses to life-size playhouses for his grandchildren - complete with furniture that he crafted of his own design. Steve was equally loyal and humble and those qualities were only outweighed by his sense of humor. He loved showing family and friends a good time. The annual trip to Ocean City, MD, a tradition that he started 50 years ago, will be carried on by his family for years to come, with Steve smiling down on the beach, boardwalk and family that he loved so very much.
Survived by his loving wife of 60 and 1/2 years, Theresa Pellegrine; daughters: April (Tim) Lloyd, Dawn Pellegrine, Adele (Scott) Salyards, all of Altoona and Stephanie (Rob) Thompson of Cresco; 10 grandchildren: Wendy (Joey Gannon) Lloyd, Amie Lloyd, Evan, Ashlea and Marina Shover, Andrew, Jenna and Julia Gonsman, Emma and Dillen Thompson; one great-grandchild, Elliot Lloyd; and many nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends that he considered family.
Steve was preceded in death by his siblings, Nick Pellegrine, Harry Pellegrine and Edith Venturato.
Friends will be received from 2 to 8 p.m. Monday, Feb. 20, 2023, at Santella Funeral Home; and from 9 to 11 a.m. Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2023, at the funeral home. A funeral Mass will follow visitation at 11:30 a.m. Tuesday at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Catholic Church.
We appreciate your contributions made in his memory. Donations made will go toward art camp scholarships for SAMA Altoona's summer art camp this July. Please use the following link to donate to The Stephen and Theresa Pellegrine Scholarship for Young Artists.
Stephen J. Pellegrine Scholarship Fund
1210-11th Ave. PO Box 3061, Altoona PA 16601