Rosolino D'Agostino: Buffalo Mason Lives by Old World Work Ethic

Buffalo Mason Lives by Old World Work Ethic

By Jane Kwiatowski, News Staff Reporter
The Buffalo News June 1, 2008

Photo Credit: Sharon Cantillon/Buffalo NewsMaster mason Rosolino D’Agostino cannot stay retired. At age 68, this native Sicilian has built a portfolio of excellence in his trade, constructing sidewalks, driveways, basements from brick, block, concrete — not to mention some towering chimneys. During 50 years in the business — most recently with BRD Construction — this old world gentleman has left his mark on many well-known structures including Graycliff, Frank Lloyd Wright’s estate on the lake.

Photo Credit: Sharon Cantillon / Buffalo News

“Even when I’m sick, I go to work. I don’t want to miss a day because I’m happy when I work.”

PT: Tell me about your masterpieces.
RD: I did a good job at Graycliff, hundreds and hundreds of limestones. As we took the stones down, we numbered each one, and then — one by one — we put them back all the way up 60 feet. And then I did another fireplace in Ellicottville, 33 feet tall.
PT: How does one achieve the title of master mason?
RD: I work my life in construction. I can do everything, not just brick and block and stone. I started in Sicily when I was 17 years old. I worked there for 10 years and then I went to Switzerland.
PT: What brought you here?
RD: An American girl came to Italy and we met and we married. She brought me here. We stayed together six years, had one baby boy, and we divorced. Then I met Maria.
PT: What makes you a master mason?
RD: A good brain. I like construction. That’s why I work it for 50 years. It’s a good job and I make good money. Anywhere I go, I can find a job. People see your work and they call you.
PT: What is your specialty?
RD: Stone.
PT: I bet you don’t call in sick very much.
RD: Never. Even when I’m sick, I go to work. I don’t want to miss a day because I’m happy when I work. I also must make money for my son and wife.
PT: What’s the last thing you bought for yourself?
RD: A watch, and then the company gave me a present at Salvatore’s when I retired. They gave me
a watch, too. PT: What do you do for fun?
RD: Go tango dancing with my wife at Salvatore’s.
PT: What kind of music do you like?
RD: Classical, Pavarotti. I like Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin.
PT: How do you take care of yourself?
RD: I eat good, that’s all: pasta, meat, vegetables. I have a good heart, and I make my own wine — merlot and Chianti.
PT: On the job, what could you not do without?
RD: A good helper, especially if he makes a good mortar.
PT: That’s the secret?
RD: Yes. If you don’t mix a good mortar, the job won’t be good. Cement and sand, the mixture varies from job to job. Fifty to 70 degrees is the best temperature to mix mortar.
PT: How many times have you been back to Italy?
RD: Five times in 25 years.
PT: Where do you get all your energy?
RD: God gave it to me.

Photo Credit: Cliff Whitman

Photo Credit: S J Eck