Obituary: Carmelo “Chee-Bay” Guastello

April 11, 1923 – February 4, 2023

Chee-Bay exemplified that LOVE is all that matters.

With a heart full of gratitude, Carmelo “Chee-Bay” Guastello, 99 years, peacefully went home on February 4, 2023, to dance with his “Honey” Rose Vigliaturo Guastello, with whom he shared 77.7 years of love. Carmelo, born April 11, 1923 to Mario and Josephine Guastello, immigrants from Ragusa, Sicily, lived his entire life in the North End. He became a legend. The pride and joy of Chee-Bay’s life were his beautiful wife, Rose Vigliaturo, and his wonderful children Michael, Frank, Jo Marie and Paul. This man, as well as his family, considered him the most BLESSED man on the planet!

His mother called him “Quebay,” Italian for “What do you want, honey?” His friends heard Chee-Bay and that name stuck! His entrepreneurial spirit emerged early, selling KC newspapers, which he “bought $0.02 cents, sold for $0.03—making a 33.3% profit.”

His love story with Rose Vigliaturo began when they met at a mixer at Manual High School.  He always said if wasn’t for dancing, he never would have met his Honey, whom he considered his greatest blessing in life. After he was drafted, and while serving as a medic in England during World War II, their love letters flew back and forth over the ocean. On July, 12, 1943, their marriage at Holy Rosary Church officially sealed their bond while he was home on furlough.

When he returned, Chee-Bay purchased Gillis Sundries on the corner of Pacific and Gillis. For more than 40 years, “The Home of the Dogs” came alive with stories and memories, a tradition living on today as Happy Gillis restaurant.  It’s fitting that the intersection of Pacific and Gillis is known as Chee-Bay Way!

Chee-Bay, a devoted husband and dedicated father, was a gentleman’s gentleman – kind, grateful, positive, faithful, affirming and incredibly gentle. Two characteristic shine as virtues in this man: he loved and excelled at dancing and he was a compulsive cleaner of his beloved Troost Street.

Chee-Bay is predeceased by his loving wife, Rose; brother & sister-in-law George and Mary Guastello; brother Joseph (Nehi), sister Marie Guastello, great-grandson Anthony Paul Guastello; and numerous and dear Vigliaturo in-laws and “out-laws” (according to Chee-Bay).

Chee-Bay leaves his children: Michael (Frances), Frank (Carol), Jo Marie, and Paul (Gloria); seven grandchildren: Father Michael John Guastello and Joseph (Anna) Guastello; Jennifer (Troy) Parks and Melissa (Nick) Allinder, P.J. (Jo Marie) Guastello, Teressa (Mike) Mason, Carl (Marah) Guastello; and twelve great grandchildren: Joseph, Ava Rose, Anthony & John Guastello; Charlie, Jayden & Michael Mason; Andrew Parks; Leo and Gracie Rose Guastello; Giavanna RoseMarie and Milania Virginia Guastello.

From baptism to death, Chee-Bay’s religious life was centered at Holy Rosary Church, where visitation will be on Wednesday, February 8, from 9 a.m. to noon, followed by Reflections at 12:15 p.m., and the Mass of Christian Burial at 12:30 p.m. Burial will be at Resurrection Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Mercy Beyond Borders or to the Sisters of Mercy.

Pallbearers: Joe Guastello, P.J. / Paul Guastello, John Carl Guastello, Joseph Guastello Jr., Charlie Mason, Andrew Parks, George Guastello, Frank Vincent Vigliaturo, Joe Mike Fiorello, Hung Bui.

Honorary Pallbearers: Carmen Vigliaturo, Mario Guastello, Joe Richard Guastello, Fred Bonadonna, John Strada, Joe Porrello, Joe Vigliaturo (deceased), Tom Miele (deceased).

Special thanks to compassionate and loving caregivers at Addington Placewho said Chee-Bay was one of the kindest, sweetest and most handsome gentleman they had ever met. Those of us who knew and loved him wholeheartedly agree.

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