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Published: Thursday, 9/4/2003

Area salon owner had passion for hair color, beauty

James B. Bertolina, whose sense of color and beauty guided both his career and leisure - as owner for 48 years of a hair salon, photographer, painter, and stained-glass artist - died Monday in St. Vincent Mercy Medical Center. He was 86.

He died from complications of lung problems developed last month, his daughter Gina Bertolina said.

Mr. Bertolina was the longtime owner of Burton's Hair Stylists on River Road in Maumee.

“He's always been artistic, and I think that's what drew him to hair dressing,” said daughter Wendy Roszczipka, manager of Burton's and herself a stylist. “He loved hair color. His goal was to get hair color on every person in the city. He had a terrific eye for color.”

He enjoyed working with people and found satisfaction in the results: “To have somebody come into the salon and go out looking so much nicer,” said daughter Wendy, who worked with her father since the 1970s.

Mr. Bertolina, a native of Hahntown, Pa., left high school during the Depression to work in a cereal factory. He was an Army veteran of World War II, serving in the 88th Engineer Heavy Pontoon Battalion, part of Gen. George S. Patton's Third Army. Mr. Bertolina in recent years organized battalion reunions.

With his GI Bill benefits, he attended cosmetology school in Pittsburgh. After stints in Chicago and New York City, he heard about an opportunity in Toledo at Lasalle & Koch Co., where he met his wife while doing her hair. He earned his GED in the 1960s.

Mr. Bertolina, a photographer mostly of nature scenes, formerly taught continuing education classes at the University of Toledo. He painted in oils and made stained glass panels and lamps. He was a longtime Mud Hens season ticket holder and followed UT football and basketball.

Surviving are his wife, Doris, whom he married Jan. 15, 1955; daughters, Gina Bertolina, Wendy Roszczipka, and Lisa Katzman; son, Ian Bertolina, and seven grandchildren.

The body will be in the Coyle Mortuary after 2 p.m. today, with a recitation of the Rosary at 7:30 p.m. by the Catholic War Veterans in the mortuary followed by a Maumee Rotary Club service. Funeral services will be at 10 a.m. tomorrow in Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church, of which he was a 48-year member.

The family suggests tributes to the church.

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