MELE, Giuseppe - Passed away peacefully in Woodbridge on September 19, 2021, at the age of 92.
Giuseppe was born in Salerno, Italy and married his childhood sweetheart Caterina Messina in 1959. Shortly after their marriage along with his sister Rita and their cousin Olga he moved to Canada and once he was settled Caterina arrived.
Giuseppe was orphaned at 15 and he and his younger sister Rita went to live with their aunt and uncle. He was a promising high school student and sadly WWII interrupted his education. His family owned a large bakery and Giuseppe left school and learned the art of baking.
Once he turned 18, he enlisted in the Italian navy for two years before joining the Polizia di Stato or State Police serving throughout Italy for 8 years, including Rome, Livorgno, and Palermo.
Through a combination of push and pull factors including a quest for a better life for his family he left Italy arriving at Pier 21 in Halifax in the late summer of 1959 before travelling on to Toronto. Once in Toronto he resorted to his training and skills as a baker - working for Christie Breads and then the T. Eaton Company where he retired at 60.
He and Caterina bought a home in Scarborough across the street from his sister Rita and her family – husband Willy, son Eric and daughter Linda. Before they moved to Scarborough, they lived with the Massarelli family on Jane Street. The friendship that began 60 years ago as room mates endured through all of life’s twists, turns, turmoil and tragedy.
Giuseppe was a gifted soccer player and as a youth his nickname was the ‘Brazilian’. He played for the State Police team and in the 1960’s and 70’s before televised games he relied on a short-wave radio to listen to the games live from Italy on Sunday mornings. He also coached youth soccer in Scarborough for many years and enjoyed pick up games in the local park.
Caterina predeceased Giuseppe in 1996 and for two years he tried to adjust to a life without her. Not yet 70 he had the good fortune to meet Inge Steckiewicz – also widowed -- and for over 20 years they formed a companionship built on trust, respect, and love. They had the opportunity to travel extensively including to Florida where Giuseppe owned a home and where his love of the sea and swimming would blossom.
Giuseppe is survived by his son Lorenzo (Jennifer) and their son Michael, his daughter Sandra (Andre) and their son Jalen, daughter Teanna and his great grand daughter Hadley. He was loved by them all.
The family would like to thank the staff at Pine Grove Lodge in Woodbridge for their compassionate and respectful care over the last eight months of Giuseppe’s life.
Giuseppe was a kind and thoughtful soul who treated everyone with respect. He valued family above all else in life and his childhood and the tragedy he endured made him resilient and strong. When asked how he was doing he would answer – “Keep a going."
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Heart and Stroke Foundation https://www.heartandstroke.ca/
Arrangements and livestream details entrusted with Ward funeral homes, Woodbridge chapel.
Entombment to follow at Queen of Heaven Mausoleum