Alfred E. Campellone, 85, founder of three Philadelphia construction firms and a horse rider in Masonic parades and wagon trains across the state, died Wednesday, April 4, of complications from Parkinson's disease at his home in Auburn, Schuylkill County.
"He was more proud of his horse accomplishments than his work accomplishments," though they, too, were considerable, said James Brooks, who had worked with Mr. Campellone since the 1960s.
Brooks is now vice president of SWERP Inc., a Miquon firm that Mr. Campellone founded in 1988.
Mr. Campellone was a captain of the Lu Lu Temple Mounted Guard in Shriner parades in the 1970s, Brooks said, and active with the group into the 1980s.
On horseback, Mr. Campellone led covered wagons in Masonic parades across the state.
"He was the wagon master of Shrinedom," Brooks said. "His fez had wagon master on it."
During the 1976 Bicentennial celebration, Brooks said, Mr. Campellone "was the state chairman for Pennsylvania" for journeys to Valley Forge by wagon trains from across the nation.
At times, Brooks said, Mr. Campellone owned four Percheron draft horses to draw his wagon and at least one saddle horse, usually an American Appaloosa.
He was a president of the Riders of the Wissahickon, for which he paraded annually in the Wissahickon Valley, Brooks said.
"That's how I met Al. . . . My brothers and sisters, we all rode in the parade" past Valley Green Inn, he said.
Mr. Campellone was a member of the Pennsylvania Equine Council and of the Richmond Ranglers, a riding club in Port Richmond.
Born in Philadelphia, he grew up near 10th and Luzerne Streets, and, before graduation from Central High School, he enlisted in the Army during World War II, serving in Europe as an infantry truck driver.
After the war, Brooks said, "he collected his GED and attended night courses for years at Spring Garden College."
When he returned to civilian life, he bought a dump truck and ran a hauling firm, Alfred E. Campellone Inc., in the Lower Northeast from the 1940s to the 1960s.
With a brother, Peter, the firm grew to four heavy construction crews specializing in underground water and sewer pipe construction.
"He did major work on 72-inch-diameter sewers - big, heavy work for the Philadelphia Water Department," Brooks said.
From 1971 to 1996, he was president of CBM Construction Co. in Miquon, which continued that sort of work.
While running CBM, in 1988 he founded SWERP Inc.
Brooks said the firm used a "trenchless technology," to repair sewer pipes with what he called "rehabilitation with excavation."
Mr. Campellone was a consultant to the firm into 2012.
A life member of Operating Engineers Local 542, he was a member of the Masonic 33d Degree Scottish Rite, the Valley Green Canoe Club, and historic societies in Conshohocken, Manayunk, and Roxborough.
Mr. Campellone is survived by several nieces and nephews.
A visitation was set for 10 to 11 a.m. Friday, April 20, at Lownes Funeral Home, 659 Germantown Pike, Lafayette Hill. There is to be no funeral.