Luigi DiRenzo and Silvia Vicaretti
Luigi Vincenzo DiRenzo was born on July 13, 1932, son of Domenico DiRenzo and Orsola Marianetti, in a small town called Celano, l’Aquila, Abruzzo. He had three sisters: Antonina, Maria, Anna and two brothers, Girolomo and Mattia. The well established DiRenzo family was luckier than most. They were fortunate enough to own land. Working long days on the farm was part of everyday life. After World War II, times were extremely challenging. Luigi had a vision to better his life.
He filled out paperwork and was prepared to immigrate to Australia but, his father, Domenico, who had already been working in Kelowna, BC and living with his sister, Marianna Verna, convinced him to make the journey to Canada. So, in 1956, he set sail for the promised land and never looked back.
Luigi found work on a railway maintenance crew. He then went on to road construction with his Uncle Emilio Verna. His greatest accomplishments were working on the snow sheds of the Rogers Pass and the upgrading of Highway 1 through Boston Bar and Yale, BC. When he spoke about those days, he always had a big smile on his face. Any time off he had, he helped out the local orchardists. He loved to keep busy.
Silvia, daughter of Alessandro Vicaretti and Antonietta Stefanucci, arrived in Kelowna in May, 1958. They were married by proxy, December 23,1957. Luigi and Silvia became the proud parents of six children: Oliva (Rampone), Maria (Moore), Domenico, Antonietta (Spangler) and twin girls, Patricia and Anna. They began their family in a tiny home on Martin Avenue.
One day, while shopping at Capozzi’s store with his wife, Silvia, Luigi was offered a job at Calona Wines. He started on the bottling line and, within a few short years, was promoted to be the head Finish Filter Operator. In 1969, they purchased two acres on Mayer Road. Both Luigi and Silvia grew vegetables and fruit and raised livestock. Luigi loved making wine, sausages and prosciutto.
Wherever Luigi was, whether it was outside changing sprinklers or at a wedding, it would not be out of the norm for him to burst out in song, with family and friends joining in. He certainly was proud of his heritage and was fortunate to be able to return to Italy, on more than one occasion, to visit his family and many friends he left behind. When he was home from his day job and finished his chores outside, you would find Luigi in front of the television cheering on the Vancouver Canucks.
Sadly, Papa Louie passed in August, 2015, after battling cancer.
Lina DiRenzo Rampone
6/26/2021 07:04:41 pm
What a lovely tribute to your parents, Anette (Antonietta?). Your Mom must be really proud of this. Thanks for posting it.
6/28/2021 09:05:41 pm
His life sure sounds as though it was lived well. Great article!
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