Aldo Romeo Dante Pia of Escondido, California, formerly of Kennett Square

Aldo Romeo Dante Pia, 86, of Escondido, California, passed away peacefully after a short illness with cancer, on Saturday, Sept. 25, 2010, at his home surrounded by many family members.

Born January 26, 1924 in Bridgeport, Conn., he was the son of the late Joseph and Lena (Gai) Pia. In 1933, they moved to Kennett Square, where the family started growing mushrooms, the beginning of his mushroom career.

He was the husband of Colleen Ponsell Pia (deceased 2005), and the former husband of Marie Zunino Pia (deceased 2001).

In Kennett Square, Aldo was a founding member of the American Mushroom Institute (now in Washington, D.C.), very involved with the Southern Chester County Sportsmen's Association and part owner of Garden Bowling Lanes. He also enjoyed playing his clarinet with his buddies, listening and singing to Italian and country music, fishing, hunting, wine making, photography, carving designs on wood, calligraphy and cooking wild game dinners.

He left Pennsylvania in the early 1960's and settled in many areas, mostly growing mushrooms and looking for the best fishing holes from New York to California, including the Dominican Republic and Mexico.

While in California, Aldo became a member of the San Diego Bonsai Club and enjoyed creating Bonsai gardens with many types of trees of various shapes.

Aldo is survived by brother, Mario Pia and wife, Pat of Trumbull, Conn.; and predeceased by his brother, Bruno Pia and surviving wife, Frances of Kennett Square.

Surviving are seven children: Rosemarie "Tootie" and husband, Gary Barber of Sebastian, Fla.; Richard Pia, Sr. and wife, Gloria of Kennett Square; John Pia and wife, Jeri of Boise, Idaho; Pierce Pia and wife, Sue of Escondido, Calif.; Denise Cerro and partner, Jim Jollett of Encinitas, Calif.; William "Billy" Pia and wife, Ye'von of Colorado Springs, Colo.; Patricia and husband, David Ledy of New York, N.Y. ; 13 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren.

A memorial Mass will be held at noon on Sunday, October 17, at St. Patrick's Church, 212 Meredith Street, Kennett Square, PA 19348.

In appreciation of his dedication to the San Diego Bonsai Club Wild Animal Park Pavilion project, donations can be made in Aldo's name. Please note on the check that it is in honor of Aldo Pia and make checks payable to: San Diego Bonsai Club Inc., P.O. Box 40037, San Diego, CA 92164.

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