Charles G. Mortale, 78, ceramic tile, terrazzo contractor

September 24, 1997|By Fred Rasmussen | Fred Rasmussen,SUN STAFF

Charles G. Mortale, a retired ceramic tile and terrazzo contractor who was known for his high-quality workmanship, died Friday at Gilchrist Center for Hospice Care in Towson of complications from diabetes and renal failure. He was 78.

After World War II, the Timonium resident joined Pete Profili & Co. Inc., a Baltimore commercial marble, ceramic tile and terrazzo flooring contractor.

Mr. Mortale retired as co-owner, vice president and treasurer in 1986.

The company was founded in 1934 and sold in 1992.

Profili installed the terrazzo, tile and marble floors in the Roman Catholic Cathedral of Mary Our Queen, St. Mary's Seminary chapel in Roland Park, Loyola High School at Blakefield, The Baltimore Sun building and hundreds of other office buildings, schools, churches, rectories and shopping centers on the East Coast.

"It's hard work, it's bull work, but Charles loved the challenge," his brother-in-law, Gene Profili of Perry Hall, said yesterday.

Mr. Profili owned the firm and is now retired.

"He was very handy, and when he started with us he picked it up fast," Mr. Profili said. "He used his talents and always seemed to derive a great deal of satisfaction from his work."

Mr. Mortale was tenacious, family members said, and seemed to be made for the profession, where long hours are routine.

"He certainly personified the work ethic," said a daughter, Marilyn Eben of Abingdon. "He was up and out of the house early each day, and he didn't return home until he was satisfied with the work."

Mr. Profili added, "Charles brought integrity to his work and wouldn't put up with any inferior work. If it was wrong, he ordered it torn out and redone."

Family members said Mr. Mortale got lasting satisfaction from the work the company did on the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen, 5200 N. Charles St.

"Whenever people came to town to visit, he'd show them the cathedral," said another daughter, Kathy Ayres of Ellicott City. "He was so proud of those floors."

Mrs. Eben said her father had a strong will.

"He was a hard-core Italian father who was very headstrong and at times had a short fuse," she said, laughing. "It was his way or the highway."

Proud of his Italian heritage, Mr. Mortale enjoyed entertaining and cooking, often treating guests to dishes made with vegetables that he grew in his garden.

"He particularly enjoyed carefully raising his tomatoes, which he later reduced to a fine sauce, and his fig trees," Mrs. Ayres said.

Mr. Mortale, who answered to the name "Harry" and addressed others by that name, was a past president of the Towson-Dulaney Lodge of the Sons of Italy and helped it establish a college scholarship.

Born and raised in Des Moines, Iowa, the son of immigrant parents, Mr. Mortale was educated in schools there and moved to Baltimore in 1938 to work at Glenn L. Martin Co. in Middle River.

In 1942, he married Jeannie Profili, who died in 1992.

He served in the Navy during World War II and was discharged with the rank of yeoman.

Mr. Mortale loved boating, relatives said, and enjoyed visits to family cabins on a lake in Minnesota and on Tilghman Island.

A Mass of Christian burial was offered yesterday at the Roman Catholic Church of the Nativity in Timonium, where he was a communicant.

Other survivors include a brother, Anthony Mortale of Des Moines; two sisters, Josephine Scigliano of Des Moines and Julia Turner of Walker, Minn.; five grandchildren; two great-grandchildren; and a special friend, Elsie David of Baltimore.

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Pub Date: 9/24/97

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