Genero Stivaletti, 94: D-Day survivor, known as "Jerry the Barber"

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PORTLAND — Genero “Jerry” Stivaletti, 94, died peacefully at Mercy Hospital in Portland Dec. 3, from injuries sustained in a fall on the day before Thanksgiving.

Stivaletti was born in Portland, the oldest child of “the finest mason in the northeast,” Antonio Stivaletti, and Anna Lattanzio Stivaletti, both of whom immigrated from Vasto, Italy, to Ellis Island, New York.

Stivaletti grew up in Portland’s Little Italy, speaking mostly Italian when he started school. The family also lived in Garfield, New Jersey, when his father found work there. Eventually, the Stivalettis moved back to Portland, where Stivaletti graduated from Portland High School in 1941.

Stivaletti’s strong work ethic began at a young age, when he began shining shoes in Lincoln Park at 12 years old. After high school, he began working at a print shop on Exchange Street.

When World War II began, Stivaletti joined the Coast Guard. He was at Normandy, France, on D-Day, June 6, 1944, on the USS Samuel Chase APA 26, then went to the Philippines and Japan as the ship transferred to the Pacific in time for the invasion of Okinawa. He was a cook and a barber on the ship.

After being discharged in 1946, Stivaletti returned to Portland and began barbering at the Fort Williams military base in Cape Elizabeth. That same year, he joined the Naval Reserves.

In 1950, when the Korean War started, Stivaletti found himself back on a military ship for the Navy in the South Pacific, this time as a 1st Class Petty Officer on the USS Millette PA 156. Two years later he was discharged from the Navy and returned to Portland, where he opened up his own barber shop.

In 1958, Jerry met the love of his life at St. Joseph’s Church when he asked her if she wanted a ride home after Mass. He and Alice Walsh married Sept. 10, 1960, and  first lived in the Longfellow Woods area. In 1967, they moved to North Deering, where Stivaletti resided until her died.

Stivaletti’s first barber shop was on the corner of Devonshire Street and Brighton Avenue. When it was destroyed by fire, he moved to Sampson’s in the Pine Tree Shopping Center and, finally, to Nason’s Corner. He retired after 67 years as a barber, when he was 89 years old, and but always appreciated his longtime customers.

Stivaletti enjoyed time spent with his family; watching his grandsons’ sporting events; traveling to Florida; and going out to lunch at his favorite places. But most of all, he loved his sweets, especially the cookies his oldest daughter would bring from New York and Mike’s Pastry in Boston. He also was an avid fan of the Red Sox, Patriots, Celtics and boxing, and loved his 1977 VW Beetle convertible and “Godfather” movies.

Stivaletti was predeceased by his parents, a sister, Theresa Currier, and a son, John Joseph Stivaletti.

He is survived by his wife of 55 years, Alice Walsh Stivaletti; four children, Gina Stivaletti, Maria Therriault, Linda Petty and Anthony Stivaletti; two grandsons, Nicholas Therriault and Andrew Therriault; a brother, Albert Stivaletti; and many nieces, nephews and cousins.

Visiting hours will be held Dec. 9, from 10:30 a.m. to noon, with a funeral service at noon at A.T. Hutchins Funeral Home, 660 Brighton Ave., Portland. Burial will follow in the New Calvary Cemetery, South Portland.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Portland Catholic Charities, P.O. Box 10660, Portland, ME 04104-6060.