It’s been almost 7 months since beloved staff member Mark Piccolotto has passed, but his memory has been kept alive across the Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic District School Board.
Beginning his career in 1995 as a tradesman with the Board, Piccolotto was a fixture in the Thomas Mahoney building, known for his warm demeanor and dedication to his craft.
Over time, he would be known at Plant as the “Godfather.”
“He was passionate,” said one coworker, who wished to remain anonymous.
“He would go to battle every day with us, his guys.”
“If we needed an answer, we would often say, ‘what would the Godfather do?’ He was part of our family, he still is, and he would have our backs a million times over.”
To honour him, drivers at Plant displayed a giant number ‘one’ on the hood of their work vans.
“He drove van number one, so we put a number one on all of ours.”
This act of brotherhood speaks volumes to the connection Piccolotto had between those he worked closely with.
“He is a man that I always looked up at and hoped to emulate in some way. We have a lot of those guys in our department, but Mark was the pinnacle for me. To be so humble and wear his heart on his sleeve, is a lesson for all of us to live by.”
The only time you would hear him really talking, he added, was if it was about his family. “He was always sharing stories of his daughters and wife, and then of his new granddaughter. For all the listening and caring he always did, it was nice to listen to him brag for once.”
Recalling a time early on in his career, his coworker shared that even though Piccolotto was an established HVAC technician, he never acted superior, but instead was open to learning new tricks.
“I remember thinking, it’s amazing that he is so interested.... I’m just the new guy. It was crazy to me to think that I was teaching him something. This experienced man could have easily had no time for me, but instead stuck around to help, talk and ask questions about the job. He genuinely wanted to get to know me.”
“I came to realize over time that this was his true nature. Loving and caring and genuinely kinder than anyone. He always made you feel important.”
Whether an ear to listen to, or a soundboard for advice, he was there.
“He worked with the board for nearly 30 years, and it’s incredible to think of all the lives he touched... and some maybe still don’t even know it yet. But you were a better person for knowing him. I know I am. We all miss him incredibly, but we will take him and his spirit with us through all our days.”
So, the next time you see a Board van driving around with the number one proudly displayed on the front, think of Mark.
Think of the Godfather watching down on his family, at home and at work.