Amedeo Russo was born on March 7, 1929, in Cleto, Italy. He was one of eight children born in Italy to Giovanni and Antonia Russo. His brothers were Geniale, Guerino, and Orlando and his sisters were Carmela (Pagliaro), Iolanda (Filice), Erminia and Maria-Cristina. He married Armerinda Pucci (daughter of Antonio and Gilda Pucci) on November 22, 1951. Armerinda was born on February 25, 1932 in Cleto. Her brothers were Florindo and Salvatore and her sisters were Maria (Berardelli) and Ida (Pulice).
Two children were born in Italy: Maria Bianca and Lucia Mirella. In order to make a better life for his family, Amedeo decided to join his two brothers who were already in the Kelowna/Oyama area. Sponsored by his brother, Geniale Russo, he landed at Pier 21 in Halifax, Nova Scotia on February 28, 1955. When Armerinda and daughters arrived, Amedeo rented and then bought a house from Valentino & Erza (cousin) Rampone on Patsy Road.
In 1957, Armerinda and daughters, Bianca and Lucia, made their way from Italy, to Ellis Island, headed north to Fort Erie, Ontario. They travelled by train to Salmon Arm, BC, and by bus to Kelowna, BC. Five more children, Florinda, Rita, Franco Oresto, Erminia Theresa and Settimio were born in Kelowna.
When Amedeo arrived, he worked temporary jobs for his Uncle Giovanni Russo and for his brother, Geniale Russo, logging and then at a sawmill in Golden, BC. He was employed 1956-1963 with C.P. Rail as a maintenance trackman and 1963-1990 with the local Kelowna sawmill, formerly Simpson’s Sawmill. He was an original member of the Kelowna Canadian Italian Club. He had a strong and proud belief in the promotion of his Italian culture. Armerinda remains an honorary member to this day. Upon his retirement from the mill, he enjoyed working at his vegetable stand on his Casorso Road hobby farm. He was always a very positive person and loved spending time with his family, gardening, making homemade wine, watching football and hockey and playing briscola cards and checkers. Armerinda, being the calm, quiet, dedicated mother she was, raised her seven children. When her children were older, she worked part-time and helped Amedeo at their vegetable stand. They were both very proud to obtain their Canadian citizenship in August, 1974.
Maria Bianca married Giuseppe (Joe) Iafrancesco and worked as an accountant/tax preparer. Both were very active volunteering for numerous organizations in this community, especially the Kelowna Canadian Italian club. Joe passed away in 2018 and Bianca lives in Kelowna. Lucia married Rudy Litz, and helps operate her husband’s business - L&O Wholesale Jewellry in Kelowna. Florinda married Israel Salas and is a youth worker in Pitt Meadows, BC. Rita is a retired school teacher. She married Kevin Witzke and is living in Kelowna. Frank married Valita Gale and is a self-employed construction contractor in Kelowna. Erminia married Noel Thorpe. She was very active in world volleyball sports, including the Olympics and lives in Edmonton, AB. Settimio married Carolyn Georgetti and is also in the construction trade in Kelowna.
Armerinda and Amedeo were married for 58 years. She continues to enjoy her family and lives in the home she and Amedeo built in 1970, on Landie Road, in Kelowna. Unfortunately, Amedeo passed away on January 29, 2010. He is entombed at Lakeview Memorial Gardens Mausoleum in Kelowna.
M. Bianca Russo Iafrancesco
770 Lawrence Ave.