Centenarian Art Di Stasi Was Ultimate Craftsman
ALLENDALE, N.J., June 5, 2014 – The proverbial expression “like father, like son” rings true when describing Art and Bob Di Stasi. A mutual love of craftsmanship and design that began in the Di Stasi’s backyard more than 60 years ago continues bonding father and son today.
Often referred to as the “ultimate tinkerer” by his family and friends, 99-year-old Art Di Stasi is a resident at The Atrium at The Allendale Community for Senior Living. An avid flyer who became fascinated with flight at a young age, Art Di Stasi is retired from a 70-plus year career as a senior design and skills engineer in the aeronautics industry. At the age of 94, he even learned to fly a helicopter for the first time.
“I grew up watching my father tinker and build different things,” said Bob Di Stasi, a resident of Schenectady, N.Y. “When I was a child we built an airplane together made out of plywood and fabric. Dad built two homes by himself, along with many scale model planes and toy boats. He was a true engineering pioneer and much of what he created stemmed from his love of airplanes.” In the early 1950s, the elder Di Stasi even engineered a fully functional backyard merry-go-round made from discarded World War II airplane drop fuel tanks.
Carrying on the family tradition, Bob Di Stasi built several airplane “carts,” which he proudly displayed for The Atrium residents and staff members. “I wanted to surprise my father, and he really was fascinated by what I had done. Building these carts was a form of relaxation for me, but really it was about paying homage to my dad. I only intended to make one but got carried away and ended up making six more. I guess you can say my father’s creativity rubbed off on me,” Bob Di Stasi said.
Learning the skilled trades from his father was an influencing factor in Bob Di Stasi’s life. He credits his father with instilling in him a love of craftsmanship and a “make it right” work ethic. “My father has had an amazing life, and is quick to remember many of the older memories, especially those related to aviation,” said Bob Di Stasi. “We always say my dad should have been a bird. Flying was both his hobby and his career, and remains a big part of who he is today.”
In August, Art Di Stasi plans to attend the annual Greenwood Lake Air Show with his daughter, Linda Schweighardt. A constant presence in her father’s life, Schweighardt regularly coordinates many of Art Di Stasi’s social activities outside of The Allendale Community. “Dad used to take us to air shows when we were little and now the reverse is happening. We continue this tradition because he still loves to attend air shows and aircraft exhibits.”
The Allendale Community for Senior Living is located at 85 Harreton Road in Allendale (GPS: 65 Route 17 South, Ramsey). Developed in stages beginning in 1967, The Allendale Community pioneered modern-day eldercare. For more information, call (201) 825-0660 or visit www.allendalecommunity.com .