25 February 2011
RIP nonno d
December 20, 1920 - February 24, 2011
Mario D'Auria, 90, "The Singing Barber" lost his battle with lung cancer and passed away on 24 February 2011. Mario was born in Naples Italy and, at age 15, came to the United States through Ellis Island in 1936 on the Conte DiSavoia ultimately residing in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania where he worked in his father’s barber shop. He joined the U.S. Navy in 1944 serving in World War II, the Korean War and the Bay of Pigs Invasion on several ships including the USS Floyds Bay, the USS Pocono and the USS Enterprise. On the USS Enterprise, Mario ran the ship’s store. He retired from the Navy, after 20 years of service, and settled with his family in Norfolk, Virginia where he spent the remainder of his life as a barber. He owned Mario's Barber shop at Southern Shopping Center through the 1970s and then worked at the 15 Barbers shop in Ward's Corner until his retirement in 2008 at age 87.
Mario had many friends through his kindness of always giving of himself. He would go to the local hospitals every Sunday until he retired and give free haircuts to anyone who needed one. He was a member of St Pius X Catholic Church, where he was head usher, The Knights of Columbus, the American Legion, the VFW, the DAV and the Roma Lodge.
Mario loved singing and would sing you a Frank Sinatra tune while also giving you a haircut. He had a special song, the Ave Maria, that brought out his beautiful voice and tears to your eyes. He was asked to sing this countless times at weddings and funerals and always did it with an open heart. While stationed in Newport, Rhode Island, Mario represented the United States Navy as singer/host on the Navy radio station. He also sang at some of the local clubs in Norfolk and Virginia Beach with the Joe Cubillo band. You can still hear him singing from his CD at the Reginella's Italian restaurant in Virginia Beach.
As he had done during the boxing days of his youth, Mario fought his cancer in every way possible for almost three years for one person, his cherished wife of 70 years, Domenica (Mae) D'Auria. Though he hadn't spoken in days, on one of his last, he called her name, grabbed her hand and the last words he spoke were “Mae, I love you”.
posted by Lauren D'Auria at 7:53:00 PM