A 95-year resident of Santa Barbara, Vincent Cavallero peacefully passed away surrounded by his family on July 18, 2018. He was born on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada on November 8, 1922 to Cecilia Becchio Cavallero and Frank Cavallero, immigrants from the Piedmont region of Northern Italy. At the age of four months, he and his parents moved to Santa Barbara. He and his younger brother, Raymond grew up speaking the Piemontese dialect. He was proud of his Italian heritage and encouraged his daughters’ bilingualism, travel to Italy and to maintain their Italian family connections.
He attended Franklin and Jefferson Elementary Schools, Santa Barbara Junior High School and graduated from Santa Barbara High School in 1940. While at SBHS he and other students walked up the Riviera to take classes with Francesco Franceschi, which inspired his love of gardening and nature. He played violin at an early age and continued through high school. His love of music made him a great dancer and he later taught his daughters to dance. His mechanical ability was evident as a young boy.
Following welding classes at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, he took his skills to work on the liberty ships preparing for WWII. He was drafted into the Army Air Corps and spent 27 months in the Pacific Theater; the Philippines and the jungles of New Guinea. Later, he witnessed the surrender of Japan. Upon his return from WWII, he married Cristina Tonietto and together they had two daughters. He joined the Santa Barbara City Fire Department in 1947 and due to his keen mechanical aptitude was promoted to Master Mechanic and the rank of Captain. He served the SBFD for 37 years, during which time he designed and wrote the specifications for new fire equipment. Upon his retirement he was called back to consult for the City.
He was a 70-year member of Santa Barbara Masonic Lodge #192, Scottish Rite, SB Shrine Club, SB Elks Lodge and was a charter member of the SBHS Alumni Association.
He is survived by his two daughters Diana Rheinisch, Gloria Cavallero (Bruce Belfiore); grandchildren, Erik Rheinisch (Sorya), Cristian Rheinisch, Siana Belfiore (Bruna), William Belfiore; great-granddaughter, Scarlette Rheinisch and brother, Raymond Cavallero (Lois) and three nephews. His parents and son-in-law, Frank Rheinisch, predeceased him.
Vince’s family wishes to thank the caregivers at Oak Cottage, the entire professional team at Heritage House for their loving care and the extraordinary team of Assisted Hospice of SB. A funeral service will be held at the Santa Barbara Cemetery Chapel on August 9, 2018 at 11 am with interment following. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to SBHS Alumni Association for campus horticultural beautification,P.O. Box 6121, Santa Barbara, CA 93160 or Assisted Hospice of SB.