May 9, 1929 – March 31, 2023
In loving memory ~
Maria died peacefully of natural causes at New Vista Care Home in Burnaby, B.C., where she had lived since August 16, 2017.
In Canada, Maria is survived by daughter Mara (Ian MacLean), grandson Nicolas MacLean, and son Rick (Mary-Anne). She was predeceased by her husband Luigi.
In Europe, Maria is survived by her younger sisters Ada and Mirella, and many nieces, nephews, and in-law relatives of Luigi. She was predeceased by her brother Luigino, parents Giuseppe and Valeria (Pandolfi).
Maria was born in Rome, Italy, the eldest of four children. During WWII, her family moved north to Bolzano. It was there she met Luigi in 1950 and they were married in 1952. Their daughter Mara was born there.
In March 1957 Maria, with daughter Mara, undertook the long journey from Italy to Canada to reunite with Luigi who had previously emigrated in 1956. Departing from Venice on the SS Saturnia they arrived in Halifax, then travelled across Canada by train to Vancouver, B.C. Their travels were not yet complete as they had to take another steamship SS Catala to South Bentinck where Luigi was employed in a logging camp. That first Christmas the harbour was iced in and supplies for the camp had to be airdropped by helicopter! We always enjoyed their story of how many flour and butter packages became mixed up on landing. Quite the change for Maria from her European upbringing but it was in her nature to simply deal with things as they happened.
Their son Rick was born in Ocean Falls where they lived until moving to Terrace in 1963. Maria helped support the family with work as a seamstress. In 1966 Luigi and Maria opened a store called Kalum Electric. Maria learned about the electrical business and basic accounting and sold appliances, while continuing her seamstress work, all with a Grade 8 education. Theirs was a typical immigration story of sacrifice, hard work, and desire to better themselves.
With their business doing well, they were able to travel to many interesting places around the world as well as trips to Italy and Switzerland to visit relatives.
In 1988 Maria and Luigi retired to Abbotsford and lived there happily, joining St. Ann’s Parish, the Trentino-Alto Adige Cultural Society, going to Canucks games and tending to their large garden. Sadly, both Luigi’s and Maria’s health declined, necessitating a move to New Vista Care Home, Burnaby, in August 2017, where they were able to continue their life together until Luigi’s death in August 2020. Maria was a victim of Alzheimer’s disease which robbed her of her vitality, ability to communicate effectively, and memories of loved ones, but it did not take away her pleasant disposition and kind nature.
Many, many thanks to the wonderful, dedicated staff at New Vista Care Home who looked after Maria until her death.
There will be a family-only funeral mass at St. Ann’s Roman Catholic Church in Abbotsford, B.C., and Maria will be laid to rest beside her husband at Hazelwood Cemetery, Abbotsford, B.C. Any donations to the Alzheimer Society of BC or the New Vista Society in Maria’s name would be much appreciated.
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