The founder of one of Birmingham's first ice cream companies died just five hours after his son lost his life to stomach cancer.
Family members were devastated when Severo Verrecchia, aged 93, from Edgbaston, and Tony Verrecchia, aged 69, who lived in Sutton Coldfield, died within hours of each other on March 11.
George Parkinson, Severo's brother-in-law and Tony's uncle, said both men were loved and remembered by many people and would be sadly missed by all their family and friends.
He said: "We're all heartbroken. It was such a shock to lose them both on the same day. You just don't expect it.
"Poor Tony had been battling stomach cancer. It was bad enough hearing about his death but within about five hours the family had called again to say his father had died. It's tragic.
"We're not even sure why Severo died, but he was 93 so it was probably old age. It's a strange coincidence though.
"It's been a terrible time for the whole family."
Severo, known simply as 'Sid' to friends and family who struggled to pronounce his real name, was born in Glasgow to Italian parents. He moved to Bristol in 1926 where he met and married Annie Parkinson.
The couple's son, Tony, was born in 1935, and two years later the family moved to Birmingham.
Determined to follow his Italian heritage, Severo set up an ice cream shop, Verrecchia's, in Spring Hill, Ladywood. Business really took off when the Verrecchias began to serve ice cream throughout Birmingham from the city's first purpose-built ice cream van.
Prior to that, ice cream sellers had relied on handcarts or tricycles with baskets on the front.
In 1947, Tony's sister Linda was born. Tony joined the Army in 1953 and did two years' national service before moving back to Birmingham to help run his father's business. He met and married his wife Jackie in 1959 and they had two children, Dean, now aged 42, and Lisa, now aged 39.
Tony continued to run Verrecchia's until he was taken ill with stomach cancer 14 months ago.
His son, Dean, and Lisa's husband, Carl, still run the successful ice cream business, which is now based near West Bromwich Albion's football ground.
Mr Parkinson, aged 79, ran one of the family's 25 'beats' across the city.
He said: "I can remember running that van with Tony when he was only about 13 and I must have been about 22.
"We felt very proud since it was the first custom-made ice cream van in Birmingham. In those days we used to trade a lot in Ladywood.
"It always surprises me how many people still come up to me and say they remember that old van in Ladywood. When I first started selling ice creams, you could buy 240 cornets for a pound."
A framed photograph of the old van surrounded by children still has pride of place in the window of the ice cream shop.
Mr Parkinson said: "People still remember Verrecchia's ice cream vans. I go and help out with the business whenever I can, although I officially retired a few years ago.
"We are a very close family. Tony almost never called me Uncle because we were brought up more like brothers. He only ever called me Uncle when he wanted something. He didn't call my mother his grandmother, he called her 'our Ma'.
"I was best man at Tony's wedding, and now I'm going to say a few words about him at his funeral, which will be an honour. I never thought I'd live to see the day when I was at his funeral, because he was nine years younger than me.
"I will miss him so much, even if it's only his nuisance."
Both men will be sadly missed by Linda, aged 58, daughter of Severo and sister of Tony, and Tony's children Dean and Lisa, and their daughter Chloe, aged 12.
A funeral for both men will be held at 12.45pm on March 23, at The Oratory in Hagley Road, Birmingham, followed by burial at Quinton Cemetery at 2pm.