Born: May 26,1926; Died: July 24, 2012.

Fernando Righetti, who has died aged 86, may have been born in the Dear Green Place but he was Italian through and through.

From his innate style to his work ethic and the twinkle in his eye, he summed up a golden era when the Glasgow Italians prospered once again after the hardships and internments of the Second World War.

As manager of The Berkeley he was at the hub of the glamorous 1950s set of footballers, actors and politicians who dined at the celebrated Charing Cross restaurant.

Later, when he moved to Millport on Cumbrae, he was warmly embraced by the community where he and his wife ran the Kames Cafe, known to generations as Ferdie's.

The son of immigrants who moved to Scotland from the hills of La Spezia in north-west Italy, he spent his early life in the Gorbals where his parents, Umberto and Amelia, had opened the Crown Cafe. But, with the couple working long hours to establish the business, he was sent to Italy, aged four, to live with his grandmother.

The two years he spent with her in the village of Bracelli provided fond memories of a simple, rural life that centred around religious feste, or feast days, and led to a lifelong devotion to the church – and a love of fine food. Decades later he could still recall the aroma of freshly baked bread and roasted chestnuts, helping to milk the sheep, make ricotta and spin wool.

However, when he returned to Scotland, Italian was his first language and initially it wasn't easy for him to integrate at school. Determined to play for the school football team he saved up to buy his first pair of boots, only to have his ambition quashed by his father, who insisted he wash dishes in the cafe on a Saturday afternoon rather than cut a dash on the pitch.

By the time he left St Francis Catholic School aged 14, Italy had declared war on Britain and France, resulting in his father, like thousands of other Italians in Scotland, being declared an "enemy alien". He was among those rounded up and interned on the Isle of Man, leaving young Ferdie to help his mother to run the cafe.

It was an unsettling period for many Italian businesses who suffered vandalism in the wake of Mussolini's entry into the war. And the morning after his father was removed his mother was, naturally, apprehensive about opening the premises. A small crowd had gathered outside but as the family approached a regular customer shouted: "Don't worry, hen, you open up. We'll look out for you."

The Crown Cafe, at 111 Crown Street, was now a popular meeting place, a rendezvous for young couples and regulars who included Glasgow boxer Benny Lynch. It was also a gathering place for gangs who, despite their notoriously violent reputation, never gave the family any trouble.

When Ferdie reached 18, and with family still in Italy, he was exempted from conscription on condition he contributed to the war effort in Britain. So began the best job he ever had: working on the railways around Callander. He loved being outside in the fresh air, checking and replacing track, with Ben Lomond as a backdrop.

After the war ended he returned to work in the cafe and later met his future wife, Serafina, known as Sera, at the dancing. She worked in the office of her father's business Fazzi Brothers and, after proposing on the top deck of a tram car on Pollokshaws Road, the couple married in St Mary's Church, Pollokshaws in August 1955.

They spent a three-month honeymoon visiting Europe's greatest cities and on their return to Glasgow Ferdie took a new job as manager of the up-and-coming Berkeley restaurant, where they had held their wedding reception.

He remained there until 1964, playing host to a galaxy of diners. They included Old Firm footballers, players from the Scotland team, various European clubs and national squads and golfer Eric Brown with whom he became good friends. Many of the celebrities who appeared at the King's Theatre also dined at The Berkeley. Among them were comics Stanley Baxter, Rikki Fulton, Jack Milroy, Dave Allen, movie star Stewart Granger and singers Frankie Vaughan, Andy Stewart, Kenneth McKellar, Moira Anderson and Petula Clark.

Having enjoyed family holidays with relatives in Millport, he then took the opportunity to move to the island of Great Cumbrae when he heard that its Esplanade cafe was up for sale. He and Sera had a young family by then and it offered them the chance to spend more time together.

He renamed the business the Kames Cafe and ran it with his wife, though it became universally known as Ferdie's. It also attracted many of his customers from The Berkeley, who would go to Millport for the Glasgow Fair holiday, and hot summer days saw queues outside the door and dozens of people packing the beach enjoying Ferdie's ice cream.

He had the cafe for 27 years and became an integral part of the community, donating ice cream to the local hospital and old people's homes every Christmas and holding a 'free ice cream from Ferdie's' day each October.

In retirement he enjoyed golf with the One O'Clock Gang, who teed off every day, and was a member of Millport Curling and Businessmen's Clubs and his local church.

Wherever he lived and worked – be it the Gorbals, The Berkely or Millport – he was a man who treated everyone with the same courtesy and, with his ready smile and easy charm, he was, in turn, liked by all.

Married for 57 years, he remained a romantic and, up until the end, could be seen hand in hand with his wife on the prom in Millport.

He is survived by his wife Sera, their children Rosanna, Marisa, Umberto and Paolo and 10 grandchildren.