Giovanni and Genoveffa Russo
Antonio Russo was from Giardini, Cosenza, a small village in Calabria, Italy. He had three sons: Luigi, Geniale and Annunziato. Luigi got married to Cintia Rossi. They had twenty-one children but only six survived: three daughters and three sons. The daughters are: Rosina, Teresa and Antonia. The sons are: Antonio, Eugenio, and Giovanni.
Giovanni Russo was born on June 5, 1902 in Cleto. In 1920, he ventured out to the US, landing at New York to be with his brother Antonio. They spent part of the next year making their way across the continent to California. By 1923 Giovanni had made his way back to Cleto, Italy, where he married Genoveffa Pucci. Two children were born in Italy: Ida and Erza (Elsie). At age 23, Giovanni returned to America, travelling from France and landing in Quebec on June 18, 1927.
He spent some time mining in Ontario before making his way to Field, BC, again taking up mining. After a few years, Giovanni staked a homestead in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, near Golden. He became involved with logging, supplying railway ties for the Canadian Pacific Railway. On May 25, 1938 Genoveffa and daughters, Ida and Ezra, made the journey from Italy, travelling from Naples to New York and then on to Golden. Two more children, Luigi (Louie) and Cintia (Cynthia), were born in Golden.
In 1945, they moved to Winfield where they operated a small orchard. A couple of years later, they moved to an orchard in the Ellison area. Giovanni continued with the railway tie business, logging in the McCulloch area with nephews Gary and Geneale Russo. A small sawmill was soon established on their farm.
Daughter, Ida married Albert Vecchio and together they operated Al’s Cafe in Winfied. Ida took an active part in the Kelowna Canadian Italian Club, teaching and organizing many cultural events. Daughter, Elsie married Valentino Rampone. Valentino worked in the Kelowna postoffice and was elected to the regional district board. Erza and Valentino built and operated Valentino’s Villa on Lakeshore Road.
Son, Louie married Marisa Verna. They took over operation of the orchard and sawmill in Ellison. Daughter, Cynthia met and married Edward Kenney while they were in teacher training in Victoria. They made their home in Terrace. Cynthia was tragically killed in a car accident in 1970 at thirty years of age.
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