Hannastown man grew up in Italy before opening Latrobe barber shop
Shirley DaRold joked her father was older than sliced bread.
Except it’s not really a joke: the first commercial loaf of sliced bread was sold in Missouri in 1928. By that time, Luigi “Fast Louie” DaRold was already 3 years old and had moved from Murrysville’s White Valley neighborhood across the Atlantic to northern Italy.
“Their family was from Vincenza, near Venice,” Shirley DaRold said. “His mother thought she was seriously ill, and she did not just want to leave her kids here with her husband always away, working in the coal mines.”
Luigi DaRold, of Hannastown, died May 7, 2019, of congestive heart failure. He was 93.
Born Dec. 6, 1925, Mr. DaRold was a son of the late Francesco DaRold and Zelinda (DeBattista) DaRold. After moving overseas, he remained in Italy through the end of World War II.
“The Nazi SS was actually trying to induct him,” Shirley DaRold said. “When he told them no, that he was an American citizen, they laughed at him.”
It wasn’t a laughing matter for long, though.
“He didn’t want to lose that citizenship, so they went up to the mountains and he hid out until my grandmother could make arrangements to get him on a boat back to the U.S.,” Shirley DaRold said.
Back in the States, Mr. DaRold was home for four years before being drafted and sent to fight in the Korean War as part of the Army’s HQ Company, 2nd Battalion, 17th Infantry Division. During his time there, he earned the Combat Infantry Badge for Korean Service as well as the Purple Heart. He served in the Army Reserves until 1956.
While earning his barber’s license, Mr. DaRold met his wife of 64 years, Pasqueline (Santone) DaRold, when he went to her brother’s house to buy a gun.
“They got married at a double wedding with my aunt and her husband,” Shirley DaRold said.
Mr. DaRold earned his license in 1955 and went to work at the former Frank’s Barber Shop in Greensburg. After about a year, he rented a building on Ligonier Street in Latrobe and opened Lou’s Barber Shop.
“He cut hair until he was 90 years old,” Shirley said. “He told us that he didn’t retire, he quit because he got ill. When we could, we’d take him up there so he could sit in the waiting room and talk to customers while my brother carried on the tradition cutting hair.”
It was in the barber shop that Mr. DaRold earned his nickname, “Fast Louie.”
“All of the guys from Latrobe Steel would come to the Southside Inn, which was connected to the barber shop by an adjoining door,” Shirley DaRold said. “They said you could order a beer, walk into the shop, put your hat up, get a haircut and be back at the bar by the time your beer was ready.
“Dad just did his thing,” she said. “He got to know his customers, but they said you were in, and you were out.”
Mr. DaRold was a member of St. Bartholomew Church in Crabtree, as well a member of American Legion Post 515 in Latrobe, AMVETS in Greensburg and the Keystone Rod & Gun Club. He was an avid outdoorsman who enjoyed hunting, fishing and trap shooting.
“He was a jolly man,” Shirley said. “When he was in the hospital and the home, all of the nurses loved him, because even with everything he was going through, he smiled at all of them and thanked them all the time.”
Mr. DaRold is survived by his wife, Pasqueline “Pat” (Santone) DaRold of Hannastown; one daughter, Shirley A. DaRold of Hannastown; one son, Louis DaRold, and his wife Carol A., of Irwin; one grandson, David “Dan” Nagy, Jr., of Hannastown; sisters-in-law and brother-in-law, Margaret Santone of Hannastown and Donald and Dolores Miller of Dearborn Heights, Mich.; he is also survived by several nieces and nephews both locally and in Italy.
Military services will be conducted at 9:15 a.m. Saturday at the John Lopatich Funeral Home, 601 Weldon Street in Latrobe. A 10 a.m. funeral will follow at St. Bartholomew Church, 2538 Route 119 in Crabtree. Entombment will be private.
Memorial donations can be made to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society at Donate.LLS.org.
Patrick Varine is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Patrick at 724-850-2862, [email protected] or via Twitter .