Published in San Francisco Chronicle on Jan. 31, 2014
Salvatore Peter Tedesco
(PC Staff Ghana, Somalia, Kenya 1962-65)
Sal’s parents, Anthony Tedesco and Marcella Cantalupo, were from Naples Italy. Sal was born in the North Beach area of San Francisco and his parents divorced shortly after. His stories of life and people he knew as a kid were vivid. Victoria Bakery, the old movie theater, St. Peter and Paul’s. . . His grandmother sang and declaimed poetry during the thirties at Fugazi Hall. She took him regularly to the Cosmopolitan Opera downtown where he once appeared as one of the “ragazzi” in La Bohême. Sal remembered doing calisthenics at Fugazi Hall wearing the white uniform shorts and shirt of Mussolini’s Balilla Youth.
In the forties Sal moved to El Cerrito and attended the newly built high school. The Principal and staff took him under their wing and opened up a new world to him. He loved playing football and in 1945 was named to the All-County Team as Tight End.
Sal served in the U. S. Army and was stationed in Guam and later in Korea. Upon his return he married Sylvia Scovil in Mapleton, Utah. They lived on Regent Street in Berkeley, CA and Sal went to U.C. Berkeley (blessing the G.I. Bill) graduating with a degree in Political Science. At the graduate level Sal interned with the League of California Cities in their offices located at the Claremont Hotel.
Sal and Sylvia moved their young family to Santa Cruz, CA in 1955. In his years there he went by his middle name, Pete. There he began as Assistant City Manager and then City Manager from 1956 to 1962. He dealt with the floods of the San Lorenzo River in 1955 and worked with local officials and citizens to locate the new University of California campus in Santa Cruz. In 1962 Sal responded to the challenge in President John F. Kennedy’s inaugural address “ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country.”
He then joined the Peace Corps and moved the family to Ghana as Assistant Director of the Program in Accra and then to Somalia as Country Director in Mogadishu. Later he served in Nairobi Kenya setting up new Peace Corps programs for East Africa. He returned to Washington, DC to work in the Poverty Program with the Men’s Urban Centers Division from 1965 to 1967. After the Poverty Program he transferred to the Department of Housing and Urban Development and assisted in developing the Model Cities Program.
Sal returned to California while with HUD and was assigned to the San Francisco Regional Office as a senior urban grants manager to cities and counties. He retired from federal service in 1985.
He stayed involved in local Castro Valley affairs. He served as a member and as Chairman of the Castro Valley Municipal Advisory Council, chaired the CV Downtown Specific Plan Development Committee, served on study groups investigating the feasibility of incorporation and actively worked to achieve incorporation for CV. Sal also served on the County Grand Jury, County Advisory Commission on Aging, the Measure A Oversight Committee and on the Board of Eden Housing.
Sal lived in Castro Valley for 45 years with wife Sylvia and their two sons, John and Greg (both Canyon High graduates that went on to graduate from local universities). They and their wives, Julie and Carol, survive him as well as grandson Matt who is finishing his senior year at U.C. Davis.
Sal kept busy with continuing studies at Cal State Hayward and helped Sylvia take groups on opera tours as part of her travel agency, (The Avenue Travel) in Albany, CA. Sal enjoyed reading, listening to and attending opera, watching the 49ers and taking walks through the neighborhood. He would engage in conversation and a joke with anyone he met and was always ready to break into song. He loved cooking, parties, an evening Scotch and Soda and frequent trips to the grocery store and Costco.
Sal enjoyed his years with Castro Valley Rotary, the Monday afternoon Senior Singalong Chorus, and Cal Football.
A gathering will be held later this year to celebrate his life, his family and his friends.