In memoriam: Vincent Varallo, Jr.

Vincent “Vince” Varallo, Jr., a recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award from PCRA upon his retirement, passed away on Sept. 8, 2015. Vince’s father, Vincent, Sr., was the first machine stenotypist in Philadelphia City Hall.

Vince started out in the Delaware County court system and then in 1961, after his father’s passing, he left official service to build the successful freelance court reporting business founded by his father. Vince ran Varallo Court Reporting for 45 years, until 2006, when it was acquired and he officially retired.

Over those many years, Vince trained and mentored many court reporters. He was generous with his time and money. He was a founding member of GRACE (Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment), a charitable foundation supporting inner-city children.

Vince is survived by his wife Denise; children Greg and his wife Catherine, Dianne Varallo-Kushmir and her husband Rafi, Ken and his wife Margie; stepsons Jason Smith and Evan Grammenos, grandchildren Danielle, Peter, Michael, Jeffrey, David; great-granddaughter Kaylee Varallo; and brothers Dale Varallo and Scott Ping. His first wife Connie predeceased him.

Some personal reflections:

Donna Cascio, RDR, CMRS: Here is my memory of Vince: A handsome, handsome gentleman of Italian heritage who was kindhearted and especially helpful to young reporters. We looked up to him. He was equally comfortable with the reporting elite of his time as well as the neophyte reporter.

Tiva Wood, RDR, CMRS: I met Vince Varallo at a PCRA convention when I was fairly new to the profession. He was extremely charming, gentle, kind, and always such a gentleman.

When I was planning conventions for PCRA, Vince would always thank me for doing so and compliment our work in putting the seminars together. It meant the world to a young reporter to be appreciated by a respected member of the profession.

Jim Gallagher, RDR: I first met Vince in approximately 1984 when I became director of district seven for PSRA. I scheduled a meeting to address the replacement of official reporters with tape recorders and transcriptionists in Delaware County. Vince attended that meeting, and I was introduced to him. I will never forget the encouragement he gave me and the support that he offered. That encouragement coming from such a respected and well-known reporter from Philadelphia meant a great deal to me, and gave me the courage and confidence to continue our ongoing fight against electronic recording that still exists.

Vince and I became friends as I would see him often at various association activities. He was a great mentor to me and to countless other young court reporters.

Jim DeCrescenzo, RDR, CRR, CLVS: Vince Varallo was the consummate professional in his business dealings and a gentleman personally. I first met Vince in 1972. We worked closely in PSRA and GRA, the General Reporters Association. In the 1970s, GRA was the only organization of friendly competitors in the nation. Vince was a big reason competitors could sit together and not only discuss common issues but enjoy each other’s company.

Vince and Connie Varallo built and ran one of Philadelphia’s premiere court reporting firms. Once you met a reporter at a PCRA function and learned they worked at Varallo, you knew they were well trained and an excellent reporter.

Vince was an active member of PCRA and served as director of district eight. I am honored to have been his friend. His class, dignity, and reporting skills will be missed.

Irv Starkman, RPR: The first time I met Vince Varallo, I looked at him and said, “What a distinguished gentleman.” That was in the late 60s, early 70s. I never changed my opinion in all the years I knew him. He was a class act. Back in the early days, I would go to the Varallo office at night to do practice sessions. I looked around the room and thought, What am I doing here with all these Varallos: Vince, Dale, and Eddie?

Whenever I would go somewhere with Vince, I always felt proud. He was a man of distinction. He came from the heart and would give from the heart.

I remember chairing a convention, and I brought in the Mummers. When I marched into the room with the Mummers, I looked over and Mr. Smooth was on the dance floor doing the Mummers Strut. It did my heart so good to see him out there on the dance floor. He had a ball that night.

We had many lunches and dinners together. It was always a treat for me to be in Vince’s company. I could always voice my opinions. Vince was a very good listener. We professionally bounced things off each other.
I miss you very much, my dear friend. Thank you for everything you did for me over these many years. You were a definite inspiration.

You raised a beautiful family. That will be your legacy.

I am honored to have known you and to call you my friend. Rest in peace.

Neith D. Ecker, RDR, CRR: June 1973 was the second stop in my court reporting career, landing at the doorstep of Vince and Connie Varallo in Philadelphia.

By the time I departed in November 1975, I came away with an immense appreciation for Vince (and his enormously talented family) that continues to this day, 40 years later.

Vince’s calm, reserved, and self-effacing nature, in addition to his talent, was the perfect environment for a young woman from Pottstown to blossom and grow. His office had lots of personality – and personalities – and bunches more of competitive spirit not only among reporters but typists and note readers as well. Who didn’t want to speed-practice every day with these mentors! Every reporter, every typist and note reader was an exceptional talent. Who else but the exceptional could handle those city council hearings back in the day? And yes, we all became part of the Varallo family, encouraging one another to be at our professional best every day.

To Vince’s family and friends: It was a real joy and honor to be part of such a prestigious and downright warm family-run firm, whose excellence was unmatched — an experience that I will cherish for all time.

Thank you, Vince.

Kathy McHugh, RPR, CRR: I met Vince several times over the years, and I remember the last time I saw him was about ten years ago. It was the Saturday before Christmas. Volunteers were delivering toys for the Support Center for Child Advocates. There was only one gift left to be delivered, but it was in the King of Prussia mall area, and no one wanted to go there. Vince arrived, said he’d be happy to deliver the gift and he would finish his Christmas shopping at the same time. We were all so grateful to him.

Dianne M. Varallo-Kushmir: Dad never pushed any of us into the business, although all of us learned steno. My brothers found the business side to be more to their liking, but I was sitting at the machine one day and hit a few strokes. My mother looked at what I had written and exclaimed: “Look, Vince, no shadows. She’s a natural.” Not having any idea what that meant but doing something I could share with my father would be priceless.

Within one month I was in class at Peirce College being taught by the best — Rosemary Foster and Don Averso. The encouragement I got from them, but especially from Dad, about integrity and always striving to be the best reporter I could be allowed me to become a part of the legendary Vincent Varallo Associates. I reported for several years and went to every GRA and GRACE meeting with Dad in order to learn from the best in the field how to work with each other and keep integrity at our core.

Over the next 30 years, I learned everything about the business and worked side by side with the man I adored. My brother Ken always found a business he would create that would interface nicely with Dad’s, and my older brother Greg took care of all our legal needs.

It will certainly be a loss to the community at large but the best example of giving back to the community. We can honor him by taking what we remember of him and using his methods — generosity, mentoring, integrity — in all things. The family thanks you for all the lovely memories and kind words. They are cherished.