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PostPosted: Mon Mar 02, 2009 10:13 pm 
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If you go through the thread in the comments section you can see all the post that people wrote as a result of Sweet Lou's passing. Then you see a post by "Louis F. Alessi" my heart jumped a little knowing he wasn't the one who posted but it still made me feel good in an odd sort of way. It wasn't even the second best thing it was the best thing...IdaMarie, his wife. You have to know her to understand how much she loved Lou and all of us who were his friend, his customer, and those who joined him in LTW. There are a few giants in custom gun industry who really changed custom 1911's. One of my best friends Ted Yost comes to mind in the modern era, Armand Swenson, Richard Heinie, and Jim Hoag come to mind as I write a very difficult post. Not to mention every single smith at LTW, and I want to mention every one of them.
Chuck Rogers
Ned Christiansen
Jason Burton
Stan Chen
John Harrison
CT Brian
Don Williams
Tony Barnes
John VanZyck
Steve Bailey
Josh Bulman
And finally the man who will live forever in LTW Louis F. Alessi.

Now, in the world of true custom leather there are a few that really stand out that changed everything. Bruce Nelson made a huge leap into really well thought out designs coupled with craftsmanship. Then Milt Sparks, which turned into Tony Kanaley, Paris Theodore which translates into our boy Lou Alessi. If you really think about the folks that changed everything that about covers it. My pal Jason can add a few others but for this post I am going with those guys. I have used and own a number of Alessi rigs. The one thing that constantly sticks out for me is the perfection of the designs. The quality was never compromised, and he knew by your explanation what holster you needed.

But, more important than his designs, was his professionalism, and his all around good nature which was ever present amongst all else. It is the same thing they talk about when the sports discussions come up. Who did he make better around him? Michael Jordan is always mentioned with Magic Johnson as well as Dan Marino and Joe Montana. Again, I am going with Joe Montana on this one.

Lou was willing to lend his experience to anyone who was passionate about the craft of making holsters. His designs are emulated by all of the best leather craftsman working now. His lineage is evident in the works of our own Josh Bulman, his protege John Ralston, Gary Brommeland, and I believe Matt DelFatti even talked to Lou a time or two. All of these men make masterpieces in leather. And most of them either knew Lou personally or called him to ask him how to do one thing or another or even ask him questions about a design. And I know for a fact Lou never turned a single one down.

Lou is summed up for me with this quote...
Quote:
A man who works with his hands is a laborer; a man who works with his hands and his brain is a craftsman; but a man who works with his hands and his brain and his heart is an artist.
Louis Nizer


What follows is a pictorial of Lou's life that will be preserved here on LTW. I am going to post some pictures from one of our family members and genuine heroes Captain Jim Tighe of the United States Army. He was gracious enough to send me these photos. I invite all of you to post a picture or two of Lou or photos of Alessi leather that you have used in your lifetime.

I can tell you for sure "Uncle Lou" loved us all, he often talked about his involvement in LTW and how much he enjoyed it. When we called for a rig he put an LTW project in front of everybody's...sorry guys he was loyal to the bone.

We miss you Lou.

Lou doing what he did best, besides being a husband and a father.
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Lou with Al Shear, and Jim Tighe, and a member of our future.
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Lou with whom he loved the most..IdaMarie, Alex and his friends.
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Lou's leather in a "real deal" application.
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And for me one of the best. Lou's gear going to war.
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One of my personal rigs I wore today.
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A CQC/S Lou made for me several years ago. I still have it and love the holster for a alot of reasons. It has been posted in a number of LTW threads.
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And finally in honor of Louis F. Alessi a picture taken by Captain Jim Tighe, United States Army.
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FYI...the "moderators" can move this post to the custom leather section where it rightly belongs, more than that make it a sticky where everyone will see it, however, if I get an email telling me that it is in an inappropriate place, I would rather stand on their neck than move it. But I love all of youse guys. 8)

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 03, 2009 6:05 am 
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Awesome, Steve.

I had some good pics of the Captain with his Alessi holster in-theater.... unfortunately, I believe I lost them in "the (computer) crash of '08".

I'll add some pics of that 1984 Alessi catalog..... I'm still kinda unpacking and have not seen it since I returned. I probably shoulda checked Jason's pockets before we parted company......

Lou also extended his generosity to our friend in Peru, Alex Nossar. Alex told me the other day that besides being free with holstermaking advice, Lou had invited him twice to visit the shop. I know Alex considered Lou a great friend and was saddened by the news.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 03, 2009 6:48 am 
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Absolutely Ned, I think there is a picture somewhere of Lou and Alex at Shot. Don't know who has it, but for some reason I remember one.

Something just came to mind. I should have never used sports references. Jason Burton has been up for hours looking for holster makers and smiths he didn't know about by the name of Johnson, Jordan, Marino, and Montana. Just for the record Joe Montana was and actor in the 50's who was great in westerns :lol: Grrrrrr....Montana.

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 03, 2009 7:01 am 
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I really did not know how or what to post or even if I should. The LTW BOD knew Lou him better and longer than me. They have a very special relationship with each other that creates a bond that transcends mere friendship. I am just along for the journey and happened to have been bestowed the honor of truly getting to know Americas best.

I lost a great friend in Chip Brezee 3 years ago the same way. I just can't shake the feeling that another great soul is lost to this world. When you came across someone like Lou, you knew instantly that this was a man of integrity, honesty and above all, honor.

I will miss that smile, the kindness of his character. Calling him to change my order ten times because I had to sell the gun I had for money. When I finally settled on the leather and he shipped it, he would just tell me "forget about it". Like I would, and he knew it.

Goodbye Lou. I love ya man.

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 03, 2009 7:26 am 
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Unfortunately for me, I had never met or talked with Lou before the first SHOT show LTW attended as an entity. I had heard the Alessi name, and to be frank- and I know this is heresy, I never even owned a holster till about 1993, when one of the locals talked me into going to a weekly IPSC. I still only own two, and kick myself now and then that I didn't have Lou make one for me. My first impression of Lou was one that about everyone has, that he was just the nicest guy. Loads of fun, full of mischief and no-one had a bad word to say about him. I'm not a holster historian, but it seems like Lou had given advice or mentored to some extent about every holster maker in the US (and probably elsewhere in the world). I really regret that I didn't have more time to spend with Lou, and I'll continue to miss him. God bless 'ya Lou - it was too short a time.

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 03, 2009 8:00 am 
I've been very reluctant to post my feelings as I am still having a hard time coming to terms with this. I'm proud to have known Louie and to call him my friend. He touched many people and it's clear that many of them are here!

Here's a few of my favorite photos...

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I'll miss you Uncle Louie!!!

-Mark


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 03, 2009 12:16 pm 
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Mark, Steve, Don, Al, and Jim,
Thank you all for posting these pictures....I have been sitting here for over an hour staring at them and burning the face of a good friend into memory. I too felt a lump in my throat when I got on here last night and saw a new post from Lou Alessi...for a moment I forgot he was gone, and I couldn't wait to see what he had posted...much like a contestant holding their breath to see if they had won the big prize. But alas, reality quickly crept back in and I realized that it wasn't to be. It tugged at my heart to read the post by Ida Marie, and the love and pain that were evident.
Al, I don't know why you would even hesitate to EVER post on this forum, one that people like you, Chip, and Lou have nurtured and worked hard to make a special place! I can only say that it has been one of the highest honors of my young life to have been friends with the likes of the three of you! I am young, but I have a deep love for our country and the old ways of life, which unfortunately seem to be fleeting. I hold you in the same esteem as the other two gentlemen...and want to thank you for everything you do, but most of all for being you. You and the other gentlemen (and the few ladies) of this forum are the "keepers of the old ways"....the last of the Knights of old if you will. Lou and Chip both had it, the honor and the integrity....and so do you and the other members. Although I never met Lou in person, I spent many hours on the phone with him..at the shop, at home, and in the hospital. We talked about these things at length and I felt drawn to him for this reason among others. I actually felt that he understood my confusion at what this world is coming to and in his warm way he tried to comfort and guide me. There are very few men that I hold in the same respect as my father...but Lou, Chip, and you are among those few.
God bless the Alessi family..and the LTW family..we have ALL suffered a great loss, but were ALL blessed to have had Lou in our lives in some way.--John

"It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather we should thank God that such men lived."
- General George S. Patton, Jr

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Last edited by JR Munsey on Tue Mar 03, 2009 8:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 03, 2009 2:22 pm 
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A few more...


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 04, 2009 9:35 am 
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A catalog like this, well, you hang on to it.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 04, 2009 9:40 am 
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Ned Christiansen wrote:
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A catalog like this, well, you hang on to it.


I covet that catalog...

I'll be back shortly to add to this thread... :wink:

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 05, 2009 5:25 pm 
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Guys thanks for posting all those pictures from the LTW/Shot Show meets. I look at the pictures and still can't believe that Lou has left us and gone to Heaven. Lou was one of a kind and I'm sure they "broke the mold" when Lou was born. I can't think of much else to say that everyone else has already said, but once again thanks for the great pictures and I'll keep Lou and his family in my prayers. I'm glad I am able to say that I can call him my friend. I just wish we had more time together. Rich Spinaci


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 06, 2009 7:29 am 
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It was interesting to learn that Lou was a Vietnam Vet. And that he did some unusual things there, and that there seems to be a bit of mystery about it all.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 06, 2009 9:10 pm 
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What a tragic loss... I feel so fortunate to have met him, and spoken to him at length. They dont make em like that guy anymore... My prayers and condolances to the family and all of you guys that were part of Lou's extended family..
If there is anything I can do, please let me know..


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 08, 2009 8:47 am 
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Ned..could you enlighten the rest of us on Lou's service?? I had specifically asked him once if he was ever in service, and he told me no..in his usual humble way. So needless to say I was surprised when I saw mention of his being a veteran! Please fill the rest of us in, who were unable to attend the services for him!!--John

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 08, 2009 8:04 pm 
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JR, you now know everything I know-- I never had an inkling until I read his actual obit. I asked a close friend of his and he didn't seem to know details other than, details were few and it was not your typical tour of SEA. That's about all I know......

I may have read too much into it, not sure.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 16, 2009 7:09 pm 
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Lou was a true gentleman, & I know that I will miss him. I remember the first email from his wife to everyone about Lou being ill.

Lou was always easy to talk to whenever you called and enjoyed swapping stories.

Now some of the leather that I have from him, means more. I also have a gun (1930's Colt Det. Special) that came to me through him, it will stay with me and always remind me of a great person.

We miss you Lou.

Ray

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 06, 2009 6:21 pm 
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I've been out of the LTW loop for the past month or so. I was shocked and saddened to learn of Lou's passing. He was one of the finest men I've ever known, and I consider it a blessing to have known him and called him Friend.

Rest in peace my friend. Until we meet again...

Mark

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 07, 2009 6:13 pm 
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Hi Gang,

There was far more to Uncle Lou than cutting up a bunch of cow skin for holsters. He was a true patriot that served his country in a number of ways. I am not sure how much he would want shared in this type forum but it is enough to say that he helped the cause of freedom for a lot of people. Some others may be aware of this service and feel more comfortable in sharing it but, out of respect to Lou, I don't want to go into details here.

This post is not intended to be a tease or start a bunch of rumors but only to recognize his service in ways that put him at risk in a number of ways.

Those close to Lou will understand.

Rob

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PostPosted: Sat May 02, 2009 4:03 pm 
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Here's a good store about Lou that I'm sure you all will love.

Tim and I were in his shop one day when he and our lab, Dozer, decided it was time to go get the mail from the mailbox. The next thing I know, the door flies open and here comes Dozer with a package in his mouth. When he presents it to me, I see that it's from 'Uncle Louie'. I asked Tim what it was to which he replied that it must be the holster he'd been waiting for and he went out the door to do something else. When I took another look at the box, I noticed that it was addressed to me. Now this was really curious, because I didn't have any idea what Lou could be sending to me and I thought that maybe it was something from his lovely wife, IdaMarie. So I opened the box and to my surprise there was a magnificent holster made just for me to the specifications that he and I had talked about several months before at SHOT. As I held this piece of true artwork and craftsmanship in my hands and looked it over inch by inch, I noticed inside the holster, stamped into the leather, was my name. I couldn't believe that Lou had even remembered that we had talked about this holster what with all the thousands of people that I know he talked to at SHOT let alone that he had time to make it for me! Excitedly I ran to find Tim and I asked him why, if the holster from Lou was for him, was MY name stamped inside it! He laughed and shook his head and we both had a good chuckle about it.

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This is the kind of true good hearted soul Louie was and he will always be remembered fondly by many. I'm sure he is up there looking down on us all and I can just see the smile on his face...

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 10, 2010 5:04 pm 
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Wow.. I just sort of got back on the map. I know Its a little late but.. My condolences to Lou's family and the industry in general. His work was, and is, legendary.

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