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Obituary: Mario Segale, the real-life namesake of Super Mario, has passed away

Obituary: Mario Segale, the real-life namesake of Super Mario, has passed away

November 2, 2018 | By Chris Kerr

November 2, 2018 | By Chris Kerr
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Mario Segale, the Washington-based real estate developer who Nintendo's very own Super Mario was named after, has passed away at the age of 84.

A self-made businessman, Segale graduated from Highline Highschool in 1952 and shortly after started his own construction company with just a single dump truck. 

Working alongside his wife Donna, the pair managed to turn the firm into one of the most prominent heavy construction general contractors in the Northwest, and eventually sold the business to better concentrate on their real estate operations. 

As for how he came into contact with Nintendo, the Japanese console maker actually rented a warehouse from Segale back in the '70s, at roughly the same time that Mario creator Shigeru Miyamoto was searching for a proper name for the character, who was originally called Jumpman. 

The story goes that Nintendo was behind on its rent, resulting in a confrontation between Segale and then-president Minoru Arakawa. After settling the dispute, the company decided to rename Jumpman in his honor, and the rest, as they say, is history. 

Despite being the namesake behind one of the most iconic video game characters in the world, Segale tried to keep a low-profile, and wanted to be known for his many personal and work achievements. 

In an obituary in the Seattle Times, he's described as someone who "loved hunting, fishing, his airplane, a good joke, the color red, great Italian food (with no cheese!), an excellent cigar and his view of Puget Sound."

"His passion was figuring out how to do things in new and better ways," it continues, "which often included drawing things on the backs of napkins and placemats. The innovations he brought to the construction industry that are still seen today attest to his remarkable creativity."

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