Published: Saturday, July 14, 2012 at 3:23 p.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, July 14, 2012 at 3:23 p.m.
Robert Victor “Bob” Sciaini, a Cloverdale hardware store owner, grapegrower and lumberman, died June 21 at home as a result of heart complications. He was 87.
Sciaini for nearly 30 years owned a hardware store on Cloverdale Boulevard that grew from a tiny storefront in a remodeled garage into a 20,000-square-foot emporium with a dozen employees.
Sciaini was the son of an Italian immigrant father in the timber industry and grew up in the tiny Mendocino County community of Navarro.
He shot his first buck around the age of 10. By the age of 12, he was learning how to fell redwoods and turn them into grape stakes, fence posts and railroad ties.
“His beginning life was so humble,” said his wife Sydney Sciaini. “His house never had a coat of paint on it. There was a rustic outhouse in back. He went to the hotel once a week to take a bath.”
One of the things Sciaini enjoyed about going to Boonville High School is that he could take a shower there every day.
He excelled in boxing and also won a Future Farmers award for his prized white Leghorn chickens. He graduated from high school in 1943 and enlisted in the U.S. Navy, serving as a Seabee during World War II in Guam, where he transported ammunition and supplies.
After the war, he returned to marry his high school sweetheart, Janice Hosea, a marriage that lasted until her death in 1981.
Sciaini built his house in Navarro and together with his father and brother began a logging and trucking company. In 1952, he and his wife moved to Cloverdale where he built a home on School Street and they raised four daughters.
As the logging industry diminished, Sciaini changed vocations, opening up the hardware store in 1962. It became Sciaini Ace Hardware, but the building burned down in 1984 after a compressor was left on overnight and overheated.
It was a spectacular fire with paint cans and ammunition exploding, burnished in the memory of long-time residents.
Sciaini rebuilt on the same site, and by then had married Sydney, his longtime bookkeeper. He sold the business in 1991, but retained the building, which is now the site of Antiques and Uniques run by his wife.
Sciaini also grew grapes on 10 acres he owned on River Road and four acres he acquired later. His chardonnay grapes in the Alexander Valley appellation were bottled under the Souverain label.
He was a hands-on grower, doing the pruning, disc work and applying the sulphur himself. His combination of chicken manure, grape pumice and loam made for “fabulous dirt. The grapes would go crazy,” his wife said.
Sciaini enjoyed hunting and gardening, as well as travel, including repeated visits to his his extended family in the Italian village of Dascio.
He was a member of the Fraternal Order of the Eagles, the Cannibal Club and a former member of the Cloverdale Rotary and Cloverdale Lions Club.
In addition to his wife, he is survived by his daughters, Cathy Sciaini of Palm Springs, Barbara Van Blaricom of Willits, Mary Ann Hoffman of Medford, Ore., Jonie Sciaini and Denaire Nixon both of Cloverdale; and eight grandchildren.
A memorial celebration will be from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. July 21 at Asti Winery in Cloverdale.
In lieu of flowers, contributions are suggested to North County Hospice, 205 East Street, Healdsburg, 95448.
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