Celeste, brother to Giovanni, Ivonne and Albino, was born in 1935 in Moussoulens, France, but grew up in Tarvesio, in the Friuli-Venezia Giulia region of northern Italy. He is the son of Valentino Bazzana and Santina Paron, originally from San Giovanni di Casarsa. Times were tough in Italy after World War II, so Celeste decided he would have better opportunities in Canada. He immigrated in 1953 and headed for the Nordegg Mine in Alberta to a job arranged by his nonno, Celeste Paron, who worked there for many years.
Because Celeste was an unusual name in Canada, co-workers at the Nordegg Mine gave Celeste the nickname Charlie. The name stuck long after he left the mine. Celeste did not stay in Nordegg for long. Brother Giovanni, uncle Igino Bazzana and aunt Cestilia Bazzana (Culos) all lived in Kelowna, BC, so Celeste followed suit. He found work at the Kelowna Machine Shop (Monashee Manufacturing) and after a short time was offered an apprenticeship as a machinist. By 1961, facing layoffs due to slowing business, the boss offered Celeste a tip about a machinist position at the local sawmill. Not only did Celeste get the job, but he remained at the mill for the next 39 years during its incarnations as S.M. Simpson Sawmill, Crown Zellerbach, Crown Forest, and Riverside Forest Products.
Jean Schneider was born in 1935 to John and Pauline Schneider of Rutland. In 1927 the Schneiders purchased a farm on the corner of Rutland and Fitzpatrick Roads. The family business, Schneider Hauling, primarily delivered fruit to packing houses. In later years Schneider Hauling evolved into Schneider Logging, a full-fledged logging company. Jean and Celeste were married in 1958. They bought a lot on Rutland Road and built a house, complete with a wine-making shed and a wine cellar. Celeste and Jean had three sons: Dale, Kevin and Gordon. Jean, passed away in 1994.
Celeste is an enthusiast of Italy’s favourite pastimes; soccer, skiing and bocce. In the mid 1950s he joined the local men’s soccer team, the Kelowna Hotspurs. Celeste became a youth soccer coach in the early 1970s and propelled his Rutland team to multiple tournament victories and division championships. Growing up in the mountains of northern Italy, Celeste learned to ski at an early age and would often cross-country ski to school. After settling in Rutland, he took up both downhill and cross-country skiing. In the early days he would frequent the ski hill on Black Mountain.
Celeste was a founding member of the Kelowna Canadian Italian Club in 1966. He was also a member of the Kelowna Bocce Club and the Sons Of Italy. Celeste could regularly be found working on the bocce courts or helping to organize bocce tournaments for one of the clubs or for the BC 55+ Games. In February 2020, Celeste and partner, Barbara Dieno, were the recipients of a City Of Kelowna “Community Sport Hero” award for their contribution to the promotion and development of the sport of bocce in the Okanagan.
Gordon Bazzana, son
2/21/2023 05:32:32 pm
Appreciate the note. Jean was a second cousin and always kind to me when I was a kid.
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