For Joe Mondello, there was no business like shoe business - Gloucester Daily Times

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Remember that aged advertizing slogan, “Nobody doesn’t similar Sarah Lee?” Well, cipher didn’t similar Joe Mondello.

Gloucester’s beloved shoemaker who retired astatine the property of 93 and is said to person “saved much soles than priests” died this past Friday, his girl Cyndi Balcome told the Times. “He was 96 and went astatine 5 a.m. successful the morning,” she said, “with my girl Katy beside him.”

Mondello, who “learned the cobbler’s trade” from his Sicilian-born father, reigned implicit his small footwear repair store disconnected Pleasant Street similar a convivial king successful his albeit humble castle. When, aft serving successful the Navy during World War II, helium opened his archetypal store with his member Greg, determination were 19 cobblers shops successful Gloucester, according to Balcome. Greg Mondello would dice astatine 35, but Joe would spell connected to out-cobbler each cobbler successful town, and, said his daughter, helium mightiness person died connected the occupation if it weren’t for COVID-19.

“COVID did Dad in,” Balcome said. “Not virtually — helium truly conscionable died of aged property — but helium was specified a societal person, helium loved talking with his customers, and helium did not bash good with the deficiency of societal interaction during COVID.”

Anyone who knew thing astir Joe Mondello knew what a societal carnal helium was. If you brought a bottommost to beryllium fixed, you mightiness privation to adhd an hr to your day’s calendar, due to the fact that Joe loved to speech and helium was afloat of large tales.

He was immensely arrogant of his years successful work during World War II. A lad erstwhile helium was shipped disconnected to the Pacific Theatre successful 1944, helium returned to Gloucester successful 1946 to wed his wife, the erstwhile Virginia Murray, rise 5 children, physique his ain location and marque of his small footwear store a shrine of vintage memorabilia to World War II veterans, peculiarly those who’d fought, arsenic helium did, successful the Pacific.

Local writer Gordon Baird recalled successful a Gloucester Times portion published successful 2018 “any clip a footwear was successful distress, it was different juncture to bathe successful Joe’s sunny doctrine of life. He loves to speech and ... .at his property ... there’s nary 1 he’s acrophobic of offending, truthful helium speaks his mind.”

Balcome said her begetter was particularly arrogant of his ship, the USS Denver. “It was 1 of the luckiest ships successful the war,” Baird recalled successful his Times piece, “I’m definite helium had thing to bash with that. ... (He’d) survived axenic terror, helium told me. When you person been done what helium had successful the Pacific by property 21, the remainder of your beingness astir apt would look similar a blessed occasion, each day.”

Every time did look similar a blessed juncture successful the beingness of Joe Mondello, his girl said.

At home, helium was, she said, kind. Family — extended family, helium was 1 of 14 siblings — was everything. When his member Greg died truthful young, helium fundamentally extended his ain household of 5 children to incorporated Greg’s five. The extended Mondello household has much than made its people present successful Gloucester. So overmuch truthful that the quadrate they unrecorded successful disconnected Bass Avenue is really called Mondello Square.

Joe built his location there, Balcome said, “hammer and nail, each connected 1 level truthful helium and Mom could unrecorded determination erstwhile they got old, which is precisely what they did.”

They don’t marque shoes similar they utilized to, and they don’t marque shoemakers similar they utilized to.

Especially shoemakers similar Gloucester’s 1 and lone Joe Mondello. He was, remarked a lawsuit connected his “early retirement,” arsenic bully arsenic it gets.

Joseph Mondello Senior volition beryllium waked astatine Greely Funeral Home, 212 Washington St, Gloucester, this Thursday, Jan. 19, from 4 to 7 p.m.

A ceremonial wide volition travel connected Friday, Jan. 20, astatine 11 a.m. astatine Saint Ann’s Church connected Pleasant Street.

In lieu of flowers, the household suggests donations beryllium made successful Mondello’s sanction to Cape Ann Veterans Services, 12 Emerson Ave. Gloucester, MA 01930.