“It is with great sadness and a very heavy heart that I inform you of the passing of Fred Piattoni--past executive director/show manager, president, lifelong member and great friend of Cosmetologists Chicago,” wrote Cosmetologists Chicago and America’s Beauty Show CEO Paul Dykstra to the Board of Directors and past presidents of the 15,000-member organization on December 1, 2016. Services are pending.
Following are Paul’s remembrances and thoughts on the career of this extraordinary industry icon.
“Fred reached 90 years of age on November 19, 2016 and in fact, many CC members attended his birthday celebration November 20 in Wauconda, IL. He was a lifelong member of CC having joined the organization shortly after being licensed in the late 1940s, following his military service in the US Navy during World War II. At one point, he owned 10 salons throughout Chicagoland known as “The Powder Puff.”
“He served as CC’s (then known as Chicago Cosmetologists Association—CCA) president in 1967-68. He later became Executive Director in the late 1970s when Bill Smith, president of CC’s former management firm Smith Bucklin & Associates, sought assistance from the industry to resolve the problems the agency was experiencing in managing the association -- especially the Midwest Beauty Show…now of course known as America’s Beauty Show, and soon reaching its 100th year.
“Fred’s leadership brought CCA and its fully owned beauty show to new heights. In fact, Fred turned around a boycott by the then powerful manufacturers’ representatives who refused to support our beauty show due to the failed management and sales policies of the management agency. It was a major coup and was talked about for years following his work in this regard. Fred worked as a Smith, Bucklin & Associates employee for more than 18 years – the first for an executive director of CCA.
“Fred was an avid fisherman, award-winning gardener, stunningly talented hairdresser, brilliant businessman, husband to the amazing Mary, father of four (Susan, Louie, Lori and Gary), grandfather of three, and friend of the majority of CCA’s past leadership.
“He was truly my mentor, confidante, friend, advisor and probably surrogate father,” added Dykstra. “His words of wisdom and guidance were always matter of fact, direct, honest and supportive, along with a bit of exterior gruffness!
“Many of us have commented on his keen wisdom, especially one item we’ve all remembered – “Don’t be afraid to ask for anything CCA needs. After all, all they can say is no! And that won’t hurt you or us.’
“I wish him a peaceful eternal rest and thank him for everything he taught, as he always said, “the little piano player from South Dakota...” Here’s to you always Fred with great thanks, love and a heavy, heavy heart filled with sadness and smiles for all the amazing memories.”