Pietro Turri and Esterina Gragnani
My father, Pietro Turri, was born January 29, 1904 in Pontecosi, Tuscany, Italy to Olinto and Isolina Valdrighi. He married my mother, Esterina Gragnani and lived with his parents operating a large farm of every type of fruit and livestock. They had two daughters, Renata (Vaccaro) and Emma (Rantucci). Dad always wanted to join his brother, Samuele and sister, Clelia in Kelowna, BC.
After the trials and tribulations of World War II, Dad was even more anxious to immigrate to Canada. In early 1952, we arrived in Halifax and travelled by train through the wintery prairies. We put foot on “the promising land” that Dad believed would give us the opportunity to live a better life.
For the first year, he worked for the Capozzis on the Black Mountain vineyard, while in the summer, the rest of the family worked at Casa Loma Orchards, picking peaches. The following year, Pietro was offered a job in Summerland by an Italian orchardist, so the family followed him there and also worked in the orchard. He was an accomplished orchardist and “jack of all trades” and could repair almost anything.
Esterina worked as a seamstress for Henderson’s Cleaners. Later, dad joined the City of Kelowna work force. In the early 1960’s, he built a house on Bay Avenue. His home was his castle. Many immigrants from around Pontecosi and friends of Pietro’s family, chose Kelowna as their destination. Pietro organized bocce, card games, picnics, hunting and fishing in Mission Creek. In 1965, he helped form The Kelowna Canadian Italian Club.
Esterina passed away in 1995. Pietro left us in 2004 at age 100. We believe Dad really fulfilled his dreams, immigrating to Canada, and making it possible for him and his family to live a safe, happy and successful life. Amen.
Emma Turri Rantucci
6/22/2021 01:15:38 pm
Grazie per aver pubblicato la storia di mio zio, mia madre Annina era sua sorella. Quando parti per il Canada avevo due anni e lui sapeva che ero il più giovane dei suoi nipoti. Ricordo quando tornava in Italia, mi voleva vicino a lui chiamandomi " veni qui cocchi" e mi raccontava le sue avventure. Nella corrispondenza con mia madre non mancava mai " saluta il cicchin". Grazie zio
6/30/2022 09:54:41 am
My father owned an orchard in North Glenmore that had a couple of acres of grapes vines. He knew tree fruits but not much about viticulture. Your father would come out each year and prune our grape vines expertly. My dad would go to his house to pay him for his labour and, if my memory is correct, your dad would invite him to the cellar for cured meat hanging from the ceiling and a glass of homemade wine.
Brenda Mass Pyne
10/2/2022 04:31:12 pm
I remember Great Uncle Pietro and Auntie Esterina (my Mom-Katie Turri Mass's Aunt & Uncle) Now I have made the connection Emma!
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