Vincent Bello Jr. remembers those years when his Marine veteran dad, Vincent Bello Sr., was his foreman on the Revlon Building’s plumbing renovation job that the two worked together in the late 1980s.
"He was tough on me. It was tough love," the son said Tuesday. "He was harder on me than the rest of the crew."
Vincent Bello Sr., of North Babylon, died Sunday at age 83 at the Belair Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in North Bellmore, where he had been getting physical therapy for his back, the younger Bello said.
The cause of death has not been determined but Bello had had two open-heart surgeries in the past, his son said.
Vincent Bello Sr. — "my mother called him Vincent; other people called him Vinny or Vin," Bello Jr. said — was born March 26, 1937, in the Harlem section of Manhattan. He was the youngest of three children of John Bello, who owned a dry cleaner, and Mary Matturo, the head chef of a hotel.
The family, Catholics and first-generation Americans of Italian ancestry, had moved to Pittsburgh when Bello Sr. was young. He served in the U.S. Marine Corps, with stints in Asia, and moved back to New York after leaving the service.
He married the former Marie Aloisi on Oct. 23, 1960. The two had begun dating in 1959. The couple had an apartment in Queens Village, then moved to North Babylon in 1964 "and remained [there] for the rest of his life," the family said in an email.
"The two families knew each other because they were both born in Harlem," the email said.
He joined the plumbers trade union at the behest of his wife’s family. As a union plumber, Bello worked jobs throughout Manhattan and the Bronx, mostly as a foreman. Among the many construction and renovation jobs he worked were the Revlon Building and Misericordia Hospital in the Bronx.
Heart problems led Bello to go out on disability at age 50, his son said. He then began attending church during the week, instead of on the weekend.
"He went to church every day at 8 o’clock Mass," Bello Jr. said, "except on the days I took him to Atlantic City to play dice."
The father and son would fly down to New Jersey, traveling to Harrah’s Casino, for overnight trips for the past seven years. It was a way to get him out of the house, particularly once his wife died.
"He’s very good at math and the game’s all about math. He’s a good thrower of the dice. He’s very quick with numbers," the son recalled of his dad and craps, their dice game, in which wagers are made on the outcome of a roll or a series of rolls.
The elder Bello was also an avid bowler, playing in a men’s league at Babylon Bowl on Sunrise Highway.
His wife predeceased him in 2013.
Besides Vincent Bello Jr., he is survived by his daughter Lisa Bonventre of West Babylon, son John Bello of West Islip, his sister, Annette Roland of Pittsburgh and two grandchildren. Another brother died around age 9.
The wake is Friday at Noce Funeral Home in West Babylon from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., with the funeral Saturday at 9 a.m. at Our Lady of Grace Roman Catholic Church in West Babylon, his parish, and burial at St. Charles Catholic Cemetery in Farmingdale.