Bruno Rinaldo was born on August 19, 1934 in San Zenone Degli Ezzelini, Treviso, Veneto, Italy. His father, Bortolo Rinaldo, was a construction worker, and his mother, Domenica Baschiera, was a home maker. Bruno was brother to Lidia, Severina, Antonio, Prescilla, Silvana, Maria Rosa and Bortolo. Bruno immigated to Canada in August of 1954, landing in Montreal, Quebec, before heading to Calgary, Alberta.
Franca Spagnol was born on July 21, 1940 in Zara, Dalmazia, Italy, now Zadar, Croatia. Her father, Francesco Spagnol, was a business man and her mother, Maria Ambrosi, was a homemaker. Franca was sister to Ines Medvedic and Tosca Spagnol. At age eleven, Franca arrived with her family in October, 1951, landing in Halifax, Nova Scotia, before heading to Calgary. Franca worked for the Italian Consulate in Calgary.
Bruno and Franca met in Calgary and were married in 1962. They have four children: Lidia (Earl Moodie), Anna (Blaire Franko), Davide (Helen Weiler) and Dino (Rosaura Echeverria).
They spent three years in Calgary before making their way to Kelowna, BC. In Kelowna, Bruno worked as a bricklayer and Franca as a sales person. Bruno has left many works of stone and marble, including the Empress Hotel in Victoria. While in Qualicum Beach, BC, their love of gardening has resulted in winning several awards.
In 1985 Franca and Bruno bought and ran a motel in Chermanus, BC. Although they are now retired, they both reside in Victoria, BC.
Don Rampone, KCIC Heritage Committee
Mario, the eldest of seven children, was born in 1927 in Zero Branco, Treviso, Italy. Maria, the fourth of six children, was born in 1932, also in Zero Branco, Treviso, Italy.
Shortly after WWII, Mario began his professional career as a barber/stylist. He spent four years as an apprentice, in Treviso, Italy, and one year in Switzerland. In late 1954, the Canadian Consulate in Italy was looking for skilled barbers and other professionals to bring to Canada. As a result, the work for Mario’s Visa was fast tracked. He arrived in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1955, travelling by train to Vancouver, BC, where the Government of Canada wanted him to work. He was asked to take the BC equivalency test for a barber but, at this point, Mario did not know how to read, speak, or write the English language, so he did a practical test showing his skill set. Mario was granted a “pink paper” that allowed for him to work under any licensed barber/stylist in BC.
Mario traveled to Kitimat, BC, finding work as a waiter for Alcan Aluminum. This job was temporary as he soon met an Italian barber, who allowed him to work during shifts off from Alcan. This opened the door to a permanent stay. In 1956, Mario returned to Italy and married Maria in February, 1957. They made their way to New York and travelled the long journey back to Kitimat. One year later, Kelowna welcomed Mario and Maria and their two young girls. Two sons were born in Kelowna during the next few years.
Mario started Mario’s Barbers, in the Capri Mall. He excelled in his trade but he also found other great barbers to surround himself. This led to lasting friendships and created a business that stood for decades, with clients attending from all over Canada. After selling to Luciano Zol, he retired. However, Mario returned to work with Mike Durante, a friend, lifelong barber and fellow Italian.
Maria was a working housewife and mother. She was a seamstress to many in Kelowna, altering/making dresses, pants, shirts, curtains or any other fabric that could be mended. She also did all the daily laundry for Mario’s Barber Shop.
Mario was a founding member and the first treasurer of the Kelowna Canadian Italian Club. He also served as president in 1969 and 1970. He loved playing and being a member of the Italian Bocce Club, both locally and provincially. He loved playing soccer and watching boxing, football, hockey and keeping up with news events. As a barber, he found he had to be well informed in all sorts of topics. He was a very active gardener, who got up at dawn before going to open the barbershop, and returning to his garden after dinner. His grapes, and the making, drinking and sharing of his wine were also an enjoyable part of his life.
Mario loved to go hunting and fishing with his boys, getting out with nature, leaving the ringing phones and busy city behind. This included going mushroom hunting with his dogs. He was a long time member and representative of the Kelowna & District Fish & Game Club.
Mario was a good swimmer. He swam across Okanagan Lake many times. He loved music and dancing. He had a very good singing voice that not many people knew about, nor got to hear. Mario passed away on May 22, 1998. As per his request, he was set free along a trail and a creek he visited often while hunting, fishing, and taking the dogs out for their runs. Mario loved Kelowna and will always be free and close by.
Maria Puppato and son, Walter
Florindo Pucci was born in Cleto, Cosenza, Calabria in 1939. He is the eldest son of Antonio and Gilda Pucci and siblings to Armerinda Russo, Genoeffa Berardelli, Ida Pucci and Salvatore Pucci.
At the age of 21, Florindo arrived in Halifax, Nova Scotia, at Pier 21 on July 30, 1961. He travelled by train directly to Kelowna, BC, where his oldest sister, Armerinda, was awaiting his arrival. In the years to follow, he worked hard and was so proud to sponsor his parents, both sisters and younger brother to immigrate and join him in Kelowna. Leaving his family behind for a better life was a difficult choice for him, but with patience and dedication, he was able to bring everyone together again.
At the age of sixteen, he owned his own workshop in his hometown where he was a furniture builder. He made many pieces that are still being used today. Over the years, Flori enjoyed creating many things and always worked with his hands as a meticulous craftsman. Upon his arrival in Kelowna, he was employed at Russo Sawmill. He worked at Kelowna Millwork as a cabinet maker and then Revelstoke Builders in the woodshop. In 1981, he started Flori Pucci Carpentry and continued to build cabinets and furniture for many homes and businesses in the valley.
Anna Filice was born in Aiello Calabro, Cosenza, Calabria in 1945. She is the eldest daughter of Rosario & Iolanda (Russo) Filice and siblings to Eugene Filice, Rosa Watkins, Mary Humble, Frank Filice and Albert Filice. In 1957, Iolanda, eleven year old Anna, and three younger siblings immigrated to Canada and landed at Pier 21 in Halifax. They travelled by train to Kelowna where Rosario was waiting for them. Anna began working at the age of fourteen at the White Heather Bakery and then Henderson Cleaners, where she met other Italians whom she remained friends with for many years.
Florindo and Anna married in August, 1965 and welcomed three children: Jilda (Gordon) Hotchkiss, Carla (Dean) Temme and Danny (Denise) Pucci. They are blessed with six beautiful grandchildren (Alanna, Lauren, Samantha, Stephanie, Shaelyn and Jeremy). They purchased their first home on Lakeshore Road in 1966 and to this day, still call it home.
In 1981, Anna, along with the support of her family, started her own catering company, Pucci’s Catering. Immediate and extended family worked together and catered many amazing Italian meals for weddings and celebrations.
The Kelowna Canadian Italian Club has always been a big part of the Pucci family. Florindo is one of the Founding members of the Club. He proudly sang at the very first Folkfest Canada Day celebration in 1974, at the Jubilee Bowl and was part of the KCIC Men’s Choir, who performed at Expo 86. The Pucci family was part of the ensemble representing British Columbia at the Multicultural Heritage Festival in Halifax in 1979.
As newcomers to Canada so many years ago, they will never forget the support and friendships they’ve found at the Kelowna Canadian Italian Club.
Jill Pucci Hotchkiss, daughter
Giovanni (John) Ferruccio Manzocco immigrated to Kelowna in 1951, at the calling of his uncle John Butt. He was born in 1926 in Sediliis, Udine, Italy. He apprenticed, for two years, at his uncle's shoe repair shop. He lived on Bertram Street for one year and then bought a home on Oxford Avenue.
In 1954, he went to work for CP Rail in Field, BC. There, John worked on maintaining the tunnel system of Kicking Horse Pass, in particular the famous spiral tunnels. He left the railway in the early 1960s, and returned to Italy. It was not to be a permanent stay, however, and by 1965 John had returned to the Okanagan and took a position at the Highland Bell Mine in Beaverdell. He remained working there until his retirement.
John purchased a home on Pandosy Street when he retired. He never married and did not have any children. He was a kind man with a very gentle and giving nature. John was known as a very hard worker and a jack-of-all-trades. He was one of the founders of the Kelowna Canadian Italian Club.
John died in 1994 and is laid to rest at the Kelowna Memorial Park Cemetery.
Mary Anna Cimbaro, cousin
Ralph was born in Pontecosi, Pieve Fosciana, Lucca, Tuscany, Italy on October 11, 1922. His parents were Amos and Maria Guidi. He had a younger brother, Costanso. Ralph came to Kelowna, BC, in the 1940s. He was a trained electrician and gained employment with the City of Kelowna, in the Electrical Department. He stayed with Uncle Angelo and Aunt Letizia, until he married Clara Guidi on October 28th, 1953. Their wedding took place at Immaculate Conception Church in Kelowna. Their attendants were Lucia (Guidi) Schorn (Clara's sister) and Marshall Desjardin (a close friend of Ralph’s).
Clara Santina Guidi was born in Pontecosi, Province di Lucca, Italy on November 2nd, 1909. She and her brother, Rudolph, remained in Italy until her parents, Angelo Guidi and Letizia Pellini, were able to establish a home in Kelowna. In February of 1920, she and brother Rudolph, arrived in Kelowna with their Aunt Ersilia Pellini (Letizia Guidi's sister). There they were to meet their younger sister, Lucia, who was born in Canada. Clara worked at the Banff Springs Hotel when she finished her schooling and later worked at the Willow Inn Hotel (in Kelowna) for many years.
Ralph and Clara built their home at 1891 Carruthers Street, Kelowna. They did not have children but readily opened their home to their niece, Letitia Schorn, who lived with them from 1960 to 1964 while she attended Immaculata High School. They were great substitute parents.
Ralph enjoyed hunting and fishing in his spare time while Clara was quite involved in the Catholic Church. They both enjoyed the outdoors. With Tony Bertucci, they bought a piece of property in the Joe Rich area, where they spent time improving the property and enjoying the rural life style, on weekends and holidays. They also enjoyed visiting with Clara's sister, Lucia, who lived in Bridesville, B.C.
As an employee of the city's electrical department, Ralph often helped with the lighting at the annual Kelowna Regatta. He also worked on some of the new lighting that was put in at the Kelowna Airport. He was proud to be a part of that project.
Ralph died on May 14th, 1971 at age 49. Clara died on March 28th, 1974. They are interred at the City of Kelowna cemetery.
Tish Ecker, niece
Florentino (Tino) Oderick Grison was born on January 28, 1936, in Krkavce, a small town in Slovenia, which was a part of Italy before World War I. The original spelling of his last name was Grizon but that was lost in translation when he immigrated to Canada at twenty years old. He had a very large family who had an olive farm outside of Trieste while the rest of the family operated hotels and restaurants on the ocean in town. A tourist in Trieste told Tino that Kelowna, B.C., in the beautiful Okanagan, had a four season playground. In 1956, he took a ship to Canada and a train ride to Kelowna.
Florentino started working in an orchard when he arrived, pruning trees and picking fruit. After a few years of farming, he found a job at the local saw mill. As he wanted to be his own boss he started his own company, Metro Plastering and Stucco, in 1969. Tino was a successful businessman and a great craftsman and worked for many years until he retired.
In 1961, he met Elizabeth Ann Bazzett in Kelowna and they were married in 1962. They had four children: Roderick, Susan, Angela, and Jennifer. The couple ended up divorcing in 1980. A few years later he met Scottish born, Morag Sarah Adams, and married again. They are happily still together in Kelowna.
Tino stuccoed the Kelowna Bocce club house and loved to play bocce, hunt, fish, and make his own home made wine. Although he has mild dementia, at age 87, he still lives in Kelowna and loves to sing Italian songs!!
Rod Grison, son
Elmo was born on October 29, 1914, in Ontario, to parents, Vincent Gallucci and Antonia Guiliani. In 1902, Vincent, at age 26, immigrated to Canada from the Lazio region of Italy. The 1926 census recorded the family living in Biggar, Saskatchewan. Children Virgil, born 1910, Ida (Mazza), born 1913, and Elmo, born 1917 were born in Port Arthur (Thunder Bay), Ontario while Lenora (Moody) was born in Saskatchewan in 1924. Daughter Mary (Trupei) a was born in 1928.
Carmela Purificati was born August 12, 1923 to parents, Tony and Annina. She had at least one sister, Lena (Bodnar). Her parents immigrated to Canada in 1907 from Ofena, L’Aquila, Abruzzo, Italy.
A 1945 Port Arthur voter’s list showed Elmo as a soldier and was married at the time. By 1949, he was working in a wood yard in Terrace Bay, in the township of Thunder Bay. Carmela worked for Eatons Department Store in Port Arthur. In 1956, they travelled to Italy to see their ancestral towns.
In early 1960, Elmo and Carmela moved to Bowes Avenue in Kelowna, BC. Their love of gardening was evident in the first year they were there. They planted the same number of tomato plants that they did in Port Arthur but, with the better growing climate in Kelowna, they were rewarded with so many tomatoes that all the neighbours benefited from their harvest. Later, they moved to a new home in Lombardy Square.
Carmela was secretary and book keeper for Rex W Lupton, at the Shops Capri branch of the Lupton Real Estate Agency. She was very active in the community. She taught sewing and volunteered for the Okanagan Symphony and the Kiwanis Music Festival. Later in life, Carmela became an avid dog lover. Elmo worked for the railway and Calona Wines. His occupation on the Voter’s Lists was Gardener. As well as gardening, playing the accordion was one of Elmo’s enjoyments. Both Carmela and Elmo were in the local newspapers, numerous times, as club champions at their Bridge Club.
Carmela and Elmo both passed away in 2004. They are both laid to rest at Kelowna Memorial Park Cemetery. In honour of their lives, the Carmela and Elmo Gallucci Fund was set up at the Central Okanagan Foundation. This fund assists music and animal welfare groups.
Don Rampone, KCIC Heritage Committee
Vincenzo (Nuccio) Fellini was born on February 18, 1932 in Celano, Italy. Vince married Maria, the love of his life, and they immigrated to Canada in 1964. For thirty-two years he worked for the Canadian National Railway, followed by the City of Kelowna.
Family members include his sisters, Binetta and Giovanna (Menta), his brother Gaetano and nieces and nephews in Italy.
Vince was an outdoorsman who enjoyed hunting, fishing and camping with Maria, his friends and of course, little Blackie, their devoted cat. His passion for the outdoors was evident in his very selective choice in equipment, his meticulously organized gear, and his love of telling a hunting or fishing story.
He passed away on April 30th at the age of 83 and is laid to rest at Lakeview Memorial Gardens. Think of Vince whenever you enjoy a day out in nature with the ones you love.
Maria was born on May 6, 1936 in Celano, Italy. For many years she operated a seamstress shop from her home. Maria loved spending time camping, fishing and exploring the outdoors. She loved her family and her friends. Maria passed away on May 18, 2011 and is laid to rest in Lakeview Memorial Gardens.
Family member, Grace (Menta) Boni, recalls: “What I remember best about Vince was his sense of humour. He was never without a funny story to tell. An evening with Vince was an evening spent laughing. He was happiest when he was out in the woods hunting and fishing. He was lucky that his wife, Maria, enjoyed it as much as he did”.
Don Rampone, KCIC Heritage Committee
Giovanni (John) was born October 24, 1926 in Aiello Calabro, Cosenza, Calabria, Italy, to parents Eugenio Filice and Anna Cutugno. He was brother to Rosa, Rosario, Francesca, Maria, Settimio (Sam), Antonia and Gennaro.
In the 1950’s, he immigrated to Chambéry, France. He was followed there by several family members. In the 60’s, he made his way to Kelowna, BC.
Upon his arrival in Kelowna, he lived with his brother, Rosario’s family and then with Pietro Calissi’s family. Striking out on his own he moved to Pacific Avenue before buying a house on Landie Road.
Giovanni worked on his own as a mason. In 1966, he became one of the founding members of the Kelowna Canadian Italian Club. He enjoyed the many social activities of the club as well as visiting and talking to neighbours, family and friends.
He passed away on July 25, 2001 and is interred at Lakeview Memorial Gardens in Kelowna.
Don Rampone, KCIC Heritage Committee
Carlo (Charlie) Emilio Dal Col, the son of Fortunato and Giuseppina Santamaria, was born on July 27, 1912, in Narvasa Della Battaglia, Treviso, Italy. That same year, Fortunato left Italy for Kelowna BC, leaving his wife and infant son in Italy. In 1920, Charlie and Giuseppina landed at Ellis Island and made their way to Niagara Falls, across Canada to Kelowna, BC.
They joined Fortunato at their new home and farm at Roanoke Avenue and Richter Street. Sisters Rina, Mary and Albina and brother, Leno, were all born in Kelowna.
Entering grade three at Kelowna Elementary School, Charlie became frustrated because of his difficulty with English, so he decided to leave school to work on the farm. He saved his money and bought a car. Learning how to repair it, he realized the natural skills he had.
In 1933, Charlie started constructing a home for himself and his bride-to-be, Isabella Guidi, daughter of Pietro Guidi and Umile Coli. Isabella was born on October 21, 1912. In 1926, along with her mother and three brothers, Isabella travelled from Tuscany to Kelowna, to join Isabella’s father. Charlie and Isabella were married in 1935. In 1938, they welcomed their only child Adriana (Audrey). Their home in Glenmore, was a peaceful and happy one.
Between 1933 and 1940, Charlie worked for Josi Rossi, doing plastering, stucco, and concrete placement. Then, in 1940, the opportunity came for a job with SM Simpson Inc. Stanley Simpson needed a strong employee to work alongside him; this led to 30 years of employment as a millwright (industrial mechanic). Charlie continued to construct houses in his spare time. He constructed a home for his mother on the land he inherited, and later on, one for his family.
All of Charlie's siblings completed grade twelve and went on to various types of employment. Charlie was an advocate for education and encouraged his younger brother, Leno, to attend Vancouver Technical School to become a draftsman.
Prior to retirement, it was Charlie’s dream to have a hobby apple orchard. In 1954, he and Isabella purchased ten acres in Glenmore and later purchased another ten acres next door. He retired in 1969 at age 57, to care for the orchard, which he did until 1993. Charlie’s passion was his vegetable and fruit tree garden. As a young man he hunted deer, moose, and pheasants. He loved the outdoors, fishing and exploring the mountains. His extended family of six grandchildren and later, eleven great-grandchildren, were his pride and joy. In 1999, Isabella succumbed to cancer. He was lost. To be closer to his family, he moved to Vancouver. In 2004, his life ended. His ashes were interred at Kelowna cemetery. He returned to his roots in Kelowna, to the love of his life.
Adriana O’Malley, daughter
770 Lawrence Ave.