Mountain View Voice

News - January 22, 2010

Former mayor David Tripiano dies at 89

by Daniel DeBolt

David Tripiano, Mountain View's mayor of 1954 and a major advocate for the creation of El Camino Hospital, died of cancer last Tuesday, Jan. 12 at the age of 89.

Tripiano was born in Mountain View on Dana Street in 1920. His family had come from Palermo, Sicily at the turn of the century and eventually opted for California's Mediterranean climate over the winter snow in Baltimore's Little Italy, their home until 1910.

Tripiano was class president at Mountain View High School in 1938. He was also running back on the football team, where he was nicknamed "Trip the Light Fantastic" for his running speed, said his son Ron Tripiano.

He joined the Army just weeks before the invasion of Pearl Harbor in 1941 and was stationed in an infantry unit in the Aleutian islands off Alaska. In 1945 he returned to Mountain View and began Crowley plumbing company with his uncle.

In 1952 he was elected to City Council and became mayor in his last year on the council in 1954. He would always be proud of his efforts to bring El Camino Hospital to Mountain View, facing opposition by Stanford Hospital and another hospital in San Jose, both of which said there were not enough people in the county to support the new facility.

But the rest of the 1950s would see explosive growth. Tripiano's plumbing business, Crowley Plumbing Co., boomed as well, growing to 100 employees, the largest on the Peninsula, Ron said. It closed in the 1990s.

Tripiano retired at age 70 in 1990 and would go on to lead a golfing group for seniors in which he organized tournaments.

Ron Tripiano recalled Christmas with his father when he was a child: "He would put on a Santa Claus suit and go to friends' houses and hand out gifts to children. He was a lot of fun."

Tripiano is survived by his wife Vera Lee, his sons Bruce and Ron, six grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. His son Joseph Scott died eight years ago.

A funeral was held Tuesday, Jan. 19 at St. Joseph Church. City flags were lowered to half staff on that day in Tripiano's honor.

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