Husband, father, brother, uncle, adored hairstylist, proud Italian. Born Oct. 11, 1953, in Cosenza, Italy. Died July 7, 2011, in Toronto of leukemia, aged 57.
Born in Cosenza, Italy, Pino Spadafora moved to Toronto at the age of 9 with his parents, Tony and Angela, and younger brother, Mario.
Pino trained as a hairstylist in his late teens and began his career cutting hair at the House of Lords. He later met Gregory Parvatan and Marina Loo with whom he established Rapunzel Hair in downtown Toronto in a successful partnership of more than 30 years. Pino was his Rapunzel family’s entertaining and much-loved “brother of choice.”
Pino embraced family life in 1993 when he married Michelle Hacksel. They were later blessed with Madeleine and Luke. Pino’s love for Michelle and their children was deep and full of pride.
His Spadafora kin also meant a great deal to Pino. Lively debate over Sunday lunch at Tony’s home and bocce and euchre tournaments at Mario’s home saw Pino leading the charge, always with laughter.
Pino enjoyed a wealth of friendships. Known for his characteristic greetings of “Hello beautiful” or “ Ciao bella,” he was kind, generous, spontaneous, loud, curious, funny and smart. In Toronto’s Bloor West Village community where he lived, neighbours didn’t need alarm clocks because they could hear his voice on the street in the early mornings.
While Pino had three core passions – family, friends and all things Italian – he was also devoted to his Rapunzel clients. He enjoyed speaking with people from all walks of life and professions as they sat in his chair. His clients educated and inspired him. And, in return, they enjoyed being part of his day and loved him and his rants. His clients were loyal, many of them going to him for more than 20 or 30 years.
Pino was an artist and a builder. He had creativity and talent, whether with scissors, hammer, camera or trowel in hand. He loved skiing, travel, music, wine, food, good books and his beautiful wisteria. And he was passionate about his Italian heritage.
Last autumn, Pino and Mario started planning to return to Cosenza together for a visit to their birthplace. Then in December, Pino became ill. The diagnosis of leukemia was devastating to him and all those who loved him. He so wanted to live and suffered a great deal while trying. He died on July 7 surrounded by the arms and love of his family.
On July 12, a beautiful, hot and humid day that Pino would have loved, a celebration of his life was held. His neighbours received a permit to block off their street and hosted a party with more than 200 family members and friends and all things Italian – wine, antipasti, gelato and music. It was a party Pino would have loved.
Ciao bello, dear Pino. We cannot believe you are gone and already miss you.
Susan Fancy is Pino’s sister-in-law.