Tag Archives: Betty Cabral

Remembering Betty Cabral

Longtime Westporter and active volunteer Betty Cabral died yesterday. She was 84.

Born to Italian immigrants John Palmer (Palmieri) and Rosa Pagliaro Palmer, she loved her childhood surrounded by colorful characters on Richmondville Avenue. Her family worked at the nearby mill, and built homes near each other where they raised chickens, grew vegetables, had fruit trees, made wine, and celebrated life.

She was an enthusiastic Staples High School cheerleader, and an excellent student. After graduating in 1955, she met her soul mate Joe Cabral at Central Connecticut State College, where both earned advanced teaching degrees.

They married and raised their children, Susan Cabral Hiltz (Harry) and Kevin Cabral (Laura).

Betty and Joe founded The Hair Place in 1968. It was a successful mom-and-pop business for decades, and they forged lifelong friendships there.

Betty Cabral

After Joe died when she was in her early 40s, Betty ran the salon business, and built a life for herself and her children in the community and Assumption Church. She was a member of the Catholic Daughters, and an active liturgical participant.

In her neighborhood everyone was welcome to Halloween celebrations, teen hangout sessions and summer pool parties.

She was a gourmet Italian cook, a professional-level seamstress and a baker. Considered a close family member to many friends and relatives, she snapped pictures at weddings, baby showers, birthdays and holiday celebrations.

Betty helped many people make sense of the world. She always had a kind word, steady demeanor, touch of the hand, and a nudge in the right direction.

She is survived by her 2 children; grandchildren Hayden, Logan, Lianna, Hailey, Payton, Amy, Kate, Chevy, Nathan, Emily, James and Thomas; brother Carlo (Marcey); nephew Michael Palmer and his family; several godchildren; cousins; scores of friends, and her devoted dog Mitzy.

A funeral will be held Tuesday (April 12, 10 a.m.) at Assumption Church for a Mass of Christian Burial. Interment will be in Willowbrook Cemetery 395 Main Street Westport, CT. There are no calling hours.

Condolences for the family may be left online here. In lieu of flowers, contribution in memory of Betty may be made to Assumption Church, 98 Riverside Avenue, Westport, CT 06880.

After 44 Years, The Hair Place Heads Out

When Betty Cabral and her husband Joe opened The Hair Place, they were the 2nd tenant in the Post Road strip mall after the anchor: Grand Union.

Their lease with owner Paul Kowalsky was sealed with a handshake.

Grand Union became Shaw’s. Now it’s Fresh Market. Dozens of other merchants came and left.

The Hair Place stayed.

Until now.

On July 31, Betty will close her long-running salon. The rent is going up — way up. There are new common charges, for the parking lot.

Financially, it’s just not worth it.

Betty Cabral and her brother, Carlo Palmer. He helped install the paneling -- 44 years ago -- with Betty's husband Joe.

Betty Cabral and her brother, Carlo Palmer. He helped install the paneling — 44 years ago — with Betty’s husband Joe.

Betty is a native Westporter. She and her brother, Carlo Palmer, grew up on Richmondville Avenue. She attended Bedford Elementary School (now Town Hall), Bedford Junior High (now King’s Highway Elementary) and — in 1955 — Staples (now Saugatuck El).

Like her brother Carlo — an industrial arts instructor at Staples, and other towns — Betty became a teacher (business education, at Stamford’s Rippowam High). She left when her children were born, then returned to work at Katharine Gibbs.

Her husband Joe was a 5th grade teacher in Stamford, but the Cabrals wanted to invest in a franchise. McDonald’s was too expensive, so they chose The Hair Place.

They opened in 1969, hiring a manager to run things. But they soon realized they had to be there themselves.

Hair PlaceWhen Joe died of pancreatic cancer, Betty took over. She prided herself on serving entire families — men, women and children. She’s now on her 3rd generation of customers.

“This is my home and my family,” she says with pride.

But it’s a home she’ll soon leave, after 44 years.

She is not sure what she’ll do next, but it will be something. “I can’t do nothing!” she says.

She extends a hearty “thank you!” to all her loyal customers, and many staff members.

“I’ve made so many good friends here,” Betty says. “I’ve had so many good experiences. It’s been wonderful.”

So has she.