October 29, 2020
1921-2020 ~ Our dearest Papa, Nonno and Great-Grandpa died peacefully the evening of October 29, 2020 after 99 wonderful and well-lived years.
Born in Orsara di Puglia, Italy in 1921; his early years were of a bygone era. Life was difficult but his stories made it sound fascinating and exciting. He learned to value friends, family, education and hard work.
He also learned the importance of every day pleasures—of growing your own food, making your own wine and sharing generously. He apprenticed as a shoemaker and his lifelong passion for music was born through involvement in the Orsara community band. After immigrating to Canada in the late 30’s, he worked in the family shoe repair shop in London Ontario and played clarinet with several orchestras, even crossing the border to play with the Detroit Symphony for national radio broadcasts.
He volunteered for the Canadian Navy and served for all of World War II on Canadian and British ships, circling the globe to serve in the North Atlantic, Mediterranean and the Pacific. In 1945, while travelling by train across Canada for assignment to a ship in Halifax, he met Kathleen, a young woman from Swift Current, who would become the love of his life.
They connected through their shared love of music and corresponded for the rest of the war while he was overseas. They married in 1946, settled in London where they built their first house, then moved to Calgary in 1950 where the family grew.
Life was full of family activities, music teaching and performing, conducting the Navy Reserve Band, and participation in church, community and service organizations. Michael first worked in a veteran’s hospital, using his shoemaking skills to make prosthetic limbs then changed careers, where his affable personality and integrity helped him excel in the Life Insurance Business. In 1967 the family moved to the lower mainland of BC and Michael finished his working career in Estate Planning.
Michael and Kathleen embraced retirement with their usual enthusiasm; they moved to Qualicum Beach in 1986 where they became involved in community, music and service organizations. Papa took great joy in his amazing garden that produced a bounty of produce he always shared.
Their home saw many gatherings where family and friends dined on Papa’s famous pasta meals and home made wine.
His greatest legacy is that of family man—husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather. His unfailing support, encouragement and love will stay with us all. His devotion to Kathleen, lovingly caring for her at home until her death in 2015 in their 70th year of marriage, was an inspiration to everyone.
Michael saw monumental change and had to adapt to many challenges in his life. His welcoming and warm personality helped him connect with people of all ages everywhere he went. He had a boundless zest for life, resilience, willingness to learn and work hard, and a never-ending love for the family.
Saddened and holding him forever in our hearts next to Mama are children Kathleen (Ken), Barbara (the late Cashman), Karen (Robert), Michael (Louise); grandchildren Kris, Tiffany (Josh), Roger (Shannon), Becky (Chris), James (Maralee), Sarah (Joel), Brittany, Julia (Steven), Michael, Scott (Megan), Brian (Tessa) and eleven great-grandchildren.
If you would like to make a donation in his honour, The Poppy Fund www.legionbcyukon.ca would be a fitting tribute.
We extend special thanks to the wonderful staff of Hawthorne Seniors Care, North Cottages in Port Coquitlam. Your kind and compassionate care was greatly appreciated by the whole family. We thank you all for your continued work in these challenging and unprecedented times.
The family looks forward to gathering in 2021 when we can celebrate and give thanks for Papa’s amazing life and legacy. In the meantime, we invite you all to plant a garden, enjoy music, raise a glass, remember the importance of friends and family, share generously and embrace every day.
Con tanto amore, La Famiglia
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