THE BRONX, NY -- Louis Salvati, who led vending and coffee service sales for Martinson Coffee, died here late last year. He was 88.
Salvati, a lifelong Bronx resident, graduated from DeWitt Clinton High School in 1940 and went to work at his father's grocery store. He enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Forces in 1942 and served as a radio operator and gunner. Serving in Italy, France and Germany, he flew 63 combat missions aboard a B-26 bomber, surviving attacks by enemy fighters including one that shattered his dorsal gun turret. At war's end, Salvati separated from the service with the rank of technical sergeant.
He married Jean Rutigliano in 1960 and, soon after, joined Martinson Coffee as a salesman. He worked his way up to food products division sales manager for the East Coast, and retired in 1988.
Salvati's career with Martinson spanned the rise of fresh-brew coffee vending machines as a mainstay of full-line operations and the advent of office coffee service. He was instrumental in the development of new packaging for these fast-growing businesses, and became a widely recognized industry expert.
Upon his retirement, Salvati increased his participation in community affairs. He served as president of the Chester Civic Community Association, formed an association to assist small merchants on Eastchester Road, and later organized an annual sidewalk and street fair to help restaurateurs and other food business owners showcase their wares. He waged a lengthy campaign to have a stoplight installed at the busy intersection of Astor and Seymour Aves., and he ultimately triumphed.
Salvati is survived by his wife of 50 years, Jean, and daughter Lisa.