Buffalo Mason Lives by Old World Work Ethic
By Jane Kwiatowski, News Staff Reporter
The Buffalo News June 1, 2008
Master 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?
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