While there are several documents noting that the company was started in either 1932 or 1936, there does not seem to be a way to verify which year is correct. We simply state that “approximately” 80 years ago, Conti & Son Monument Company was established at 3871 Imperial Avenue in the cemetery district of San Diego, California.
The original owners were Lee Conti and his father. During World War II, Ugo Ojetti, a cousin of the Conti’s was stationed at MCRD and was invited to come by the business and visit and then for dinner. Those visits took place several times over the next year and, at the end of Mr. Ojetti’s enlistment in the Marines, he was offered a job should he want to relocate from Vermont to California. And so the business adventure began!
Mr. Ojetti had “granite in his blood”, so they say. He grew up in a small town in Vermont where his father worked in the quarry. That quarry is still there today and the granite produced is Bethel White, mostly used in counter top product. Mr. Ojetti loved people and enjoyed working with them. As it turned out, this was the perfect place for Mr. Ojetti and he went on to successfully grow the business and purchase it from Mr. Conti in the mid 60’s-70’s.
Markers and monuments were basically finished by hand in the early years. Letters and numbers were hand stamped and hand chisled and mostly done on a single color, light grey. As time went on and technology came into place, Conti & Son moved into the world of computers for all their design work. This medium allows a family to select wording and designs that represent their loved one and can even submit their own designs to be used. And little by little over the years, as engraving granite changed from hand chiseling and sandblasting became the method of engraving, more granite colors were able to be used.
Throughout the years, Conti & Son Monument Company has been contacted by several organizations and community endeavors to provide custom markers, monuments and signage as well as community projects. Some of the projects include the fund raising bricks for the Scripps, and San Diego Libraries, granite tiles on an outside wall of the National City Library, Monuments designed for Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery, Peace and Friendship Marker, San Diego Port of Entry, USA/Mexico border, assisted Eagle Scouts with projects, PGA Tournament Signage, memorial for Ream Field, Camp Pendleton and private mausoleums and statues for local cemeteries, just to name a few.
While Conti & Son Monument Company has designed and installed many community and private memorials, the thrust of this business still remains the grass markers and monuments for cemeteries. And these can be as simple or as elaborate as the customer wishes. As Mr. Ojetti said in an interview some years ago about selecting memoralization, “you are not putting it up for the person who passed away, you are putting it up for yourself. You really do it for your own feelings”. Memorialization generally is for the living, not the deceased.
Conti & Son Monument Company has truly been a family owned business throughout the years. Today it is owned and managed by Mr. Ojetti’s daughter, Carol Parker, who continues to be committed to providing quality product and service to all customers.