Valentino William Nardo, Sr.
Mr. Valentino William Nardo, Sr., age 93, of Wilmington, DE, formerly of Newark, DE, passed away on Monday, March 5, 2012.
A beloved local community leader and lifelong crusader against hunger, Val was the founder of the famed “Val’s Needy Family Fund,” an organization dedicated to feeding the needy since 1968. His commitment to caring for others was his driving passion; through his hard work, unfailing optimism, and boundless generosity, he provided food to thousands of people over the years and inspired many others to take up the important work of assisting the less fortunate among us. Val’s Needy Family Fund would later become a part of the Newark Area Welfare Committee, which received from Val over $5,000 worth of canned goods, fruit, and bread each year for their Holiday Food Box program.
Val also supported the Meals on Wheels program sponsored by the Newark Senior Center, providing hot, nutritious meals to the homebound.
For his many years of selfless service to the community, Val was twice honored with the prestigious Jefferson Award, most recently in 2007. In the early 1970s, he was also named Delaware Man of the Year by then-Senator (now Vice President) Joe Biden.
Val was a native Delawarean, born in Wilmington on February 19, 1919, son of the late Fiore Santo Nardo and Maria Rose Gioffre Nardo. He proudly served his country as a Quartermaster in the US Army during World War II. In civilian life, Val made his career as a barber; he owned and operated “The Hairtaker,” a popular Newark barber shop for 20 years until his retirement.
A devout Catholic, Val was a longtime member of St. John’s-Holy Angels parish, where he served as a Eucharistic Minister. Recently, he and his wife of 71 years, Mary, were honored by the Catholic Marriage Encounter as the longest married couple in the diocese.
Val was an active member of the Knights of Columbus, the Kiwanis Club, the Newark Morning Rotary Club, and the Newark Lions Club. A gifted musician, he delighted audiences for many years playing violin in the Val Nardo Duo and also playing for the church choir. In his rare leisure hours, Val could often be found tending the lovely garden around his home or playing golf with friends.
A devoted husband and a loving father, he is survived by his beloved wife, Mary Smith Nardo; children, Valentino W. Nardo, Jr. (Kathleen M.) of W. Palm Beach, FL, Rick V. Nardo of Newark, DE, Stephen F. Nardo of Newark, DE, Roseann Opalach (Joseph J.) of New Castle, DE, Patricia Deichert of Wilmington, DE, and Mary Jo Nardo of Wilmington, DE; grandchildren, Joseph J. Opalach, Jr., David A. Opalach, Eve A. Stonek, Jessica L. Clendaniel, Danielle I. Nardo, Barbara Anna Colon, Melissa J. Zdrojewski, Robert J. Diechert III, Nicholas J. Nardo, and Jesse M. Nardo; and nine great grandchildren. In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by siblings, Josephine Mercuri, Fiore Nardo, Jr., Frank Nardo, Joseph Nardo, and Daniel Nardo.
Visitation will be held from 10 am to 11:45 am on Friday, March 9, 2012, at Holy Angels R.C. Church, 82 Possum Park Road, Newark, DE. Mass of Christian Burial will follow at 12 noon. Entombment will be in Cathedral Cemetery, 2400 Lancaster Ave., Wilmington, DE.
In lieu of flowers, contributions in memory of Val may be made to Val’s Needy Family Fund, c/o Newark Area Welfare Committee, P.O. Box 951, Newark, DE 19715-0951.