John S. Sabatino, 71, An Architect And Artist

Posted: February 20, 2000

John S. Sabatino, 71, an architect who designed a number of churches and buildings for Catholic institutions in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, died Thursday after a brief illness at Pennsylvania Hospital.

Mr. Sabatino, a resident of Lower Gwynedd, started an architectural practice in Philadelphia in 1954.

His projects include Our Lady of Consolation Parish in the city's Tacony section, the St. Monica Church and Parish Center in Berwyn, the McShane Residence Hall and connecting pedestrian bridge at St. Joseph's University, the Josephine Connelly Fine Arts Building at the Academy of Notre Dame de Namur in Villanova, and the Performing Arts and Athletic Centers at the Villa Maria Academy in Malvern.

FOR THE RECORD - CLEARING THE RECORD, PUBLISHED FEBRUARY 21, 2000, FOLLOWS: Because of a production error, The Inquirer incorrectly reported in an obituary yesterday that John S. Sabatino died on Thursday. Mr. Sabatino passed away on Dec. 16, 1999.

Mr. Sabatino grew up South Philadelphia. He was a 1945 graduate of Southeast Catholic High School, now St. John Neumann High School. In 1951 he earned a degree in architecture from Drexel Institute of Technology.

The Sons of Italy Fountain of Trevi Lodge named him Italian American of the Year in 1960.

Mr. Sabatino studied watercolor painting in the 1960s but did not pursue his hobby seriously until 1974, his daughter Lisa Merlino said.

Over the years his works appeared in various local shows. Holy Family College exhibited his paintings in a show titled "The Architect as Artist" in 1986 and again in 1988 when the school's new College Center, which Mr. Sabatino designed, opened.

He received awards for his artwork, including the Grumbacher Gold Medal Award in 1987 and an honorable mention at the Susquehanna Art Society Exhibition in 1988.

In August, he opened an art gallery and studio in Conshohocken.

It was his "lifelong dream" to open the studio, Merlino said.

Mr. Sabatino was a member of the Philadelphia Chapter of the American Institute of Architects, the Philadelphia Water Color Club, the Philadelphia Art Alliance, the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Woodmere Art Museum, as well as an associate member of the American Watercolor Society.

He was a man who enjoyed talking to people, Merlino said.

"If he walked into a room full of strangers, he would walk out with three new friends," Merlino said.

Besides his daughter, he is survived by his wife, Judith; another daughter, Joan; a son, Craig; two stepsons, Chad Anzalone and Mark Neff; a stepdaughter, Amy Neff; a sister; two brothers; seven grandchildren; three step-grandchildren; and eight nieces and nephews.

Friends may call today from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. at the Cathedral Basilica of SS. Peter and Paul, 18th Street and the Parkway. A Funeral Mass will be said at 11 a.m. Burial will be in Holy Sepulchre Cemetery in Cheltenham.

The family suggests contributions to the building fund of Mr. Sabatino's last project - the Performing Arts and Technology Center at Ancillae-Assumpta Academy in Wyncote. Donations may be sent to Ancillae-Assumpta Academy Heritage Fund, 2025 Church Rd., Wyncote, Pa., 19095.

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