Angelo DelVecchio has put away his scissors for the last time.
The well-known Virgil barber died early Monday morning at the Welland hospital site at the age of 87.
Although he and his wife Angela brought up their five children in the rooms over the barbershop, which he purchased in the mid-1960s, the couple moved down the road to a new home about 30 years ago, with family continuing to live above the shop.
At the age of 81, he sold it and retired at the urging of his family, who wanted him to have some time to relax, but he could still be seen strolling through Virgil most mornings, stopping to pick up breakfast at Silks for his grandchildren before they left for school.
His was the last remaining barbershop in town, and after he sold it, he was forever telling his family, even when he was in the hospital, how much he missed the work he loved, his many regular customers, and talking to people every day. Some of his customers were the fourth generation, says his daughter Rita DelVecchio and many had become his friends.
DelVecchio arrived in Canada from his native Italy in 1957, just months after leaving the army, where he had served with the military police. He had met the love of his life, Angela, just once in Italy before she came to Canada, and he followed her and married her two months after arriving in Welland.
He took a job with a barber in Thorold, says Rita, and then walked to Virgil one day to ask about a job at a barbershop on the corner of Four Mile Creek Road and Niagara Stone Road, now a coffee shop. While he worked there, he and Angela lived over the shop, where their two oldest children were born, and after seven years of saving enough money — he was earning $50 a month — he was able to purchase the building across the street.
In addition to his five children, all of whom have stayed close by, he felt very fortunate to have 12 grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren.
“He loved all the kids, and worried about them all — his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren,” says Rita.
“He left Italy to come to Canada to make a better life for himself, his wife and his family, and he did that. He had a good life here. He always felt so blessed to keep everybody close by. He loved Virgil, and he loved Canada.”
His health had been failing in recent years. He was diabetic, and every other day one of his kids would drive him to the St. Catharines hospital site for dialysis. He also loved to go to the casino — he liked the dinner buffet — and to be taken shopping, or to go out for dinner with family, says Rita.
He was recently hospitalized with a blood infection, and seemed to be improving, but after being moved to the Welland hospital, his organs began to fail.
Right up to the end, he was worried about his family, afraid of leaving his wife and kids, Rita says.
“He loved his family so much. He was really a generous, kind and giving man. And we were blessed to have him with us for so long.”
Friends will be received at the Morse & Son Funeral Home, 5917 Main Street, Niagara Falls, on Wednesday, Dec, 29 from 5 to 9 p.m. Under current pandemic conditions, provincial restrictions limit the number of guests at visitations, funerals and interments. All visitors must wear a face mask and practise physical distancing. Visit thebao.ca or call the funeral home for further information. Those who wish to attend Angelo’s Funeral Mass must RSVP online through Angelo DelVecchio’s obituary on Morse & Son Funeral Home’s website (www.morseandson.com). Angelo’s Funeral Mass will be celebrated at St. Vincent de Paul Roman Catholic Church (Niagara-on-the-Lake), on Thursday, Dec. 30 at 11:30 a.m. Rite of Committal will follow in the Niagara Lakeshore Cemetery. As an expression of sympathy, memorial donations may be made to Diabetes Canada or to the Kidney Foundation. Memories, photos and condolences may be shared at www.morseandson.com