Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Frank Sacco, who owned more than a dozen barbershops, dies at 98

ST. PETE BEACH — Frank Sacco learned to cut hair in the late 1920s.

No school, no apprenticeship. Just a teenager learning with a pair of scissors.

First he cut the hair of family members. Later he gave buzz cuts to World War II soldiers.

Eventually, Mr. Sacco's businesses accounted for thousands of haircuts in the Tampa Bay area. At one point, barber poles twirled the universal sign for haircut in more than a dozen Pinellas County locations.

He warmed customers with steamed towels, soothed their faces with rich lather and polished them off with a straight razor. If they had a question, he would answer it.

If they didn't want to talk at all, that was fine, too.

Mr. Sacco, who had co-owned at least 13 barber shops in St. Pete Beach, Seminole and Largo, died Saturday after a long illness. He was 98.

Though pleasant and polite, Mr. Sacco was hardly a glad-handing entrepreneur.

"He didn't like jokes," said Daisy Sacco, his wife of 74 years.

Nor did Mr. Sacco appreciate having his photo shown publicly. Hence no photo runs with his online obituary or with this story.

"He didn't like to be photographed. I don't know why," said Daisy Sacco, 95. "His family was like that."

They met in the mid-1930s, when he was 22 and she was 19. His father had a produce business in Ybor City. Her father made cigars there. Neighbors knew each other then, took care of each other's children.

They married, moved to New York, returned to Tampa.

Mr. Sacco cut hair for soldiers and sailors near a Tampa shipyard. He later enlisted in the Army but was released due to a respiratory ailment, his wife said.

In the 1950s he moved to Pinellas County, where he had heard business was better. He worked at a barber shop on Corey Avenue. In the late 1950s or early 1960s, Mr. Sacco bought that shop with a partner. Over the years, Mr. Sacco and his partner went on to open shops in Seminole and Largo.

He relaxed with woodworking at home, making clocks and desks. Though careful in his dealings with others, Mr. Sacco believed in lending a hand when needed.

"If he knew somebody needed money or was in trouble or did not have food, he would help," his wife said.

He stopped working about 30 years ago due to health problems, his wife said. He sold all of the barber shops but one, Esquire Barber Shop in Seminole.

"He used to come over and collect the money on Fridays," said Gary Grunett, 63, who has been cutting hair there for 20 years. "He would put it in a Styrofoam cooler because he thought no one would think to look in there. He used that same cooler for 20 years."

Mr. Sacco enjoyed fixing things in the garage. But recently he struggled with a variety of health problems, including bone cancer. Daisy Sacco said it is hard to describe the emotions behind losing her husband of 74 years. He may not have been the most talkative man, but she always understood him perfectly.

Andrew Meacham can be reached at ameacham@tampabay.com or (727) 892-2248.

.Biography

Frank Sacco

Born: Jan. 20, 1914

Died: Sept. 15, 2012

Survivors: Wife, Daisy; and son, George Sacco.

Frank Sacco, who owned more than a dozen barbershops, dies at 98 09/20/12 [Last modified: Thursday, September 20, 2012 9:20pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Philippines forces make gains in city under siege by ISIS-linked militants

    MARAWI, Philippines — Philippine forces say they now control most of a southern city where militants linked to the Islamic State group launched a bloody siege nearly a week ago.

  2. Rays exhausted but happy after 15-inning win over Twins (w/video)

    The Heater

    MINNEAPOLIS — Before the Rays eventually won Sunday's 6½-hour, 15-inning marathon against the Twins 8-6, they did plenty to lose it. And we need to get that out of the way first.

    The Rays’ Evan Longoria enjoys a laugh after scoring, barely, to tie it in the ninth on Steven Souza Jr.’s two-out single.
  3. Tom Jones' Two Cents: ABC's Indy 500 coverage is stellar again

    TV and Radio

    Times columnist Tom Jones looks back at the best and worst from a weekend of televised sports.

    Best coverage

    Takuma Sato left, celebrates after winning the Indianapolis 500 as Helio Castroneves is a little late passing him. ABC’s coverage of the race is stellar throughout, with plenty of extras but no fake drama.
  4. Takuma Sato surprise winner of wreck-filled Indy 500

    Auto racing

    INDIANAPOLIS — Takuma Sato, a journeyman driver, became the first Japanese winner of the Indianapolis 500 on Sunday when he held off three-time champion Helio Castroneves in a 230-mph wheel-rubbing duel to the finish.

    Scott Dixon’s car goes over the top of Jay Howard, soaring so high that Helio Castroneves drove under it while it was airborne. Stunningly, there were no serious injuries.
  5. South Korea military: North Korea fires unidentified projectile

    World

    SEOUL — North Korea launched a ballistic missile early today that flew 280 miles and landed in Japan's exclusive economic zone, the South Korean military and the Japanese government said.

    S. Korean President Moon Jae-in is assessing the launch.