It is with great sadness for the loss and with profound gratitude for her long life, that we announce that our treasured matriarch ‘closed her eyes’ for the last time on Saturday, August 5, at the age of 105. Giuseppina passed away in the same manner as she lived, peacefully and surrounded by her loving and supportive family.
Mom (affectionately known as Nonna to so many) was born on September 29, 1917 in the quaint little town of Mammola, Reggio Calabria to parents Vincenzo and Carmela Bruzzese. There she married her beloved Francesco in 1935. Together they immigrated to Canada in 1948 with their three young children, Carmela, Rosa and Mena, seeking a better life for their family. Once here, they had two more children, Anna and Greg and celebrated 62 years of marriage in 1997.
The immigrant narrative is often one of hardship and sacrifice and mom’s experience was no exception. Arriving in Port Arthur in December to a blast of wintery cold never before encountered was in itself a daunting task. Life was not easy and Mom dealt with the many challenges with dignity and grace. She devoted her entire life to loving and serving her family, always putting the family’s needs before her own.
Mom was a skilled seamstress, an avid gardener and a fabulous cook. One of her greatest joys was having everyone together for large family dinners. Family was her focus in life and spending time with her children, grandchildren, great grandchildren and great-great grandchildren always brought a huge smile to her face and added an extra sparkle to her eyes. She had the gift of hospitality and made everyone feel welcome in her home. Mom seemed invincible…cancer, broken hip, world wars, pandemics, she was unstoppable. Mom had a true survivor’s spirit and a strong will to live. We can all learn a lesson from her, “Never give up, regardless of the obstacles life presents you with.”
Giuseppina is survived by her devoted children, Carmela and Salvatore Scali, Rosa Albanese, Mena Lombardo, Anna and Salvatore Fiorenza, Greg and Susan Furfaro, 13 grandchildren, Dr. Jim Scali (Allison), Josie Riccio (Tony), Domenic Albanese (Melanie), Mary Pullia (Peter), Rose Muia (Michael), Josie Ierino (Nick), Domenic Fiorenza (Cindy), Josie Fiorenza, Frank Fiorenza (Haley), Greg Furfaro (Rae), Katie Furfaro, Francis Furfaro (Melissa Scholz) and Dan Furfaro (Jordan Currie); 18 great -grandchildren; 2 great- great grandchildren and numerous nieces and nephews.
Giuseppina was predeceased by her faithful and devoted husband Francesco; dear sons-in-law Nicodemo Albanese and Domenic Lombardo; brothers and sisters-in-law, Sam and Mary Bruzzese, Louis and Ruby Bruzzese and sister and brother-in-law, Nancy and Roger Morin.
We are deeply saddened that Mom has left our earthly lives but we are extremely grateful that she was part of them for such a long time. She will always be remembered for her love, strength, courage, perseverance and independence. She will be dearly missed.
Even when Mom was unable to go to Mass, she prayed faithfully to many Saints, including St. Francis of Assisi who said, “Remember that when you leave this earth, you can take with you nothing that you have received, only what you have given: a full heart, enriched by honest service, love, sacrifice and courage.” Mom possessed each of these qualities in abundance. May the Angels lift her to Eternal peaceful rest.
Because of the love, care and dedication of her family, Mom was able to maintain her independence and remain in her own home until the age of 103. The family wishes to thank the homecare providers who visited her there daily. A special thank you to Dr. Jim Scali as well as the doctors, nurses, PSWs and support staff on 4 South at St. Joseph’s Hospital and on Plaza 2 at Pioneer Ridge for the exemplary care and compassion shown to our Mom over the last two and a half years. You are all exceptional and truly appreciated.
Funeral services for Giuseppina Furfaro will be held on Wednesday, August 16, 2023 when family and friends will gather in Saint Anthony’s Roman Catholic Church for the Funeral Mass beginning at 12:00 pm celebrated by Rev. Luigi Filippini. Visitation for friends will be on Wednesday at the church one hour prior to service time. Interment will follow at St. Andrew’s Catholic Cemetery.
If friends so desire, in lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Dew Drop Inn or a charity of choice.