elevated YM4jN November 21, 1926 – June 16, 2021
Diletta Romano, a larger-than-life presence for almost a century, lived a long and fulfilling life. Diletta extended vast love, warmth, wisdom and generosity to the people around her. Family always came first. Oldest daughter of Addolorata and Alfredo Romano, Diletta was widowed at the early age of 33 after being married only 11 years to her first and only true love, Annibale Romano. Together they had 3 children: Tony (m. Shelly, 2 grandchildren: Lauren and Rafael), Mario (m. Glenda, 1 grandchild: Natalie) and Alfredo (m. Moira, 5 grandchildren: Annibale, Adriana, Ottaviano, Max and Isabella). Diletta was immensely proud of her 8 grandchildren and 4 great grandchildren. Her great grandchildren Alfie (5) and Bobby(4) Valentine (Adriana & Harley); Kaia (7 months) Dzebic (Natalie & Vedran); and Roman (2 months) Brenner (Isabella & Jeff) adore their “Big Nonna”.
Diletta was instinctively inquisitive and not one to miss any opportunity, travelling the world to Europe on many occasions, North Africa, Mexico, the United States and across Canada. She took many cruises including to the Caribbean, South America and the Mediterranean.
Diletta grew up humbly in Italy in a very small Appenine town near Isernia. Castelpizzuto is an historic mountain village in Molise, dating back to the Roman era. Times were very tough growing up as one of 7 children in this tiny village, where work was hard and consisted of living from the land. There was little left in the village during and after occupation by both the Germans and then Allies. Many suffered hunger, deprivation and abuse. There was little opportunity for higher level education or work that would provide a proper living. After the war, the young men, many of whom served, left the village and their families and sought work overseas in Canada, the United States and South America. The young women, including Diletta and her sisters Eva and Amalia were left to tend to the work and the caring of family.
Annibale Romano left for Toronto, Canada in 1948. Diletta’s older brother, Modesto left for Argentina that same year with two brothers in tow, Gaetano and Domenico. Diletta’s fiancé
Annibale worked extremely hard during the first year in Toronto and saved enough money to send for his childhood sweetheart, Diletta. She had never left her mountain village and now at the age of 23 she would leave everything familiar behind, travel via Naples to Paris and then the French coast bound for Montréal. She was extremely shy and spoke only the Italian dialect particular to Castelpizzuto. She bravely made the journey and finally arrived in Toronto where she would be married within 3 weeks to Annibale. Her Sister-in-law Anna Romano, married to Guerino Romano already established in Toronto, helped organize Diletta’s arrival and was one of her great companions throughout her life. Annibale’s older brother, Ottaviano (m. Carmella) would remain in Castelpizzuto. Annibale’s sister Maria married another Annibale Romano and moved his clan from Castelpizzuto to Verona, Italy. Diletta maintained a strong connection to her in-laws, nieces and nephews in Verona and visited with them on every trip to Europe.
Toronto was not a very sophisticated city in the post war years or very embracing of immigrants or Italians in particular due to their role in the war. These obstacles would be overcome by the powerful determination of people like Diletta Romano. Annibale and his great friend Benny Caranci, saw the potential for construction opportunities in the Greater Toronto Area and worked tirelessly to create a business base. Annibale was a hard worker and a smart businessman and Diletta was right there beside him. In the decade he was given to build something for his family, he created a substantial base. Annibale built Diletta a beautiful new house with a lovely garden. He formed United Contractors, a small and thriving company with several lots for the construction of homes. Sadly this would all end with a diagnosis of Hodgkin’s Disease in early 1960. Annibale would be dead 6 months later, leaving his 3 young son’s Tony 10, Mario 6 and Alfredo 3 for Diletta to raise alone in a country where she could not speak the language and had very little status as an immigrant woman.
Fortunately Diletta and Annibale helped bring the rest of the Romano siblings and their families to Canada, and by 1964 all 6 of her siblings would join her in Toronto and make it their home. Filip was the youngest. He came from Castelpizzuto and lived with Diletta and Annibale and their 3 boys on Hove Street in Toronto. He was barely 22. His young beautiful, true love Lizetta would soon join him and be married at Hove St. Following Annibale’s death, Filipo amd Lizetta continued to live at Hove Street for 5 years which was a tremendously important source of stability and support for Diletta and her young family.
Diletta was a very proud and fiercely protective mother. Upon the passing of her husband, she was intent to look for work that would allow her to raise her 3 young boys. She is an amazing housekeeper and gardener and she put these skills along with a talent and love for sewing right to work becoming a seamstress and domestic. Everything came from the land and with her incredible green thumb she created an Italian vegetable garden at Hove Street that had no equal. We all fondly remember her massive and bountiful Cherry tree that she nurtured from a mere twig.
Food was the communal focus. Making traditional Italian sausages for which she became renown, picking bushels of field tomatoes for canning and making tomato sauce, pickling pears and apricots; and of course celebrating the feast days, religious and civic holidays, and the births, marriages, communions, weddings and graduations of the ever increasing tightly knit group that originated from Castelpizzuto.
Education held a highly important place in the Romano household and Diletta and Annibale pledged each other that no matter what came about their son’s would never be denied an education because they could not afford one. All 3 sons have gone on to run their own businesses. Mario completed a Masters Degree at York University and Alfredo completed a Masters Degree at Harvard University. Tony moved to Kelowna, BC and opened his own company which he continues to run today.
All of Diletta’s siblings and most of her in-laws; Ottaviano (m. Carmella); Guerino (m. Anna); Maria (m.Annibale); Arturo (m. Scolastica) have pre-deceased her which has brought great heartache. Also Modesto (m.Filomena); Eva (m.Constantino); Fillip (m.Lizetta); Domenico (m.Rosina); Gaetano (m.Almerinda); and Amalia (m.Eugenio). Constantino, Rosina and Lizetta survive her.
At almost 95, Diletta has seen world changes that we could not have fathomed. As an immigrant she redefined her reality and any facile cultural appropriations. She not only became a fiercely independent woman, but also remained a traditional homemaker, an instinctively intelligent woman with minimal education who saw the world.
Diletta is not only Mother Earth, nurturing and caring for whomever came in her path but also fiercely protective of those she loved and the values that sustained her through almost a century on the planet. Known for her spun stories and unadorned insights into human nature, she defied her self deprecating humility.
Diletta’s stories were fed by a lifetime of obstacles overcome, world travels, her love of cooking, her interest in people and art (the Louvre was a highlight of her many excursions and from 1970 to 1990 she attended every Opera produced by the Canadian Opera Company). Her passion for experiences shared with family and friends was insatiable. It’s what defined her.
The family is particularly grateful for the care, kindness and support of Diletta’s caregivers over her last year and a half, fortunately all in her Woodbridge home where she lived for over 20 years. Special thanks to Myrna and Sonam and The Spectrum care team; especially Maria, Anita, Shereen, Khadra and Pramjit. A huge thanks also to Dr. Maida and staff for their compassionate care and to the Hospice Vaughan Care team for their assistance and support.
Of special note, Diletta’s wonderful friends and community at 141 Woodbridge Ave. provided countless days and nights of memorable companionship and support. She loved them dearly.
The enormity of Diletta’s presence leaves a big hole in many lives. But that presence, and the love that flowed from it will continue to sustain us.
In lieu of flowers, donations in her memory can be made to a favoured charity of your choice. Diletta Romano‘s Funeral Mass will be held at Holy Cross Cemetery Chapel on Saturday, June 19th, 2021 at 1.30pm. Interment beside her husband Annibale will follow.
elevated YM4jN Streaming
elevated YM4jN Click Here to View the Mass
elevated YM4jN Saturday, June 19 at 1:30 p.m. Eastern Standard Time.
Wow! What an incredible life. Our deepest condolences to the Romano family. A day to honor an incredible woman and her legacy to everyone who she touched and loved.
Heartfelt condolences, what a wonderful life. We remember Diletta at the wedding, and her strong life force. We are very sorry she has gone and may she Rest In Peace.
Zia Diletta’s demeanour was and always will be a fond memory for me. Rest In Peace with your loved ones Zia. Sending condolences to the entire family.
Love, Monica and family
My condolences go out to the whole Romano Family for their loss. She was truly a beautiful person who cared deeply for her family
Our family (Handling- Du Planty) joins in sending our deepest condolences on the passing of this most extraordinary lady Diletta! When her son Alfredo, married Moira, Diletta warmly opened her heart, hospitality and arms even to Moira’s extended family! We will always remember her heartfelt embraces! There never was a more devoted mother, grandmother,or even great grandmother than Diletta! We thank you Diletta for modeling the ideal Matriarch and setting standards for family, with such integrity that we all will be challenged to follow!
My condolences go out to the whole Romano Family for their loss. She will be missed.
Your mom was a tower of strength that touched everyone she met. She will be missed but definitely not forgotten.
Such a beautiful and detailed tribute to this wonderful woman. We send our condolences to the Romano family. She was a powerful woman and we are fortunate to have known her. Love and best wishes from our family to yours.
The Romano Family Our deepest condolences for the passing of Diletta. May she rest in peace. John & Iria Giancola
Our deepest Condolence Tony,Mario,Alfredo and your families for the Loss of Diletta.Humanity at times gives us examples how through internal Strengh,Perserverance,Hard Work overcoming all adversities and un abondance of Love for her family and the community she spared no one in her circle how to dramatically improve life.Diletta was an exemple for all of us that knew her how to challenge life adversities and make it better-For all of us that watched and participated she is an irreplicable loss,but her memories and examples will always be with us.May God Bless Her in her new Journy.
With all our Love Danny , Maria Caranci and family
My deepest condolences to Tony, Mario and Alfredo and their families. Diletta was indeed bigger than life. I shall cherish the wonderful times, both in Castelpizzuto and Toronto that Diletta and my parents had, a relationship based on love and respect. I vividly recall the numerous times Diletta and my parents would head off to Niagara Falls with their “polenta’ to enjoy their picnic.
She WAS Family and will be greatly missed ………. . avoid which cannot be filled.
Her entire family is in my thoughts and prayers.
I will miss her dearly.
There will be no woman like Zia Diletta that we will meet in our lifetime. A true inspiration and had all the characteristics of being a truly great woman. We will miss your bear hugs Zia!
Our Family (Sandra & Max LeMarchant and our four children: Abigail, Keenan, Caswell, and Beccah) sends our sincerest sympathies and condolences on the passing of Diletta Romano to all Diletta’s family and friends. We will always remember Diletto Romano, also known to us affectionately as “Nona” and “Mrs. Romano”, as an outstanding woman and human being. Kind, loving, inspirational – Diletta – the highly loved and respected matriarch of her family.
Dear Tony, Mario, Alfredo and families, please accept my sincerest condolences of the passing of Diletta. I so vividly remember the wonderful relationship that started in Castelpizzuto when your father and my dad both sailed for Canada a relationship with Diletta continued and thrived in Canada, a relationship based on love and respect my parents and Diletta shared
I recall the many visits to the Romano farm in Richmond Hill.
The most beautiful recollection is he numerous “polenta picnics” they had on their way to the Niagara area. She was indeed bigger than life. I shall miss her dearly.
Diletta has left a void that cannot be filled.
The Romano families are in my thoughts and prayers.
May Diletta rest in peace.
Our most heart felt sympathies go out to all the Romano’s upon the loss of Dear Diletta. We have had so many marvellous occasions celebrating life’s births, baptisms, birthdays, graduations, marriages, careers, etc…and all the special holidays over decades with Nona. Nona always arriving with arms full of an abundance of the most delicious Italian dishes she had lovingly made. I’ve had many fascinating conversations with Diletta about her life and travels from the little village in Italy. Diletta was such an inspiration. She will be dearly missed.
Much Love to you all, Melanie du Planty & David Blanchard
Giovanni and Anna Romano and family.
We wish to extend our sincere condolences to the Romano family. Diletta was truly an incredible woman. Her presence was larger than life with a huge heart full of love, gratitude and humbleness. She will be dearly missed but never forgotten. Our prayers go out to her entire family. May Diletta rest in peace untied with the loved ones who have already made their journey.
To our beautiful Zia Diletta, we will miss you dearly and our lives have been blessed with your presence, love, and stories. You have left us all with the most meaningful example of what living life to the fullest means. We love you dearly.
Our condolences to the whole Romano Family.
Hope we can be of some support at this very sad time.
She was a beautiful person and always smiling.
She will greatly missed. may God be at his side.
My sincerest condolences to all of Diletta’s family. I had not seen her in many years but she was a wonderful, loving person and I am very sad to hear of her passing. My mother, also a seamstress, was very fond of her as well. They worked on a sewing project together and my mother really enjoyed spending that time with her. Even those of us who only knew her a little, felt and understood the powerful impact she had on everyone. She was a brilliant light in this world.
My sincere condolences to Tony, Mario, and Alfredo Romano, and their families at the ascendance to Heaven and to God of their deeply loved mother and nonna Signora Diletta. She was an extraordinary person. Her strength and her fervour for life and family will always be remembered. God Bless.