Renato Vaccaro and Renata Turri
Renato Fortunato Giovanni Vaccaro was born on April 17, 1927 in Crespano del Grappa, a village of Piece del Grappa, Trevisio, Veneto, Italy. His parents were Joshua Vaccaro and Maria Ceccato. Renato had one sister, Vittoria (Mario Zambon). After World War II, North America, especially western Canada was the beacon for many Italian families. In 1949, Renato was invited by his uncle, Sylvio Vaccaro, to join him in his shoe repair shop in Kelowna, BC.
Renata Turri was born on March 17, 1933 in Pontecosi, Garfagnana, Lucca, Toscana, Italy, to parents Pietro Turri and Esterina Gragnani. She has one sister, Emma (Elmo) Rantucci. In 1952, The Turri family ventured to Summerland, BC, joining family friends, the Bonaldi and Bravos. They moved to Kelowna to be nearer Pietro’s brother, Samuele Turri, and his family
Renato and Renata met in Summerland at English speaking classes. They were married, in Summerland, on January 15, 1955. Renato and Renata had one son, John, who married Cheryl Wilson.
Renato and Renata lived in a suite at Caesar Turri’s home until 1959, when they built a house towards Knox Mountain on Richter Street. The neighbourhood had a high density of fellow Italians: Guidi, Bertucci, Turri, Marcanio, Rantucci, Ciancone, Loretto, Menta, Bazzana, Martinelli and Truant. Renato learned the shoe repair trade from his Uncle Sylvio, eventually purchasing the shop from him. Renata worked shifts for the fruit packing houses in the North end of Kelowna and was a busy caretaker of the house and John.
Renata loved to bake and share social times with her friends in the community. Renato enjoyed the camaraderie when playing bocce, hunting, making wine, sausages and salamis. They were both part of the development of the Kelowna Canadian Italian Club, an important meeting / social place of the local Italian community. The club also ensured that Italians, as a whole, could be stronger and more influential in Kelowna’s growth.
Renata passed away, suddenly, in August, 2005. Renato, passed away of natural causes, at Kelowna General Hospital on December 23, 2008. They were both interred at Kelowna Cemetery, resting together, a rest they deserved after a lifetime helping strangers and of loving and sharing with family and friends.
John Vaccaro, son
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