elevated nzat7 March 1, 1951 – March 15, 2021
elevated nzat7 Giuseppe ‘Joe’ Marrelli’s memory lives on in our hearts and bellies. His prowess in the garden, kitchen, and cantina are well-known. His pioneering efforts in salumi (the Italian art of curing meats) and antipasti resulted in seasonal joy and his savoury contributions to family functions were often the first to disappear. Capicola, prosciutto, pancetta, aged cheeses, olives, and peppers, to name a few, were often anticipated and requested. Most famous was his soppressata. Often imitated, never duplicated. Like Joe, himself, his soppressata was truly special. Each one was lovingly crafted and nurtured like his own children. The results were an experience that bordered between ecstasy and pure unadulterated greed. Guests often strategically positioned themselves at the antipasti table to monitor soppressata stock levels, while casually trying to not appear like a ‘porco’ (one of Joe’s favoured descriptions) and a chance at the final slice. On occasion, blood was shed. Thankfully, there was always a stash somewhere. Joe made sure of that. He always took care of his family.
His gift of food was a gift of love and is a living example of dedication, integrity, and passion. The ‘why?’ of his actions culminate in what was dearest to him. Family. His strength and determination carried him through his battle with cancer. His brave face and relentless will were for his family. Even during his tribulations he showed compassion, kindness, and mercy. In the end, he moved on to a greater adventure in a fashion much like his stoic and practical disposition in life. On Monday, March 15, 2021, at his home of 47 years in Toronto, Ontario, at the age of 70, he transitioned quietly and peacefully. No fuss. He even waited until everyone was sleeping.
His strength originated from his parents, Teresina and the late Francesco Marrelli. In 1963, their courage brought the Marrelli clan to the land of Canada, the same year ‘The Littlest Hobo’ debuted on television. He loved animal shows. He built on this opportunity throughout his life. Like many new immigrants they began establishing their roots and legacies through honest hard work and a belief in making a better life. In 1970, he had his first heart attack. Struck by cupid and divine providence, Joe was introduced to the love of his life, Rose Sposato. Swept off her feet, she reciprocated this sentiment by becoming Rose Marrell in 1973. Together in 1974 they established Casa Marrelli. An institution that stands strong to this day. It was here that he developed and established his tenets and his cantina, a sacred space where one, if lucky enough to be invited, treaded lightly and carefully. It is the birthplace of Joe’s Soppressata. This place also became a loving home to his daughters Teresa and Tania, the apples of his eyes, his son-in-laws Daniel and Tony and, to Joe’s delight, his grandchildren Noah, Owen, and Laila, and Rocco and Luca. Each grandchild dutifully fulfilled their role as nap time buddy on his belly, on the living room couch. His kitchen was tiny. Yet it was as big as his heart. It was often a raucous gathering place for his brothers and their significant others. Jim Marrelli and his late wife Rocchina, Tony Marrelli and his wife Mirella and Mario Marrelli and his wife Mary. In a way that defies physics, his many nieces, nephews and a host of friends, from Malito, to the tracks, to the yard, would also congregate there. They always fit. He always made room.
Joe was one-of-a-kind.
‘They just don’t make them like they used to. Am I right or am I wrong?’
If desired, memorial donations may be made to the Michael Garron Hospital foundation or to the Canadian Cancer Society or, in true Joe fashion, share a dinner and a laugh with your family in honour of him. A private Funeral Mass will take place on Friday, March 19, 2021 at 12:00 p.m. Please click the link below if you wish to stream the Funeral Mass.