|Vic Cabillis, On Third Avenue, Bronx, NY, February 2013|
Vic at his usual haunt, checking out the neighborhood; hard to keep a good man down.
At 8:13 am this morning, the Bronx lost one of its true, unsung heroes, when Vic Cabillis died of pneumonia in the apartment he kept directly above his sign shop on Third Avenue. Vic was 86 years old, a lover of the Bronx, and one who knew the Borough intimately, always enjoyed talking about it and recounting its past in great specificity to anybody interested.
|Vic Cabillis, On City Island, Bronx, NY, March 2010|
As part of our introduction to the Bronx, Vic drove us out to see City Island for our first time.
|Vic Cabillis, On his office phone, Bronx, NY, 2011|
A typical pose: phone to ear (he loved to talk, whether with clients or friends), an open-faced smile, and the ubiquitous Yankee cap (of which he had at least one for every day).
|Vic Cabillis, Taking care of business while on the street, 3rd. Avenue, Bronx, NY, 2011|
|Vic Cabillis, Catching up on the local news, 3rd. Avenue, Bronx, NY, February 2013|
Eva and Morris met at a Greek dance and, as is so often said, “the rest is history,” or at least a prototypical history of immigrant life in America. Vic and his sister, Shirlee, are typical of the productive, assimilated children of immigrant parents.
|Vic Cabillis & Shirlee Paganetti, Bronx, NY, late 2011|
Shirlee (up from Florida for a visit) and Vic stop by our place around the corner for a chat.
I think that Vic took pleasure in being politically incorrect. He would give voice to old, stale biases in regard to Hispanic and Black people, even as he hired them, trained them, and stayed loyal to them in his business. I came to the conclusion that everyone understood that what he said was quite separate from what he actually did, and that he and his workers shared a mutual respect for each other.
|Vic Cabillis and his trusted friend, David, Bronx, NY, December 2012|
Vic was losing energy, but mustered himself for a journey to Lehman College to see a show of paintings of the Bronx by William P. Folchi.
|Vic Cabillis & Virginia, Bronx, NY, January 2013|
Virginia (one of the many "babes") is one of Vic's in-house caretakers for his last half-year on a visit to our place.
|Vic Cabillis, Painting the Brooklyn Bridge, Bronx, NY, January 2013|
In the background is Vic's grand-niece, Ariana, who was using his third floor for a play rehearsal.
|Vic Cabillis, Painting Van Gogh's, Bronx, NY, February 2013|
|Vic Cabillis, Painting after Vermeer's Milkmaid|
|Vic Cabillis, Painting after Constable|
|Vic Cabillis, Painting after Matisse|
I asked him what he remembered most at the fair, and he told me the GM Pavilion, for which they had to “wait an hour or two” to get in. I'm sure that was the case, because this was the most interesting and innovative pavilion of the fair. Still, he was short on specifics. However, Vic elaborated at great lengths on their mode of transportation from the Bronx to the fair in Queens, using old fashioned clip-on roller skates. By the time they arrived at 10:00 am, when the gates opened, the cheap, metal wheels of their skates had been ground down and resembled irregular squares more than circles. When they were finally escorted off the grounds, well after closing (Vic said 2:00 a.m., a likely exaggeration), they had to rely on the help of a policeman who convinced a subway attendant to let these three rascals on a train home.
|New York World's Fair, 1939, GM Pavilion, design by Norman Bel Geddes|
|Vintage, Clip-on roller skates|
|Vic Cabillis, Bronx, NY, 2013|
|Vic Cabillis, Bronx, NY, 2013|
Vic is survived by his sister, Shirlee Paganetti; his son, Marc Cabillis and his two daughters, Jodie Iagnocco and Nori Connell; his grandchildren, Chelsea, Elyssa, Brian, Evania, Cortney, Alex, and Matthew; and many nieces, nephews and cousins.
Services will be held at the Mount Sinai Chapel on Tuesday, July 23, at 12:45 p.m. The Sinai Chapels are located at 162-05 Horace Harding Expressway (the service road of the Long Island Expressway) in Fresh Meadows, Queens.
|Vic Cabillis, Trying on a headdress made from sneakers by Bronx artist Sean Paul Gallegos, 2012|