David Maas, 83, longtime contractor

Posted: August 21, 2012

IF YOU DID much walking around Southwest Philadelphia over the past few decades, you probably stepped on the work of David Maas.

David, a contractor in Philly for more than 50 years, put in countless sidewalks, steps and driveways throughout Southwest Philadelphia in the 1950s and 1960s.

But he was also a skilled carpenter, plumber and electrician, not to mention a fine cook and banquet organizer.

David Maas, who originally was from the 18th Street and Snyder Avenue neighborhood of South Philadelphia, died Sunday of heart failure. He was 83 and lived in Aldan, Delaware County.

Besides his block, brick and cement work on Philly streets, David was a well-known and well-liked figure at the Food Distribution Center in South Philly where merchants, especially at the Fish Market, frequently called upon his expertise as a carpenter, plumber and electrician.

A former resident of Yeadon, Delaware County, David moved to Aldan about 20 years ago. His father, David Maas, had been a well-known contractor and was active in the Republican Party in Philadelphia in the 1930s and 1940s.

For many years Dave also worked on weekends as the primary cook and on-site banquet organizer for Uries Catering, a widely known restaurant and food business in Philadelphia and South Jersey. He cooked for events throughout the region.

He retired from his contracting business about 15 years ago but remained active as a metals "scrapper" until just two weeks ago. He bought - and often was given - air conditioners, motors and machines, which he would then strip down for their copper, aluminum and other metals to be sold to area metal dealers.

It was common to see him sitting in his yard in Aldan sorting metals into various buckets.

Dave was a dedicated gardener who planted much of his yard in corn, tomatoes and other vegetables, giving most of it away to family and friends. For a few years he even planted several rows of corn on some vacant ground next to a building he serviced at the Food Distribution Center.

He was a strong supporter of the annual Arbor Day in his community. An avid sportsman, he loved to fish and crab out of Cape May and Wildwood, and for many years hunted small game and deer in upstate Pennsylvania.

In his leisure time at home he enjoyed caring for his dogs and watching World War II documentaries and John Wayne movies.

In his younger years when Dave was starting his business, he made extra money by working the night shifts as a driver for the Yellow Cab Co. and ferrying vehicles from Philadelphia to the Midwest for the Wolfington Body Co.

Though he had heart problems and other ailments in recent years, he remained physically active.

For two years in the 1950s he was a member of the Marine Corps Reserve.

He is survived by his wife, the former Mary DiMatteo; a sister, Joan Lorman; stepdaughters Monica and Michele; and a stepson, Mark. He was predeceased by another stepson, Michael; his former wife, Doris, and two sisters, Anna Shepherd and Marie Nicholson.

There will be no funeral services.

Contact John F. Morrison at morrisj@phillynews.com or 215-854-5573.

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