Joe DiMario

Joe DiMario, a fixture at the Second Street Starbucks up the block from his home, and at Long Beach State Dirtbags games at Blair Field, died suddenly Monday, June 4, at his home from a heart attack. He was 72.

DiMario was a construction worker and contractor for more than 45 years, building high rises in Orange and LA counties, hotels in Midland, Texas, many homes and the Yuma, Ariz., border crossing. He always returned to his home on Corona Avenue in Belmont Shore, though.

"Most important, (he was a) builder of bridges between and among people," his wife, Linda, wrote. "Kevin Bacon may operate at six degrees of separation. Joe operated at two degrees… He always knew someone who knew someone or through a common interest or experience, a connection would be revealed. He was never a stranger and he never met a stranger."

DiMario helped tend the grounds at Blair Field in the late 1980s and 1990s as an expression of his love for Long Beach and the Dirtbags baseball team. Linda DiMario said she and Joe traveled the country, going to games where former Dirtbags were playing.

In perhaps the most symbolic of gestures, Joe and Linda DiMario were married at home plate at Blair Field, with 900 or so of his closest friends in attendance, including then-Congressman Steve Horn and Mayor Beverly O'Neill.

Linda said Joe was the unofficial mayor of Corona Avenue, knowing every neighbor from Second Street to Ocean Boulevard. He watched homes when people were gone, alerted neighbors to move the car on street-sweeping day and hosted many impromptu parties on his patio.

"He was a genuinely good human being who touched thousands of lives in his lifetime," Linda wrote. "His death is a great loss to family, friends and those who knew him.

Joe leaves behind his life partner, Linda, two sons and grandson Gavin.

A memorial service is scheduled for 10 a.m. Saturday, June 16, at McKenzie Mortuary, 3843 E. Anaheim St. A reception will follow at 204 Third St. in Seal Beach.

—Harry Saltzgaver

Harry has been executive editor of Gazette Newspapers for more than 26 years. He has been in the newspaper business for more than 35 years, with experience on both weekly and metropolitan daily papers in Colorado and California.

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