Nat Consulo, a dedicated insurance agent who played nightclubs and dance halls as a western swing musician and band leader, died Jan. 6 after a recent stroke, his family said. He was 80.
Mr. Consulo entertained music lovers on stage and on TV and radio programs for many years while raising a family and supporting the community. A self-taught musician, he mastered the pedal steel guitar at an early age and began playing western swing while working full time overseeing the restaurant staff at McClellan Air Force Base.
With his band, Nat Consulo and the Rancho Rhythm Boys, he played at dance halls, county fairs and auditoriums in California, Reno and Lake Tahoe resorts, including the legendary Wills Point club opened by “the king of western swing” Bob Wills in Sacramento. His family said the band also had its own Saturday morning TV show in Sacramento in the 1950s and played on radio broadcasts produced by Harry Martin, host of the popular “Captain Sacto” program on KCRA Channel 3.
“They traveled a lot of places,” said his son Daryl. “Every Friday and Saturday, he was playing somewhere.”
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A versatile musician who also played the trumpet and upright string bass, Mr. Consulo began playing in jazz bands in the 1960s. He returned to his musical roots as a member of the Rowe Brothers, a local country band that toured widely in the 1970s and early 1980s and opened for singer-songwriters Tom T. Hall and Earl Thomas Conley in Sacramento. He was inducted into the Western Swing Society Hall of Fame in 1991.
At home, Mr. Consulo was a devoted family man. He retired around 2000 after 35 years as a top salesman for Allstate Insurance. He previously worked for Valley Motor Lines and Challenge Dairy.
“He had a very strong work ethic,” said his daughter Sharon Consulo Webb. “He always worked.”
Mr. Consulo also raised cattle on a 40-acre ranch where he lived in Roseville since 1968. He supported the junior livestock programs at the Placer County Fair and Gold Country Fair, volunteered as a 4-H leader and served on the board of trustees of Dry Creek Joint Elementary School District.
The son of a Sicilian immigrant, he was born Dec. 25, 1933, in Sacramento. He left school early to support the family working on their ranches and running a Christmas tree operation with his brothers.
“He was really good with people,” his son said. “He was very personable and could talk to anybody.”
Mr. Consulo was predeceased by his wife, Lawanda, in 2003 after 48 years of marriage. He is survived by his sons Daryl, Daren and David; daughter Sharon Consulo Webb; brother Joe; and seven grandchildren.
A visitation is scheduled from 4 to 7 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 12, at Cochrane & Wagemann Funeral Directors, 103 Lincoln St., Roseville. A funeral Mass is set for 10 a.m. Monday, Jan. 13, at St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church, 615 Vine Ave., Roseville.