Saturday, July 07, 2007


Locatelli remembered as self-made lumberman

Salvatore Locatelli, an Italian immigrant who came to Santa Cruz with nothing but the clothes on his back but worked long enough and hard enough to own his own lumber business, died July 2 at Stanford University Hospital.

He was 76 and had suffered from a lengthy illness.

Locatelli was a U.S. citizen from his father, who was born in Boulder Creek. He grew up with his mother in Italy, and his father would return to visit every couple of years.

"He came from Italy the year I was born, in 1949," said his wife, Althea Locatelli, 57, of Santa Cruz. "We used to joke to people and say it was an arranged marriage because I'm Italian and my parents came from Italy, too"

In fact, the marriage was arranged, kind of — by Locatelli's brother, Mario, who met Althea while he was a patient at Kaiser Hospital in Santa Clara. Althea was a nurse at the time and had helped Mario while he was suffering from melanoma — which claimed his life a few years later.

"He wanted to do me a favor, and his brother was single and he really wanted me to meet him," said Althea. "So Sal delivered two cords of firewood to me in October 1985"

And the rest was history. The two hit it off and had been together ever since, she said.

Locatelli came from Berbenno, Bergamo in the northern part of Italy, about an hour from the Alps. His grandfather helped pay for his trip to the United States, where he eventually landed in Ellis Island like hundreds of thousands of immigrants before him.

From there he traveled to San Francisco, then on to Santa Cruz, where he eventually got a job working for the city's Sanitation Department in the day, then cutting lumber in the evenings.

"He'd work early in the morning, then go into the woods in the evening," said Althea. "Then he'd come home, sharpen the chains for the next day, eat dinner, then go to bed"

In the early 1960s, Locatelli founded his own business, Sal Locatelli Firewood, cutting and selling firewood. Family members joined the business in stages: a cousin first, then one brother, another brother and a son. Locatelli retired in 1985 and passed the business to his son Sal J. The company is now owned by one of Locatelli's nephews.

Locatelli was an avid hunter and loved to fish. He also enjoyed making wine and gardening.

Salvatore Locatelli
BORN: Nov. 19, 1930.
DIED: July 2, 2007.
HOME: Santa Cruz.
OCCUPATION: Owned lumber business.
COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT: Member of the Marconi Club.
SURVIVORS: Wife, Althea Locatelli of Santa Cruz; sons Richard S. Locatelli, Daniel S. Locatelli and Sal J. Locatelli, all of Santa Cruz; stepson Jeremy Gibson of Tacoma, Wash.; stepdaughter Cheryce Chartier of Elkhurst; brothers John Locatelli and Joe Locatelli, both of Santa Cruz; sister Angie Inman of Bakersfield; eight grandchildren; four great-grandchildren; and many nieces and nephews.
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ivano and tom said...

From: "ivan comelli" To: "tom ragan"

Tom: What a great job you did on the Salvatore Locatelli article. So great in fact that I have published it on the 'Blagga' (under your Sentinel byline of course). I also added a photo of Sal at the top. Check it out. I think you will like it : .

Tom Ragan says:

Thanks, Ivan! Long live the Italians! Tom

GB: Tom Ragan is the Santa Cruz Sentinel reporter who did such a fine review of "La Nostra" a few months back. He is proving to be a true "Amico della Costa". ivn0

Anonymous said...

Hi Ivano,

So glad you got to meet my daughter Liana. She's the one that keeps all the old family cultures going. I went to Sal's Rosary last night and saw some old friends. Sorry I missed you today.

That was nice that you posted Sal's picture and article on the Blagga. That's a great picture. I met Sal right after he came here from Italy. Anna

Anonymous said...

Thank you Ivano for posting the article and thanks to Mr Ragan for publishing it. Sal was the symbol of what a true friend is. There are no words to express how much he will be missed. The Swaney and the Gemignani Family.

ivano said...

Thanks Swaney and Gemignani Family. I will forward your comments to Tom Ragan. I am sure he will appreciate them very much.

Now that Sal has crossed over "Il Ultimo Ponte" I am sure he will be greeted by a fellow with a big grin on his face. I can hear them now.. Joe:" What took you so long Sal??"
Sal: "Whata you think Joe. I was hoping to make the Marconi Club Picnic." .
Joe: "You want to know something Sal? Here, everyday is like a Marconi Club Picnic ."

(GB: My Uncle Joe Gemignani, who passed away in 1998 and Sal Locatelli were very close buddies.

Anonymous said...

The Sentinel article makes no mention of Sal's first wife,Marie. Is she still living?

gran blaggatore said...

Dear Anonymous:

Sal was married twice. His first wife was named Marie (nickname: 'Frenchy'). Marie also immigrated from Italy. Sal and Marie were married for several years and had three sons together. I saw Marie at Sal's Memorial Services, Sunday. She is alive and quite well. She still lives in the Santa Cruz Area. ivn0

charlene giovannoni shaffer said...

Dear Ivan,

Thank you for keeping me on the email list. I appreciate reading about the history and people of the Coast, since my late Father's family lived in Davenport for many years when he was growing up. It also is a pleasure to see the names of all the individuals who receive your information. For those of us who do not live in Santa Cruz any longer you provide a wonderful site, with interesting information, wonderful recollections, and a great celebration of heritage.

It is also good to know that some of my classmates (amici) from Mission Hill and Santa Cruz High, are still in Santa Cruz.

I appreciated the recipe for the Torta di Becchi and will attempt it this Christmas. The recipe seems to be the most accurate one I have seen, and close to our family recipe. The topping that my dear aunt Mary Andreoni used was a mixture of liquor and liquers and my late Father, William Giovannoni, made the best torta with giant becchi. He was taught by his sister Mary.

I appreciated reading the article on Sal Locatelli, and was sorry to hear of his passing. Our family knew him and we bought wood from him. My recollection of Sal was that he always had a smile on his face and had a great personality.

I also enjoyed reading Cathy Brovia's historical recollections. Cathy has done a wonderful job in keeping Joe's memory alive. Joe would have done so well in today's baseball environment. I was glad to see the photo of Cathy and Lena Brovia Castiglioni. I saw Lena and her sister, Virginia ( my aunt), this past Sunday and they look great! I also enjoyed Lena's incredible biscotti. That would also be a recipe worth publishing...they are the best ever!

Molti grazie Ivano i tutti.

Charlene Giovannoni Shaffer

GB:Thanks Charlene. I am sure that many of my 'blaggatori' will recall the Giovannoni name with affection. Ivno

reno cantarutti said...

IVANO: They just keep coming out of the woodwork......people that want to keep LA NOSTRA COSTA alive....thanks to you.. BRAVO IVANO . Is CHARLENE (GIOVANNONI) SHAFFER any relation to the people who had the huge dairy
ranch near the SWANTON school that I used to go to? There was a girl
in our school ( of 8 kids )... name of GIOVANNONI.

I also enjoyed the story on SAL
LOCATELLI . Wasnt there a BAR in down town on front street named
LOCATELLI or something?

I am burning the E-MAIL in exchanging messages
with my new found friend CANADIAN FURLAN DORIANO .

GB: Thanks Reno for your kind words. I would venture a guess that Charlene is related to those Giovannoni's 'su per la costa'.

As best that I can remember the Locatelli's never owned a bar in Santa Cruz. I think you are thinking of the "Lucca Lunch" Bar and Grill that was located for many years on Front Street. Joe Antonetti and partners owned and managed it.

I am glad that you have connected up with the Canadian Furlan. That's what the 'Blagga' is all about. Connecting up and spreading the 'good word' ivn0

Anonymous said...

Sal was married three times. His second wife was Nuni Radicchi. He was quite a guy with the ladies.