elevated RJMWB April 26, 1923 ~ April 18, 2020
elevated RJMWB Obituary
elevated RJMWB Antonio, age 96, passed away on Saturday, April 18, 2020, at Villa Leonardo Gambin. He was born on April 26, 1923, in Villanova del Battista, Avellino, Italy. He joins his wife, Maria in heaven. He is remembered as a hard working and devoted father. He is survived by three children who express their sorrow and love: Carmela married to Nick, Elisa married to Nino, and Michael married to Cora.
elevated RJMWB He is also remembered by 7 grandchildren: Renzo married to Michelle, Giampiero married to Joanna, Silvia, Victoria, Gabriel, James and Luca. Great-granddaughter, Marina will miss her great grandfather. Antonio is also survived by 2 brothers in Italy, Emilio and Nicola, and a sister, Angiolina.
elevated RJMWB A memorial mass will be scheduled at a later date when attending church and social gatherings are possible. If desired, memorial donations in Antonio’s memory may be made to Villa Leonardo Gambin Charities or to the Alzheimer’s Society.
elevated RJMWB Memories of a grandson:
elevated RJMWB April 18 2020
elevated RJMWB Today I woke up from the call of a cardinal that was outside. I peeked outside through the window to find powdery snow falling from the above. There was a low level of light in my room, and I was cold. I rushed to the bathroom, did my business, washed my hands in cold water, then dried them with a white hand towel only to find myself back in my cozy bed. From downstairs I could hear a sound. I heard my parents, downstairs, in the kitchen, arguing. Then I heard my father slip the words out. My grandfather had died. My grandfather was a short man with a potbelly. His skin was like that of an Arab’s. He had silky white hair. His eyes caved into his face and he had purple circles under his eyes. His beard was always shaved and the edge of his lips always drooped down. He would rarely smile. His teeth were a mash of white, yellow, and blue. Teeth were crooked and gone. He would always wear an Old Italian Guy Hat on his head and a wrist watch on his arm. At a late age he suffered from Alzheimer’s. He could not speak a word of English. It was very hard to both understand and appreciate him when we saw each other. The only memories I have of him are recent. Since I can remember, every time he saw me, he would close one of his eyes, hold it, then open it again. I would wink back at him with a large smile on my face. He would smile too. Maybe he thought I was a brother of his. He had thought my two aunts were his older sisters, and he didn’t even recognize my father. We spent last Christmas at my aunt’s house. My grandfather was there with his caregiver. He ate his food in small chunks and almost choked every time. At the end of his meal, he went around the table taping everyone on their head and counting them as a number. I was number fifty-six and I couldn’t help but laugh. At the end of the meal, his transportation hadn’t arrived. He grew frustrated and, soon, my father and uncle made the long drive to bring him back to the nursing home. That would be the last time I saw him. My grandfather grew up in a small town in Ariano Irpino called Masciano which was the size of a street. He was the oldest of many brothers and two sisters, too many that I have lost count. He had been drafted into the army for WWII. I don’t quite remember the story but I believe one of his younger brothers wished him luck, hoping his older brother would survive. My grandfather slapped him in the face. In the end, his battalion surrendered to a German force right outside of Turin and taken to Munich as prisoner of war, but a very clever one. My grandfather was not a smoker. The Germans would give them food and cigarettes. Since he did not smoke, he would sell the cigarettes for a few cents more than what they were worth. Soon he started making some money that he would use when he was released. Fast forward a couple of years; my grandfather now has a wife and a daughter. They lived in my grandmother’s hometown which was a two hour walk from his. Soon after that, they immigrated to Canada by plane in search of a better life. He was a construction worker and had three kids. My grandfather was a very quiet and lonely man. He would spend his afternoons walking around the neighborhood alone. Every day till his death, he would read the morning Italian paper. As I sit in my bed typing on my Ipad this morning, I can only help but think of him. He may have not been perfect but my grandfather was a person and he deserves recognition. I think of the people dying from the pandemic who won’t get a funeral. Their families will not be able to celebrate their lives, or even say one last goodbye. A few days ago, my grandfather tested positive for covid-19. But he did not die because of that. He stood strong and fought against it. But perhaps it was the fact that there was too much change and he could not take it. He stopped eating and slipped away early this morning. My thoughts and prayers will stay with him. Rest easy, Nonno.
elevated RJMWB Luca Raffa