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Legacy of Louis Tesio

Legacy of Louis Tesio
By Theresa L. Verhaalen.

                     Louis Tesio was born in New York on July 29, 1896. He had 2 younger brothers, Frank (AKA Frankie), John, and a sister, Nina.

He was the oldest of his siblings. He grew up speaking Italian. His mother and father were from the Pimontese region of Italy (Torino).

During World War I, he served in the US Army in Fort Humphrey, VA but saw little combat. An interesting side note is he made time to be good-hearted to the 100 Chinese laborers under him. They built trenches to protect the troops. He was proud to serve his country, and wore the doughboy uniform typical of the time.

His brother Frank died very young, at the age of 19 from an infection he had sustained as a child that had never healed properly. It was thought to be blood poisoning. As the family solemnly went about their business while he was in the hospital, the glowing mantle from the gas lamp came loose and slowly floated down. A moment later, they received the phone call that their beloved son and brother had died. It was taken especially hard, as Frank was believed to have been the most musically gifted of the entire family. He had even had a concert at Carnegie Hall. The mysterious injury that led to his untimely death happened as result of a fall from a 2-wheeled bicycle as a child. It was a knee injury that had never properly healed.

Louis always had a spot in his heart that never got over his baby brother's death and it manifested itself by his being overprotective of his daughter, Anita. She was never allowed to ride a bicycle.

Louis was married to Theresa Yuhass in August 1929. They had a modest reception following the ceremony in Hoboken, NJ. They were married at an older age than most couples, he was 37 and she was 26. Their only child, Anita, was born August 26, 1939. As it was a difficult pregnancy and birth, they didn't have any other children.

One of the places they grew up in was the Bronx, NY. He followed in the footsteps of his father and became a musician. He owned a music store, Tesio Music, which his father had begun and gave lessons to the neighborhood children. He was a member of the Musician's Local 802 and a member of ASCAP - The American Society of Composers and Publishers. He had to submit original compositions with his application at that time.

During the Great Depression, a man had come to him begging for work. But Louis had none to offer him, so he had him play at an event with other band members. He used resin on the bow of a violin, and the man "played" with the band, getting paid for his "work". My grandfather was known for acts of kindness like these.

He didn't believe in discrimination or racism. No matter where he went, he tipped his hat to all women, proffering common courtesy as an example to others. He favored the Adams hat, which was a black fedora with a short selection of feathers on one side.

During his life, Louis saw a great history unfold. As a child, there were no such things as cars, television, or computers. He saw the horse and buggy method of transportation become the car. He also witnessed the first manned space flight, the early age of computers, and electronic music make its way into the mainstream.

Even in his later years, he came to appreciate emerging music trends, even heavy metal. "It has a beat," he said. He attributes his long life to hard work, not smoking, an occasional drink, and the power of prayer. A devout Catholic, he kept himself close to the Lord. "It is important to understand someone else's viewpoint, even if you do not agree with it. You may not like what they do, but always seek to understand what makes them do it." It was the greatest lesson he ever taught me. He died on July 31, 1979 of liver cancer.

Theresa L. Verhaalen

[i]© Copyright USLegacies 1996-2020[/i]

Theresa L. Verhaalen is a freelance writer from New Jersey.

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