Ferrucio Bier, R.I.P.

Although most of you probably didn’t know Ferrucio, he’s been one of my heroes.

If you’ve been in Dayton, you’ve probably walked on his handiwork at some time. He was a floor guy- marble, tile and the dying trade of terrazzo floors. He helped lay the floor at the Sears downtown, as well as countless others. I’m not sure right now if he was born in Italy or here – but, he was the case study example of the American Dream. Work hard, do the right thing, and raise your kids right.

He also was a community activist, fighting a huge housing development near his home. Not too long ago we took a spin around the roads to nowhere that were built in the midst of the housing boom. We’d have been better off without that sprawl.

I met him through his kids; Angie, Gina, Christine and Dominic. If it had not been for Dominic, I’d say he treated me like the son he never had. We used to go to lunch and talk about trying to solve Dayton’s problems. He was a pragmatist, I always liked how he could simplify the big things into simple answers.

As amazing as he was with his hands, he used to have a constant battle with his computer. The family joke was if I was about to get a free dinner every time he’d be having computer problems- as that was the trade for the service call.

If you’ve been in my house, the light over the kitchen sink- which came from a hotel that was being demolished in Cincinnati, was rescued from his warehouse on Brandt Pike. When I’d finished reworking it- and he saw it for the first time, with neon and halogen lights- he cursed himself for selling it to me, but quickly said- he’d never have thought to modify it like I had.

He’s been retired from the floor business for some time. His “new job” was watching his grandkids 3 days a week. He took it very seriously. It kept him busy enough that he didn’t have as much time to screw up the computer, which cut down on my gnocchi dinners at his house.

He had a very fast onset of lung cancer, probably caused by his exposure to asbestos over the years in the trades. I’m pretty sure it wasn’t how he wanted to go- sedated, on a ventilator, after getting pneumonia after doctors had removed a lung, but, then again, how do any of us want to go?

He’ll be missed, as will the gnocchi.

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