Community farewells our former barber

News of Sam Turano’s death rocked many people in the south-west community and customers have commemorated the beloved barber.

It came as a surprise because he was so energetic and active.

His son Carlo Turano is also battling ill health with a tumour on his ear – his second tumour after surviving the removal of a brain tumour some time ago.

On September 12 Sam suffered a stroke and died on October 30, at 85.

A tribute from the new shop-owner was placed in the window of Carlo & Sam's Barber shop and during the funeral procession a rose was placed on the shop door.

The procession ended in Liverpool where he was buried next to his wife.

Sam’s son Carlo told us it would’ve meant a lot to him – as a proud business-owner in the area from 1962 right through to 2007.

“He bought the business off a gentlemen who established it in 1932.

“I took over the business in 1989 and in 2007 I got a brain tumour and sold it to my apprentice, David Yarza.

“I began cutting hair at 11 – my father and I were very close and I was keen to follow in his footsteps.”

When asked about why he loved being a barber he said it was quite simple, he loved being part of the community.

“It’s about meeting people, hearing different stories and it was nice being part of something bigger.

“I live in Horsley Park but I was born in Fairfield Hospital and now I have four children who I brought up here, too.”

Carlo said despite his father’s age his death was not expected at the time because of his endurance and sheer determination.

He gave us another seven weeks and then he was transferred to Fairfield Hospital and they were just wonderful there. He had bleeding to the brain but fought and fought until he got a bug and that’s what ended him.

Carlo Turano, son and fellow barber

“It was a big shock. He was fit and always on the go – if you talk to people they say: ‘No, I just saw him walking around the other day!’

“He had a stroke while in his holiday spot and, unfortunately, he was on his own.

“I used to check up on him every day and one day I couldn’t get in touch with him so I was worried and called the neighbour who went in and found him on the floor.

“He gave us another seven weeks and then he was transferred to Fairfield Hospital and they were just wonderful there. He had bleeding to the brain but fought and fought until he got a bug and that’s what ended him.

“We’re a very close traditional Italian family. My mother passed away 19 years ago and so my father had lost his wife for a long time.”

Carlo said selling the family business was tough but he’s still cutting. “It’s hard because this was my life but due to balance problems and rehab commitments I had to learn to walk again.

“It took four months to get on my feet after the brain surgery and now I’m doing lawnmowing – so I’m still cutting in a way – just grass, not hair! I studied horticulture. I sold the business to David because I wanted to sell it to someone who’d continue its good reputation and for that person to have pride for the area.

It took four months to get on my feet after the brain surgery and now I’m doing lawn-mowing – so I’m still cutting in a way – just grass, not hair!

Carlo Turano

“My father’s wishes have been just to keep the shop going the way it has been and I’ve got to say David’s been a champion. He’s gone beyond expectations.”

However, he said it will be the little things he did with his father that he’ll miss.

“Every fortnight me and my father would cut each other’s hair until he got the stroke. He was 85 and up until this year he was diagnosed with dementia so he was a bit glassy-eyed. I hope David will cut my hair now. He’s like my little brother.”

But Carlo’s still on a long road to recovery.

He was recently diagnosed with another tumour on his ear.

“I’ve just been diagnosed with an acoustic neuroma but it’s not in my brain this time.

“It’s small right now but I’ve got a great neurologist who’s taking care of me. Thank God they picked it up early.”

He said nothing could compare to the big brain tumour he had removed 10 years ago.

“I found out about the brain tumour through a tooth – I had a black filling and thought I’d get a porcelain one instead because it didn’t look too good.

“But that didn’t work so the dentist put a crown on it instead which was another failure.

“The last resort was root canal therapy and during that I nearly fainted.

“I developed a tooth infection and was suffering headaches.

“I couldn’t finish a marathon I’d been training for and was sent to the hospital in an ambulance midway. 

“At the hospital I got a brain-scan during a routine checkup and that’s when they found the brain tumour which was about 22mm on the back of my cerebellum.

“So I stayed in hospital and three days later I had the surgery to remove it. It made me off-balance so it’s taken a long time to recover.

“But I still have my wife, my children and a second family with David and his shop.”

Mr Yarza said the shop’s been going well. “I’m pretty happy, I wouldn’t give it up for anything. The business has snowballed in a way – there’s a new generation of apprentices and customers.

“At one time it wasn’t cool to go to the barber’s but it is now so men are going back to their roots.”

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