Olindo Bruno, 88; Worked in the garment industry


By Albert Amateau

Olindo Bruno, who worked for many years in the garment industry and lived in the South Village most of his life, died Tues., Jan. 4, in Mercy Medical Center in Lynbrook, L.I., at the age of 88.

Known simply as Bruno to his many friends and Sullivan St. neighbors, Olindo Giovanni Antonio Bruno was born on a farm in Avellino Province, Italy, to Michele and Elvira Iannone Bruno. Michele Bruno, who had been born on Mulberry St. while his parents were visiting relatives, returned to New York in 1928. Two years later, Olindo, who was then 8 years old, and the rest of the family, joined him.

In an affecting tribute to Olindo, his son, Russell Bruno, wrote about the family history. Olindo, his mother and maternal grandfather sailed from the port of Naples for New York in 1930 to join his father, who had been wounded by mustard gas during World War I as a soldier in the Italian Army. His father died in 1932 when Olindo was 10 years old.

In 1949, Olindo married Jeanette Barbera in Old St. Patrick’s Cathedral on Mott St. and the couple began raising their family in Little Italy. Olindo supported the family by selling and transporting textiles in the Garment District. He would occasionally bring material home to Jeanette, who made tablecloths, drapery and even the gown that she wore to their eldest son’s wedding, Russell wrote.

The family moved from Little Italy to Sullivan St. in the South Village in 1963 around the corner from St. Anthony’s School. Olindo’s talent for making close friends in the neighborhood and the Garment District never ceased to amaze his children, Russell wrote.

“In Coney Island he knew the guys that served franks at Nathan’s and the guys who operated the carousel. Back at Katz’s on Houston St. he knew the guys who made the sandwiches,” Russell wrote.

At the end of 1974, Jeanette Bruno became ill with cancer and died in September 1975 shortly before her 44th birthday. The loss was devastating for Olindo but family and friends helped heal his grief. His nephew Vincent Valerio and Vincent’s wife, Louise, became especially close and helped him cope with a heart problem that developed 10 years ago. Olindo continued making friends with new people who were moving into the neighborhood, Russell wrote.

“My dad loved Greenwich Village,” Russell said.

Olindo lived in an assisted-living residence in Lynbrook, L.I., for the past three years.

In addition to Russell, of Bayport, L.I., two other sons, Michael, of Staten Island, and Emanuele, of Merrick, L.I., and a daughter, Elvira Urgo, of Staten Island, survive. Nine grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren also survive. The wake was at Perazzo Funeral Home, 199 Bleecker St., on Fri., Jan. 7, and the funeral was Sat., Jan. 8, at St. Anthony’s Church on Sullivan St.