They were only 16 when they met at a picnic in their native Pittsburgh and it was more than a moment of kismet.
Indeed, after Leona Marchetti and Tony Deandrea met, only his two-year stint in the Army that began when he turned 18, could keep them apart.
But six months after Tony came home, he and Leona got married and recently celebrated 60 years of marital bliss that began with a big Italian church wedding and a two-week honeymoon in Miami.
When Leona, part of the first set of triplets born at Pittsburgh’s Mercy Hospital, and Tony started out as a twosome, they even had similar careers – he a men’s hairstylist and she a hairdresser
But after leaving Western Pennsylvania for Ahwatukee in 1995, Leona eventually gave up the salon trade and became a special needs assistant at Desert Vista High School for five years.
Though she is now fully retired, her husband can’t quite part from the trade he learned in 1960 after deciding he didn’t like being in the tool-and-die business.
He kept on styling men’s hair to this day, at age 83, five years after he quit full-time work because of a bad back.
“He loves his work,” Leona said. “It’s not a job to him and his clients love him and he loves them.”
“He has quite a following,” she added proudly. “When he gives a haircut to a man, it never changes. It’s the same all the time. And it someone has problem issues with their hair, he’s able to detect the problem and correct it.”
Along the way, the Deandreas also raised three sons – Tony, Larry and Robert – and now delight in watching four grandchildren grow.
The couple actually moved to Ahwatukee partly because of their first grandchild – that and the fact their sons persuaded them that living closer to them in weather that is generally more agreeable than Pittsburgh’s made good sense.
And one thing they didn’t leave behind was a deep love and respect for each other.
They both like to go out dancing a lot, some traveling and movies – especially “good, clean comedies.”
And when asked what the secret of their long love affair is, Leona didn’t hesitate with a response:
“Our faith in Jesus Christ, respect for each other, trust, communication and humor.”