gmhTODAY Spring 2022 - Page 42

A Superman and Super Dad ... continued
“ Sal was more of a best friend than a father-in-law ,” Duke said . “ We , Gina and I , got together in high school and we ’ ve been just tight knit ever since .” The trio worked extremely well together .
“ We were like the Three Musketeers ,” Gina added .
Sal succumbed to cancer on November 21 , 2021 . His passing took place just days after his and Victoria ’ s 34th wedding anniversary . He was 66 years old . “ After all of the years of working together and running our business , our love grew deeper ,” Victoria said . “ We maintained patience , understanding , and a mutual respect for each other .” The night of Sal ’ s passing he was at home , surrounded by his loved ones who took turns holding his hand . “ We were all with him , my husband , my mom , and I ,” Gina said . “ We feel he actually waited for my husband – who was still at work – because he passed in his arms .”
Sal ’ s biggest worry while sick was that the family business would fail if something happened to him . The Gilroy community has not let that happen .
“ He was so proud of the fact that his business was so successful and such a part of the Gilroy community ,” Victoria said . “ During his illness , the community stepped up to support him and our family .”
The entire family is grateful . “ The community of Gilroy supported my dad for over forty years . That ' s very important to us , as it was to him ,” Gina said . “ He knew how much he was loved … then in his ultimate battle , he was supported by this beautiful community in his fight . It was such an honor for him to serve the Gilroy community for so long .”
That support came about due to Sal ’ s treatment of his patrons . “ He made a lot of friends here , they were more than customers , they were friends ,” Duke said . “ God definitely gained an angel when he called Sal home ,” Barrett said .
Now the reins of the family business are in the hands of Victoria , Gina , and Duke . “ I ’ m going to do all I can to make the business succeed ,” Duke said .
“ Sal knew that no matter what happened , Gilroy would continue to support Pinocchio ’ s Pizza and our family , and for this , we are forever grateful ,” Victoria said .
His family , who visits him every day at the cemetery , will never forget the strength he exhibited all throughout this difficult battle , or in life . “ We go talk to him every day before work ,” Gina said .
“ The pizza parlor brings me a lot of peace , this is where my dad is , this is where my heart is ,” Gina added . “ All he wanted was for this business to succeed after he was gone … and now that ’ s my goal .”
42 SPRING 2022 gmhTODAY Magazine gmhtoday . com