A Creative Father

On my blog posts I have never mentioned my parents. They were both 1st generation immigrants from Italy. My father from the southern part of Italy and my mother from the northern part of Italy. They were both professional musicians and played in the Chicago Symphony. That is where they met. They were very proud Italians who worked very hard. They gave up their music careers to start and provide for a family. They owned an Italian Restaurant in Evanston, Illinois, Michelini’s Restaurant.

But today my blog is about my father. A very talented man. Today my nephew shared this link on an article about my father when he was inducted into Loyola Academy’s Hall of Fame a few years ago.

I remember these times so well when he would be carrying his camera to all of my brother’s football game. He would go to all of my brother’s football practices and every game. He always had his camera in tow. He was a true artist when it came to film. I think this article speaks for itself.

Athletic Hall of Fame – Member Profile

Mario Camastro

GENERAL NOMINATION, CAMERA MAN – Class of

Six days a week you would find him working at his restaurant, Michelini’s, on Foster and Maple in Evanston. At least until 8:30 p.m. when the customers were shooed out and the doors were closed, and it was time for his nightly steak and martini with his wife, Maria. But on Sunday afternoons, Mario Camastro was stationed at the top of a press box or, in a pinch, on the roof of a truck, his film camera aimed at the Loyola football Ramblers. Through scorching heat, through wind, through rain, or through snow, Mario was there. Tireless, reliable, committed, disciplined, generous – Mario was a prince of a man, a true friend to Loyola, its coaches, and its players. Mario actually began filming games at nearby St. George where his son, Paul, played for Coach Max Brunell and his two young assistants, Frank Amato and Tom Powers. With the announcement of the imminent closing of St. George, he enrolled his youngest son, Carl, in Loyola and volunteered his services to Bob Naughton and his staff. For thirteen years, he filmed the games, drove to the old shop at Ogden and Grove to have the film developed, then delivered it to the Loyola coaching staff. Mario demonstrated tremendous pride in his work, staying for the Monday film session to ensure the comprehensiveness of the films for the coaching staff. He never missed an assignment in those thirteen years, and never took a dollar for his work. Mario, at times, took considerable risks to film the game, once hazarding to stand on the roof of the Soldier Field press box amidst an ice and snow storm in order to the get the best shots of the action. And he did get the best shots. Mario worked hard to get it all right, to get the proper timing, the correct angle, the most helpful vision of the field. Tom Powers recalls more than one college recruiter taking the time to note that Loyola’s game films were easily the best in the Catholic League. Mario did more than film the games. He was there for people. Mario hosted pre-game meals for the team at his restaurant on Sunday mornings. He took care of underpaid and underfed coached and there wives with steak dinners on the house. Once, when St. George would not allow a post-season banquet for the football team, Mario hosted one himself after graduation. He was there for people. The coaches that depended on him remember Mario Camastro with admiration and fondness. Frank Amato recalls “a good-hearted man…a giver, not a taker” who was there the time Coach Amato had to get back to New York and his dying father, and didn’t have the plane fare to get there. Tom Powers knew him as a “loyal parent and a loyal friend, a genuine man, a true booster of the Academy and its players.” He was truly a Man for Others. Mario died suddenly in 1983 following heart surgery.

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  1. Don Dexter
    July 4, 2013 at 2:31 AM

    I worked for Mario in the late 70’s at Michellini’s. he was a prince. The Pollo Florentine wasn’t bad either.

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