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91-year-old cobbler Vincenzo DiRado retiring after 80 years of repairing shoes

Braintree cobbler Vincenzo DiRado retiring at age 91
Braintree cobbler Vincenzo DiRado retiring at age 91 02:14

BRAINTREE - After spending nearly 80 years as a cobbler, a Braintree craftsman is hanging up his apron. He believes he's one of the few remaining tradesmen in a dying profession.

Vincenzo DiRado is 91 years old. He came to the United States in 1966 after his family fled their home in Italy during World War II. For months they hid with another family in the countryside. Shortly after that, he took up cobbling in 1944.

Braintree cobbler Vincenzo DiRado
Cobbler Vincenzo DiRado works in his Braintree shop CBS Boston

"We have to do everything from scratch," smiles DiRado.

When he moved to the area, he opened a store in East Milton. For the last 13 years, he has been working out of a shop in Braintree. A few years ago, he broke his hip, and it has begun to impede his ability to work. He is also stepping aside to take care of his wife who is beginning to lose her memory.

Vincenzo DiRado
Cobbler Vincenzo DiRado and his wife  CBS Boston

"We have to take care of each other. Now in the morning when I put my socks on, she puts my socks on," laughs DiRado.

Vincenzo expects to close his doors for good in about a month. He believes cobbling and shoe repair is a dying trade, however his customers don't seem to think so. While we were there speaking with him, he had customers show up every five to 10 minutes. Each one came by for work and a hug goodbye. 

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