Mary Casorso was born at the Casorso Pioneer Ranch (Kelowna, BC) on February 20, 1909 to Louis and Catarina (Dapavo) Casorso. She was the eldest of three children (The other two being John and August). Catarina Dapavo’s mother was Enrichetta (Rampone) Dapavo.
At the age of twelve, Mary attended St. Anne’s Academy in Victoria, BC. When she was sixteen, her father sent for her to come home to help out with the farm. She learned to cook for the ranch-hands, thus ending her childhood, but beginning her love for cooking. She especially loved creating wonderful Italian dinners and homemade pies. When she wasn’t cooking she was either in the garden or fishing in Mission Creek.
In 1928, Gaspar Risso introduced Mary to Riccardo Bertoia while they were attending a play at the Old Mission School. Riccardo (Dick) came to Canada from San Lorenzo, Italy at the age of 17. He worked in a variety of jobs in B.C. and eventually arrived in Kelowna in 1928, where he worked at the packing house.
Mary and Dick were married in Kelowna on April 26, 1934. They decided to move to the Kootenays, where they lived in Nelson, Trail and finally Rossland, BC. During this time, they raised four daughters and two sons.
The Bertoia family spent their summers at the Casorso Ranch, which they called their “summer home.” During these visits, they had a lot of fun getting to know their cousins.
Mary and Dick built their retirement home on Benvoulin Road in Kelowna, on five acres of orchard land, in the 1970’s. Many memories of joy and love were made in their home with a constant flow of friends and family.
Mary passed away in July 1984.
Dick passed away in March 1996.
Contributed by The Bertoia’s
770 Lawrence Ave.