By Karen Andrew
The Cincinnati Enquirer
At the age of five, Guido R. DiMarco Jr. was already learning the family business alongside his great-grandmother, grandparents, mother, aunt and uncle.
As owners of Scotti's Restaurant in downtown Cincinnati, they taught Guido how to prepare southern Italian cooking. By the time he was in high school, he was already helping manage Scotti's.
Mr. DiMarco died Tuesday at Mercy-Franciscan Hospital, Mount Airy. The White Oak resident was 72.
Born in 1931 to Tenerina and Guido DiMarco of Cincinnati, he grew up in Mount Auburn and graduated from Purcell High School in 1949.
He attended the University of Cincinnati School of Business for three years, but did not complete his degree due to military service.
As an Army reservist, he was activated during the Korean War and stationed in Germany from 1952-54. When Mr. DiMarco returned to Cincinnati, he managed the restaurant.
In 1962, he traveled to southern Italy to visit family and met Teresa Scoleri. They were married in 1963.
According to his son, Guido III of White Oak, Mr. DiMarco had an amazing memory and often took orders from 40-50 customers without writing down a single word. He specialized in creating blanket dinners - up to eight courses - including such dishes as osso bucco, eggplant rustican and breaded loins of veal stuffed with shrimp.
In addition to his cooking, Mr. DiMarco was a musician and artist. He learned the saxophone, flute and trombone and played in the high school marching band. He taught himself to make furniture and built desks, cabinets and wardrobes.
But he is best known for his artistic flair with tiles of all shapes, colors and sizes, which covered every possible surface in the restaurant (and his basement at home).
His son thinks Mr. DiMarco began the tiling to resolve an annual painting problem.
"Every year we had to take everything off the walls and paint them. The candles darkened them," said his son. "So we'd go to tile places in Northside and he'd ask for the chipped and broken tile."
He soon covered all the restaurant walls with colorful tiles.
"His sometimes flamboyant, often obscure, but always unique style of laying tile became his trademark," said his son.
Since Mr. DiMarco didn't write anything down, he'd have the customers "confess" what they ate and he'd ring it up on the register. He had a sign posted at the register that read, "Confession Booth."
Semi-retired after a 1998 quadruple-bypass surgery, he stopped in the restaurant once or twice a week to socialize and work on the books.
"Customers were family," said Guido DiMarco III. "That was my parents' social life."
Survivors include his wife of 40 years; two other sons, Marco and Pasquale, and a daughter, Tenerina, all of White Oak; six grandchildren and one great-grandchild.
Visitation will be 2-6 p.m. today at Miller-Busse and Borgmann Funeral Home, 3464 Central Parkway, Clifton. Mass of Christian burial will be Monday at 10 a.m. at St. Therese The Little Flower Church, 5560 Kirby Road, Mount Airy.
Memorials: American Heart Association, 2936 Vernon Place, Cincinnati 45219-2433.
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