Tom lived and breathed the history of Kelowna, BC. He remembered every detail of the city development during his years. Driving around many of the streets in Kelowna with Tom was like listening to an historical account of the families and buildings that were present, fifty years ago.
Thomas Archangelo Capozzi was born in Kelowna, on October 10, 1928. He was the youngest son of Pasquale and Maria Capozzi. Even though life growing up in Kelowna was not all play, Tom certainly made it look that way. His parents engendered a strong work ethic in him. There was no such luxury as “free time,” so he became an expert at making play out of his school/work/church day. Regarding school somewhat of a respite, Tom thoroughly enjoyed his elementary and junior high days in Kelowna. His classmates report he was not the quietest of students, but he was enthusiastic and a very quick study. Off to Vancouver City College for his senior high school years, Tom was subsequently recruited to Portland University and UCLA on a football scholarship to study business.
The Okanagan enchanted Tom and he returned to Kelowna to discover the real world of business. He followed his father’s footsteps as one of the builders of Kelowna through his position as executive Vice President of Capozzi Enterprises, Executive Vice President of Calona Wines, and Director of Calona Distillers Ltd. Tom was an original director of the BC Wine Council who established the VQA quality wines.
Tom met and married Babs (Josephine) in the 1960’s. They had four children: Cameron, Cascia, Caron and Colin. During the children’s growing up years, Tom was often travelling, but he enjoyed his weekends at home with family and friends. When I met Tom in the early 1980’s, he was experiencing challenging business times. Tom’s children were grown, and he and Babs had previously decided that they made better friends than marriage partners.
Tom and I were married several years later and he started a new adventure as an “at home” father of two girls, Lauren and Krista. Although Tom’s cancer diagnosis in 1998 interrupted the teen years of his two daughters, he was determined to do everything he could to spend as much time as possible with them. Lauren spoke at Tom’s funeral “…we spent much of our time trying to keep up with dad - not only on the ski hill, or on the tennis court, but in fullness of his spirit, the quickness of his wit, and how he made conversation an art.”
A deep seated belief that we must all give back to our community the gifts our community gives us, led Tom to be an original founder of the Central Okanagan Foundation. He truly cherished his home town, the City of Kelowna.
Adapted from the 68th Report of the OHS, 2004, written by his wife, Barbara Gail Plecash.
770 Lawrence Ave.