The USA Network on cable TV has the slogan “Characters Welcome,” which I take to mean that they like interesting people. All towns have their share of people who are characters – known by all for their quirks and stories. Castro Valley, of course, has characters of its own.
One of these characters was Nick Tribuzio, who made appearances in costume at community events. His most well-known costume was that of Diamond Jim Brady, a somewhat obscure figure from history (he was extremely wealthy from the railroad supply business, and was known for his fondness for jewels).
I’ve come across various photos of Nick Tribuzio in the archives, and I’ve always wondered who he was and what he did. Who is this guy who dresses in costume for parades, and dresses as Santa at Christmastime? Finally my curiosity got the better of me and I had to look him up.
Turns out, our friend Nick was born in Italy in 1894, and he came to the United States in 1913. He eventually made his way to the Bay Area. I’m not exactly sure when, but he was definitely in Oakland in 1942, according to his WWII draft registration card I found on Ancestry.com. Sometime in the late 1940s, he moved to Castro Valley and lived and worked on Crow Canyon Road. The phone books list his profession as that of a cement contractor.
How did Nick become a town personality? Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to track that down. But I did find a souvenir photo postcard that lists “Nick Tribuzio as Diamond Jim Brady, Famous Western Parade Performer, Hayward, California.”
Nick passed away in 1971, so unfortunately there’s no tracking him down and asking him what inspired him to become a “Western Parade Performer.” But, perhaps there are some Castro Valley residents out there who remember him or have heard some stories about him? Or can anyone think of any other local “characters”?