Mario “Hammer” Borgatello passed away peacefully on August 15, 2013, at the age of 95.
He was born on April 18, 1918, in Santa Barbara, California, and was the youngest of five children born to Josephine and Secundo Borgatello. He graduated from Santa Barbara High School, Class of 1936. Mario and his buddies attended many dances in the Santa Ynez Valley, where he met the “love of his life,” Peggy Saulsbury. He would come up from Santa Barbara every weekend just to dance with Peggy. After dancing their hearts out, they decided to marry in September 1941 at St. Joan of Arc Catholic Church in Las Vegas, Nevada. Mario and his wife settled into a simple, but beautiful life together in Montecito, California, where they raised their two beloved sons, David and Mario.
Mario and Peggy continued to make weekend trips to the Santa Ynez Valley, tending to their ranch where he raised corn, fruits and vegetables for the family to enjoy! He also enjoyed many fishing trips to the High Sierra and driving to Las Vegas to try his luck at the tables.
The value of hard work was instilled in Mario by his parents from a very young age. Mario’s father passed away when he was 6 months old, leaving his mother to raise five young children by herself. The young family was hard working and resourceful in their efforts to support themselves, which led to the creation of a small trash company.
After graduating from high school, Mario went to work full time picking up trash in Montecito. Later, along with his two sons, Mario would create what is now known as MarBorg Industries. He felt tremendous pride in his small company and loved to watch his sons and numerous grandchildren carry on his passion and commitment to hard, honest work. His dedication to MarBorg was felt by numerous employees both past and present who affectionately referred to him as “Papa Mario.” He continued to make his daily rounds at the facility; his last day being this past Monday, August 12.
Community involvement was an important part of Mario’s life. He joined the Knights of Columbus (Council 1684) at the age of 18 and was an active member until his passing. Additionally, he was involved in the Santa Barbara Catholic High Booster Club, Montecito Lions Club, Meals on Wheels and the Poor Clares Monastery monthly adoration. He was generous with his time and gave much to the community he loved.
Mario was a devoted and committed Catholic, who lived his life reflecting the values of faith, honestly and humility. He was deeply involved in the formation and development of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church. As a young man, he was an altar server at the first Mass celebrated in the church in 1936. Mario and his wife, Peggy, were active parishioners of Mount Carmel and found many beloved friends in this community.
Close to Mario’s heart was his loving family. He led his family with strong values and a commitment to each other. His legacy will live on through his two sons, David (Louise) and Mario (Judy), sisters Laura and Ida Borgatello, Augusta Borgatello Lord (son Denny (Laura) Lord), sisters-in-law Nancy Barnett (Richard), Martha Saulsbury, Lynette Saulsbury, and brother-in-law James Saulsbury (Darlene). He was blessed with seven grandchildren who affectionately called him “Papa” and 21 great-grandchildren, numerous nieces and nephews, and his canine pal, Bodie.
Mario was preceded in death by his parents, Josephine and Secundo Borgatello, wife Peggy, brother Charles A. Borgatello, and many other dear friends.
The Borgatello family would like to express their deep appreciation to Dr. Roger Dunham and Dr. Joe Ilvento for their loving attention and concern for the well-being of Mario. Additionally, the nursing staff at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital who provided such comfort, dignity and care in his final days. A special heartfelt thanks to Mary Martinez (Mario’s caregiver), who cared for him with much love and kindness. Her efforts to bring continued joy through trips to the “Chumash” will be forever appreciated.
A rosary will be held at 4 p.m. Sunday, August 18, at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Catholic Church, 1300 East Valley Road in Montecito, with a funeral Mass at 10 a.m. Monday, August 19, at the church. Burial will follow at Calvary Cemetery, 199 N. Hope Ave. in Santa Barbara.
Arrangements are by Welch-Ryce-Haider Funeral Chapels.