Cover photo for Alfio Cardillo's Obituary
Alfio Cardillo Profile Photo
1924 Alfio 2016

Alfio Cardillo

September 21, 1924 — November 11, 2016

Alfio Cardillo began his new life on Friday, November 11, 2016, with his loving family at his side – at home.

A longtime resident and fixture of the Norwich community, Alfio was born in New York City on September 21, 1924, the son of Giuseppe and Maria (Cali) Cardillo. Giuseppe and Maria returned to Sicily shortly after, where Alfio and his sisters Rosaria (Sarah) and later, Maria, grew and lived in the town of Fieumefreddo near the sea, near Giuseppe’s lemon and fig orchards, near the base of Taormina, and with Mt. Etna in the backdrop. His young years were shaped by the deep and wide family roots of this tight, small-town Sicilian community, the “cold river” from which it takes its name, the sea, and the intense periods of life and survival during World War II.

As a young adult, Alfio travelled to Genoa where he cultivated new chapters in his life before sailing to America in 1947 to join his sister Sarah and her husband Agatino Zagami in Norwich, NY. There he met the love of his life, Josephine Veronica Pino, daughter of Dora and Alfredo Pino, whom he married at St. Bartholomew’s Church on September 4, 1950. Together, Alfio and Josephine brought four children into the world.

Alfio was known for his skills and success as a local businessman and barber, though his great personal vocation was as a successful investor. In the 1950’s he and his brother-in-law Agatino established the “Al and Ag’s Barbershop” which developed into one of the longest succeeding and well-known businesses ever in the City of Norwich. In addition to its wide reputation for the best barbering – often with long lines awaiting hot lather straight-razor morning shaves, after-school cuts and preholiday/pre-special occasion grooming – it was the scene of rich daily community discourse about everything and anything, from great debates about baseball (Al and Mario the Mets, and Aggie and Joe the Yankees), to politics, to social issues, to the great humor and human exchange that “Al and Ag’s” generated for Norwich. Patrons came from far and wide, and across counties, literally everyone knew “Al and Ag’s.” The business went on to eventually be named “Norwich Hair Cutting and Hair Styling,” the beautifully and historically restored building which was consumed in the storied 1976 Norwich block fire. Never to be knocked out, Alfio resurrected the business within days, and it continues today under its present haircutting team.

Alfio was a lifelong, devoted member of St. Bartholomew’s parish in Norwich, serving as a Eucharistic Minister, volunteer and honored member of the Knights of Columbus. Faith was core in every aspect of Alfio’s life, and along with his family was his focal point and strength at all times. He was an impassioned supporter of charities of all types, local, regional and international, and support for these was a major priority. He supported an “adopted” child through religious charities in Africa from the child’s early years through maturity to adulthood, and their letter-exchanges were always a highlight.

Alfio’s passions also included classical music and opera, sports, economics and philosophy; he played multiple instruments including violin, guitar, accordion and piano, and he was an avid and well-praised fisherman. He also loved gardening.

He worked in full and total devotion with Josephine to raise and advance his family to opportunities beyond his own, and took great pride in each familial accomplishment. Following Josephine’s sudden passing at a young age, Alfio had to meet perhaps his greatest life challenge, to overcome his most devastating loss to become both father and mother to his children, and grandfather and grandmother to his grandchildren and great grandchildren; a feat he achieved beyond imagination. In his versatile life after Josephine, Alfio also became the family baker, famous for his chocolate cakes, wine cakes, “unknown cakes,” banana breads and muffins. He likewise mastered many, many recipes that became family favorites. Also in his later years he became adept at the computer and regularly emailed with friends and family, skyped, conducted his personal affairs, and “youtubed” his favorite concerts, comedies and other muses.

Alfio travelled widely in his retirement, and along with trips to Italy, he visited such places as Israel, Egypt, Ireland, Spain, and areas throughout the US, including adventurous travels with his children both in and outside the US.

In 2013 Alfio relocated to the Albany area, purchasing a home in the Town of Guilderland, NY, to live closer to his children. Alfio celebrated his 92nd birthday in September. While over the past year he faced many major medical challenges, Alfio led a full, devoted and beautiful life ‘til the day of his passing into new life.

It is fitting to emphasize Alfio’s great and lifelong pride of being an American. He proudly flew the flag, always commended his country as “the best in the world,” made voting and close following of public affairs a high priority, and was ever-appreciative and supportive of veterans for their great public service.

Alfio will be remembered most for his faith, love of family, soft Sicilian accent, masterful barbering, sense of humor and storytelling, and the gracious, generous extension of himself to others. He will also be remembered for his fortitude, courage, unwillingness to ever yield to adversity, and strong, immovable line between right and wrong, excellence and mediocrity, sincerity and superficiality. Alfio, was by all measures, the real deal. May his spirit always walk and grace both heaven and earth.

Alfio was predeceased by his wife, Josephine, and is survived by his children and their spouses: Joseph and Elaine (McHenry) Cardillo; Maria (Cardillo) and Christopher Conover; Alfredo and Cathy (Klotz) Cardillo; and Doreen (Cardillo) and Barry Bedaw. He is also survived by his beloved grandchildren and spouses Amanda (Conover) and Nicholas Stygar; Rachael (Conover) and Juan Torres; Jason and Krystel (Laurel) Conover; Sarah (Cardillo) and Colin Field-Eaton; Anna (Cardillo) and Gregory White; Joseph Cardillo; Isabella and Veronica Cardillo; Marcy, Ally, Emily, Ryan and Brandon Bedaw; and two great grandchildren: Lorenzo Torres and Luke Stygar. Alfio is also survived by his dearly-loved Sister, Maria (Cardillo) Zagami in Sicily (with whom he “skyped” weekly), treasured nieces and nephews and their children, including Paul and Susan (Blood) Zagami and children; Rose (Zagami) and Craig Cole and children; Salvatore Zagami and children; Joseph Zagami and children; Grazia (Zagami) Ruma and children; Maria Zagami; many cousins in Italy and Australia; and other relatives and close friends in the US. He was predeceased by his sister Sarah and her husband Agatino Zagami, and his brother-in-law Paolo Zagami of Sicily.

The family wishes to thank the many friends and neighbors whose support for Alfio was precious. The family also deeply thanks the professional caregivers who assisted Alfio with his medical needs that became especially important in his final months, including his primary physician, Dr. Carmen Giuliano, his CNA Nathanial Brown whose attentive, devoted and expert care helped make Alfio’s care at home of the highest quality, the Eddy VNA’s superlative nurses and therapists, the wonderful staff of Anytime Homecare, Our Lady of Mercy’s rehab team, the staff of St. Peter’s Hospital, and the staff of Community Hospice.

Alfio’s great wish is to establish a charitable fund for needy children from proceeds of his estate. To contribute, please email for information on how to place a donation.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, November 19, 2016, at St. Bartholomew's Church, where Rev. Ralph A. Bove, pastor, will officiate. Friends may call at the Wilson Funeral Home on Friday from 5:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. Burial will immediately follow at St. Paul's Cemetery. Members of the Ave Maria Guild/Rosary Society will recite the Rosary at 4:30 p.m. at the funeral home. Friends are also invited to call on Saturday from 9:00 a.m. until the time of the Mass at St. Bartholomew’s Church.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Alfio Cardillo, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

First Visitation

Friday, November 18, 2016

5:00 - 7:00 pm (Eastern time)

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Second Visitation

Saturday, November 19, 2016

9:00 - 10:00 am (Eastern time)

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Saturday, November 19, 2016

Starts at 10:00 am (Eastern time)

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