Pittsburgh Home and Garden Show Owner John DeSantis Dies of Cancer at 69

Thumbnail Desantis John L 2022

Photograph Presented BY SLATER FUNERAL Provider

On New Year’s Working day, Pittsburgh lost a preservationist icon.

Longtime preservationist and activist John DeSantis died Saturday at 69, according to his son Mark Moore, who reported his father died of mind cancer. 

DeSantis was the creator and executive director of Pittsburgh’s Residence and Backyard garden Demonstrate, which he begun in the early 1980s. The celebration grew each and every yr, and promptly grew to become a neighborhood staple for the tens of countless numbers from the city and over and above who visited the David L. Lawrence Conference Centre. The show was the recently minted conference center’s very first tenant, and the very first demonstrate in 1982 attracted some 32,000 site visitors and 84 exhibitors in 131 booths.

It wasn’t generally quick. According to the Write-up-Gazette, the 1st Property and Yard Present was regarded as a excellent accomplishment by the community and media alike, but not to the florists and builders. Because of to an undervalue of labor expenses, they missing approximately $30,000 and fired the man they hired to operate the show. DeSantis then stepped in, volunteering to operate it without having shell out. 

When it lost twice as much funds the subsequent year, DeSantis fronted the invoice of $98,000. In its third 12 months, the demonstrate broke even, and by the late 1980s, enterprise was booming.

It now addresses 10 acres and draws additional than 350,000 website visitors above 10 times. According to the Tribune Overview, the display normally attributes additional than 1,800 exhibitors. It retains the title of the major house clearly show in the commonwealth.

Even just after DeSantis’ dying, the demonstrate need to go on — his son will go on the custom for decades to come. Moore informed KDKA that this year’s present will open as predicted in March.

DeSantis was also very well recognised for his work revitalizing the North Side in the 1970s and 80s, particularly with regards to the then-deteriorating Allegheny West part, which he would later on nominate as a metropolis historic district.

In 1990, he was appointed by Mayor Sophie Masloff to lead the city’s Historic Evaluate Commission right until he stepped down in 2003. 

For the duration of his time there, the range of city-specified historic districts grew from five to 12: Current market Sq., Manchester, Mexican War Streets, Penn Liberty, Schenley Farms, Allegheny West, East Carson Street, Oakland Civic Middle, Deutschtown, Allegheny Commons, Alpha Terrace and Murray Hill Avenue. 

DeSantis is survived by his son and grandchildren. Slater Funeral Assistance is dealing with the preparations.