August (Augie) Robert Casorso was born, at home, November 10, 1917, the fourth child of Catarina and Louis Casorso. At that time, the family lived in a house on the Rampone property on Benvoulin Road, in Kelowna, BC. Soon after, the family moved back to the main Casorso Ranch, and this is where August and his older siblings, Mary(1909) and John(1911), grew up. His older sister, Elizabeth (1913) died at age two(1915).
August, known fondly as Gus or Augie, attended Mission Creek Elementary School and later, Kelowna Secondary School. He completed Grade 13 and then attended Herbert Business College in Kelowna. August specialized in accounting and became a bookkeeper and accountant for the Casorso Brothers' business, originally known as the Sanitary Market, later named the Gordon Meat Market.
In 1940, at the age of 23, at the beginning of WW II, August enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force. His training, as a navigator, took place in Vernon, BC and Regina, Saskatchewan. August was stationed mainly in England, but also served in North Africa. After August's tours of duty, he became a navigation instructor and officer at Honeybourne, near Evesham, England. This is where he met Muriel Haines.
Muriel Florence Haines, the third child of Albert and Florence Haines, was born in Penarth, Wales on December 3, 1922. Her elder siblings were Charles and Kathleen. Albert, her father, was in charge of a nursery in Penarth and when Muriel was nine years old, he moved the family to Badsey, Evesham, England. After the move, he became a market gardener.
Muriel was an avid learner and completed her matriculation (equivalent to Grade 13), at age 16. Her dream was to attend Art school but due to the war and lack of funds, she trained for the career of telephone operator. This proved to be valuable for communication in the war effort as the Evesham Exchange was one of the main telephone exchange bases for the British, throughout WW II. Muriel had a beautiful singing voice, and along with her siblings, Charles and Kathleen, often entertained the troops at a canteen, in Badsey. As well, the main entertainment during the war years were local dances, and Muriel loved, and often competed in ballroom dancing. At one of these dances she met August Casorso.
August and Muriel were married at St. Mary's Catholic Church, Evesham, Worcestershire, England, on November 23, 1944. Soon after, August was sent back to Canada, on leave, leaving his young bride behind. The war in Europe ended on May 7, 1945, before Augie could return. Muriel, along with other war brides and their children, traveled by escorted ship and arrived in Halifax, Nova Scotia, in June of 1945. She traveled west by train and was met in Calgary, Alberta, by August, where they continued on to Kelowna.
August and Muriel settled in Kelowna at the Casorso Ranch, where they resided with August's father, Louis, in the 1907 house. That is where August grew up. Here they raised their family of seven children- Margaret, Bernadette, Christine, Frances, Joan, John and Robert. August decided to help his father run the family farm. Over the years they raised pigs, grew onions, vegetables, fruits of all kinds and wine and table grapes. August was very involved with the vegetable, fruit and wine boards and along with Muriel, were lifelong, faithful supporters of their Catholic Parish and Catholic School communities. Muriel was famous for her singing voice, cooking, baking, storytelling and remarkable memory. The Casorso farm was always a place of hospitality, where relatives, friends and strangers were welcomed.
August died April 22, 2000 in Kelowna. Muriel died September 16, 2013 in Kelowna. They are buried in the Immaculate Conception Catholic Cemetery on Casorso Road Kelowna, BC.
Contributed by Christine Casorso Schmidt, daughter
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