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John Eugene Sensi, age 95, died Tuesday March 14, 2023 at the Hanna HealthCare Center in Oakmont. Born in Arnold, PA on October 11, 1927, John was the third child of Primo and Sperandia Sensi (Susta) who immigrated from Assisi in the Umbria region of Italy before (Primo) and after (Sperandia) the first World War. John was the first of his family born in the United States: his two older siblings, Angela and Ezio, immigrated with his mother. His parents impressed on him the importance of education, especially because theirs had been limited, and were thrilled when he wanted to go to college to study engineering following his graduation from Arnold High School in 1945. He attended the Carnegie Institute of Technology on the strength of his entrance exams, graduating in 1949 with a degree in Mechanical Engineering, then went to work for Brockway Glass Company in Brockway, PA. John was drafted into the Army near the end of the Korean War, and served his country for two years. After his discharge, he worked for the National Bureau of Standards in Washington, D.C. for 8 years. In 1958, John returned to Arnold to care for his aging parents and was employed by PPG Industries in their glass research lab for the next 35 years. In his long career as an engineer, he was granted 31 patents, mostly for inventions related to float glass processes. He was a member of Mt. St. Peter Roman Catholic Church for all of his 95 years, where he was a member of the Disciples of St. Vincent de Paul, and was a third and fourth-degree member of the Knights of Columbus.
John was generous, loyal, kind, intelligent, meticulous, thorough, and disciplined. He enjoyed gardening, raising vegetables and roses, cheering for the Steelers, Pirates, and Penguins, and making things. He did most home improvement projects himself, doing a better job than most professionals (or so said the inspectors...). He built his garage entirely by himself, as well as many pieces of furniture.
John met his wife, Carolyn Zajdel, when he was 45, sending her roses even before their first date, and taking her to the opera (dressed to the nines). He loved opera and classical music, especially the music of Giuseppe Verdi "because it has a good beat to it." He loved going to music and theater performances throughout his life, had a subscription to the Pittsburgh Symphony for years, and shared this love with his only daughter Maria, who became a professional conductor and founder of the Pittsburgh performing arts company Resonance Works. After not being able to go to anything for four years, he was thrilled to be able to see his daughter conduct Verdi’s Rigoletto last May, which would be the final performance he attended.
John took great care of people, especially his family and neighbors. He was a meticulous advocate for his brother Ezio through years of health challenges, and in their later years had nightly check-in calls with his niece Vera and neighbor Imogene, the latter who lived two houses away from him in Arnold for all of his 95 years. John was proud of his Italian heritage, was a night owl, liked taking pictures, and, until his retirement, could always be seen in a white dress shirt, jacket, tie, and steel-toe wing-tips. John loved his grand-dogs Remi (his best buddy) and Lucy, always requiring an additional small plate at holiday meals to prepare their tithe in perfect little bites.
He was determined to maintain as much strength and independence as he could, and worked hard in physical and occupational therapy to his last days.
He is preceded in death by his parents, sister Angela (Frank Longo), brother Ezio, and nieces Mary Farinelli (Joseph) and Elvira Ginocchi (Anthony). He is survived by his wife of 47 years Carolyn M. Sensi (Zajdel), daughter Maria Sensi Sellner (Brennan Sellner), five great-nieces, three great-nephews and their children from the Farinelli and Ginocchi families.
Friends will be received from 2-4 and 6-8 pm on Sunday March 26 at the Giunta-Bertucci Funeral Home, Inc., at 1509 Fifth Avenue in Arnold, JohnPaul Bertucci, Funeral Director/Supervisor. Prayers of transfer will take place at 9:30 am Monday March 27 in the funeral home, followed by a funeral mass at 10:00 am in Mt. St. Peter Roman Catholic Church, 100 Freeport Road, New Kensington. Burial will follow at Greenwood Memorial Park, Lower Burrell.
Memorial contributions in John’s memory may be made to the Mt. St. Peter Food Bank (100 Freeport Road, New Kensington, PA 15068) or to your favorite classical music non-profit.