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Behr's Funeral Home

1491 Main Street
(563) 582-3297
Dubuque, IA 52001
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Memories & Candles

“The last time I went to Mario's, Tonio rolled out the red carpet for me. I was doing an article for a food forum. Tonio gave me the grand tour of...Read More »
1 of 29 | Posted by: -Steve Vasquez - Des Moines, IA

“Both Jeff and I have fond memories of Mario-Spending alot of time there, during our Walsh StoreLunch hours, or Supper hours. Mario was always the...Read More »
2 of 29 | Posted by: Ann and Jeff Liddle - Dubuque, IA

“ to the family of Mario Bertolini."He's still around. He'll always be around, just out of reach,...Read More »
3 of 29 | Posted by: mark Russo - IOWA CITY, IA

“I owe my business drive and determination to you big guy. You treated me as a son teaching me the art of Italian cooking. When I left to join the...Read More »
4 of 29 | Posted by: Ronald Hemenway - San Antonio, TX

“What a loss for not only Mario's family, but for Dubuque families. Many business meetings, birthday parties, and going away parties were held at...Read More »
5 of 29 | Posted by: Bonnie Fryburger - Wilder, KY

“Mario had rubbed my cheek and kissed my hand several times when my co-workers and I came in to eat in the mid to late 80's until Regency closed in...Read More »
6 of 29 | Posted by: Janet Weidemann - Dubuque, IA

“We are so sorry to hear about Mario..Everytime we were in town had to stop and see Mario,and hear his stories and get a hug and kiss.He will be...Read More »
7 of 29 | Posted by: Guy ( the bigga guy ) Westemeyer - IA

“Mario, You will always hold a special place in my heart as you were such a presence in my childhood between the restaurant, holidays, and our wedding...Read More »
8 of 29 | Posted by: Carla (Panto) Olson

“deepest sympathy to a great family. Mario was a beautiful person and ambassador to the hospitality industry. my family and I were always humbled by...Read More »
9 of 29 | Posted by: randy schroeder - farley, IA

“So sorry for your loss of a great man and father. We will miss him dearly. Mario was a treasure to all that knew him. We are at a loss for words in...Read More »
10 of 29 | Posted by: Abdul and Melissa and family Sinno - IA

“For an Uncle like no other, an second dad to me. You made my childhood filled with unforgettable memories that I share now with my boys and friends...Read More »
11 of 29 | Posted by: Marco Bertolini - North Salem, NY

“I was introduced to Mario's restaurant back in the early eighties while attending Loras College by a girlfriend at the time. Since that day, I made...Read More »
12 of 29 | Posted by: Gary Brimeyer - Solon, IA

“To a great man that we will never forget you ”
13 of 29 | Posted by: Jody Dahgetti - Dubuque, IA

“After having called Dubuque our home for forty years, my husband and I moved to Minnesota two years ago. Our last Dubuque meal was celebrated at...Read More »
14 of 29 | Posted by: Jean and Rick Krueger - Wyoming, MN

“Angie, Lidia, Dina and families....Ron and I still cannot believe that our Mario is gone. Heaven gained a legend and I'm sure he's cooking up a...Read More »
15 of 29 | Posted by: Katie and Ron Peterson - Asbury, IA

“My condolences to the Bertolini families..Mario will be dearly missed he was truly loved by many. ”
16 of 29 | Posted by: Mark Mcdonald - Dubuque, IA

“An amazing man , and amazing family . Thinking of all of you ❤ So sorry for your loss ”
17 of 29 | Posted by: Stacy Schmitt - Dubuque, IA

“Goodbye Mario. Entering your restaurant was always like entering the kitchen of an old friend- all the sounds and smells and warmth of a very...Read More »
18 of 29 | Posted by: Mark Russo - IOWA CITY, IA

“Rest in peace Mario u will be missed I can still taste the pizza u used to bring to grade for lidia on her birthday ”
19 of 29 | Posted by: Jennifer Biedermann - Dubuque, IA

“Deepest sympathies to the Bertolini Family. Mario was a great man and will be missed by many. I can hear him in heaven bellowing out "Hey, Georgio!"...Read More »
20 of 29 | Posted by: Betty Pfiffner - Dubuque, IA

“My deepest sympathies to angelina, lidia and dina. Mario was a wonderful man who will be greatly missed. Much love from maureen & dirk Tully-Lindecker ”
21 of 29 | Posted by: Maureen Tully-Lindecker - Dubuque, IA

“Mario's family and the city of Dubuque have lost a wonderful person. Before retirement I traveled to Dubuque on business weekly. Mario's became my...Read More »
22 of 29 | Posted by: James Kron - Moline, IL - Friend

“There will be less celebrating Life on Main St. with Mario's passing. We will miss the twinkle in his eyes, and his warm welcoming smile, his kiss on...Read More »
23 of 29 | Posted by: Judy Schmidt - Dubuque

“My family always visits Mario's for special occasions, most recently, my Daughter & Granddaughters with me having dinner before the ballet and...Read More »
24 of 29 | Posted by: Cynthia Welsh - Dubuque, IA

“A gentle giant has left us. The heart of a lion,but as gentle as a lamb. I will never forget the times we had together. You were hundred of miles...Read More »
25 of 29 | Posted by: Bernardo Bertolini - Ozone park, NY

“So sorry to hear of this loss. I loved growing up with Dina and visiting their home andrestaurant with her. Mario and Angie were always so kind and I...Read More »
26 of 29 | Posted by: Cordae Wright - Dubuque, IA

“Growing up in the Dubuque area I was a great fan of Mario's restaurant. Now living in Kansas City for 30 years, a trip home almost often meant a...Read More »
27 of 29 | Posted by: William Daugherty - Lees Summit, MO

“The world has lost the best "Boss" I have ever worked for. Will always miss hearing Mario say " Heah Curly get a haircut." Having moved from Dubuque...Read More »
28 of 29 | Posted by: Jason Engler - Pella, IA

“The world lost a star. My deepest sympathy to the family and friends that always surrounded by you. Fly high Mario. ”
29 of 29 | Posted by: Jeff Baker - Friend

Dove Emblem

Tonio Mario Bertolini, age 73, of Dubuque, passed away, surrounded by loved ones, at 12:41 a.m., on Thursday, June 15, 2017, at UnityPoint Health Finley Hospital. To honor Mario's life, funeral services will be held at 10:30 a.m., on Monday, June 19, 2017, at the Church of the Resurrection, 4300 Asbury Road, with Rev. Joseph L. Hauer officiating. To celebrate Mario's life, family and friends may visit from 1:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m., on Sunday, June 18, 2017, at Behr Funeral Home, 1491 Main Street, where a parish scripture wake service will be held at 5:30 p.m. Burial will be in Mt. Calvary Cemetery.

It's hard to imagine that the larger than life man who greeted the patrons of Mario's Italian Restaurant with a look in the eye, a warm handshake, a kiss on the cheek, and if they were lucky, a bone crushing bear hug is gone.

Tonio Mario Bertolini was born to Antonio and Carmela Bertolini on April 1, 1944, in Pescara, Italy. He had a humble upbringing in a close knit family in that small, farming community in rural Italy, and knew he wanted more out of life. He dreamed big. Mario left home at age 14 to spend several years apprenticing at a resort in San Serrano, Italy, where he perfected his culinary skills and refined his legendary charm. Later he joined the Alpini, the elite mountain military corps of the Italian Army. Mario wed his best friend, Angelina Tucci, in their hometown in 1969. With this beautiful, fun and formidable woman by his side, he knew he could pursue the American Dream, and weeks after marrying, they moved to New York to do just that.

In 1977, Mario and Angelina began their adventure in Dubuque, opening Mario's Italian Restaurant on Main Street. The restaurant was the epicenter of their family life. Their children, Lidia and Dina, worked alongside them through the years. Mario was so proud of his family, especially his girls, and taught them that every meal should create a memory. His amazing mother instilled in him a belief that family is golden and its worth is priceless. Mario's Italian Restaurant was a gift to the community in that it soon became THE place to celebrate family and love and life. So many memories have been created there, that if the restaurant walls could speak, they would SING!

Mario lit up a room with his charismatic smile. He was a man who valued family and connection. Mario had a way of making every stranger he encountered feel like a lifelong friend. His passion for life was unsurpassable. Mario believed in redemption and the ability for an individual to change, and generously provided people with second and third chances. His heart's capacity for compassion was boundless. With Mario, there was always a place at his table; figuratively and literally. He was an optimist, and his outlook on life can best be summed up in the lyrics of his favorite song, O Sole Mio...What a wonderful thing, a sunny day!

His last day was sunny and filled with merry memory making. He was the happy Nonno, spending the day by the pool, watching his beloved grandchildren, Gianna, Massimo, Chiara and Magnus, play. He shared his grandson's favorite meal, Poor Man's Soup, for lunch, before heading to the restaurant. He spent the evening on his favorite stool at the bar, greeting Mario's patrons with a look in the eye, a shake of the hand, a kiss on the cheek, and if they were very lucky, a big hug. It's hard to believe he's gone.

"O sole, o sole mio, Sta 'nfronte a te"

Those left to cherish Mario's memory include

his loving wife,
Angelina (Tucci) Bertolini;

his daughters,
Lidia Bertolini
and Dina (Ryan) Robinson;

his 4 grandchildren,
Gianna, Massimo, Magnus and Chiara;

and his siblings,
Gabriel (Luciana) Bertolini,
Elio (Dora) Bertolini,
Gemma D'Annuzio,
Elsila (Vincienco) Gargano;

and many nephews and nieces.

Mario was preceded in death by his parents, Antonio and Carmela Bertolini; and his parents-in-law, Fioravante and Lidia Tucci.

A Tonio M. "Mario" Bertolini memorial fund has been established, which will be distributed among his favorite charities.

Mario's family would like to thank the nurses and staff at Finley Hospital, Dr. Markham, Dr. Liaboe, John and Trish, for their kind, compassion and professional care of Mario and his family.