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Barber's health lifestyle took him to the century mark

| Monday, Aug. 2, 2004

Sam Todaro followed his own advice and lived to be 101.

"My father always told us that if we eat properly and exercise every day, we could live to be a hundred years old," said his daughter, Roseanne Kirk. "We're grateful that he was right."

Samuel Todaro, of Greensburg, former owner of Sam Todaro's Barbershop in Greensburg, died on Thursday, July 27, 2004, at Westmoreland Regional Hospital, Greensburg. He was 101.

"Dad was a great reader," his daughter said. "Besides reading books on history and current events, Dad read many books on hygiene and practiced what he read.

"And my father was an active man," Kirk added. "Although he retired in 1975, he took one of the chairs from the shop and installed it in the basement of our home so he could accommodate several of his customers. He was still cutting hair when he was 91."

Born in Grotte, Sicily, Sam Todaro was the youngest of eight children in the family of Anthony and Grace Todaro. He was 5 years old when his family brought him to the United States and raised him on a farm in Punxsutawney.

He dropped out of school after the seventh grade to help his parents. He worked in a factory until he was 16 and then helped out at a Greensburg barbershop owned by his brother, Michael.

He took a job with Walworth Co., a now-defunct manufacturer in South Greensburg, but continued to work on the side cutting hair in shops in Latrobe and Youngwood.

After he was laid off from Walworth, he began to cut hair full time.

"He wasn't the kind of man who would sit around waiting to be called back," Kirk said.

In 1960, he opened his own barbershop on Pittsburgh Street in Greensburg.

In 1936, Sam Todaro married Susan Bellavia, a woman he had known while they were both growing up in Punxsutawney. They were active members of St. Bruno's Church. His wife, a homemaker, died in 1992 at age 80.

"My mother was a good cook but always careful to cook the healthy food that Dad thought was good for us," Kirk said.

Mr. Todaro's daughter also remembered her father as a genial man who enjoyed his profession. Through the years, he acquired numerous clients, including attorneys, doctors, businessmen and men who worked in the local factories.

After he finally agreed to put away his scissors and clippers, Mr. Todaro still enjoyed working in his garden, playing bocce with friends and making time for his grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Mr. Todaro is survived by his daughters, Roseanne Kirk, of Greensburg, and Grace Rosky, of Wilmington, N.C.; a son, Tony Todaro, of Greensburg; 10 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren. In addition to his wife, he was predeceased by a son, Joseph M. Todaro, and seven brothers and sisters.

A Mass will be offered at 10 a.m. today at St. Bruno's Church, South Greensburg. Interment will be in Westmoreland County Memorial Park. Arrangements are by Bacha Funeral Home, 516 Stanton at Green streets, South Greensburg.

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