Obituary of Gerardo "Jerry" Apuzzo
March 6, 1932 – Petruro di Forino, Avellino, Italy
November 1, 2023 – Calgary, Alberta
Holding hands with his children, Gerardo “Jerry” Apuzzo passed away peacefully on Wednesday, November 1, 2023, at the age of 91 years.
Born in Petruro di Forino, Avellino, Italy, Jerry was the fifth of eight children born to Nicola Apuzza and Albina Nicodema. At a young age, his parents put him into a shoemaking apprenticeship, later becoming a Master and owning his own shop.
At 19 (1951), he accepted a contract with CPR (Canadian Pacific Railway) to immigrate to Canada and work in the British Columbia interior. There he was part of the “Extra Gang”, a group of immigrants, many of whom were Italian. They lived in train box cars with no running water or electricity, relying on supplies brought by train a few times per week, supplemented by whatever they hunted. Jerry worked his way up to relief track foreman, and cooked and baked for the Gang. They became lifelong friends.
After a trip to Calgary to see the Stampede, Jerry decided to move there. In Calgary, he lived in a house with his cousins, Gerry, Armando, and other friends, until he bought his own house in Erlton, along the banks of the Elbow River. Several years later he moved with his family to a house in Willow Park.
Jerry married Carmela De Vivo in 1957 and they had a 27-year romance until her passing in 1984. He was a true partner and family man in raising his children and sharing in household chores. Jerry worked hard to provide for his family (even working when he was on ‘vacation’) and supported and sponsored the immigration of his two younger brothers and his sister-in-law, for whom he was responsible for some years in accordance with immigration laws at the time. Enthusiastically, Jerry took on additional home and parental responsibilities so that his wife could go to school to learn English, and then re-educate herself for a new profession. He was somewhat shy, humble, friendly, and independent, always helping and supporting family and friends to the best of his ability.
Jerry loved to grow flowers and vegetables in his prolific and tidy garden, tend to his yard with its lush carpet-like lawn and shaped trees. Often, Jerry listened to many types of music, including opera. Played at high volumes with the windows open, he shared his selections with the neighbours. He enjoyed watching sports, the Pope’s Sunday mass, Italian programs, and discussing the news. He was excited to see new things and enjoyed travelling. Some of his favourite vacations were to Italy, British Columbia, Mexico, Hawaii, and Spain. Jerry enjoyed a loving companionship, and travelling, with Carolina Marciano for over 20 years, until her passing in 2022.
Our father and grandfather was overjoyed at having family get-togethers with traditional meals, and a good game of cards. A patient and kind grandfather, he delighted in interacting, babysitting, and cooking for his grandchildren. As they got older, he was an intuitive listener, gave them sage advice, unconditional love, and support.
Jerry’s career as a shoemaker in Calgary was extensive: The Hudson’s Bay Company, Chinook Shoe Repair, Calgary Shoe Hospital, Moneysworth and Best Southcentre, as well as his own business, Fairview Shoes and Repairs. In addition to shoe, handbag, and luggage repairs, he specialized in orthopedic work for people who needed shoe adjustments and build-ups. With a superb eye, he was expertly able to dye satin and leather shoes and jackets to match any colour. He took pride in his work and insisted on providing his customers with high-quality workmanship, and shined shoes. His customers appreciated his skills and advice on the work needed to be done.
Jerry is survived by: his sister Gemma (Geri) Fasulo and family in Italy; his sister-in-law Lina Apuzza and family in Italy; his daughter Alba (Lazzaro Mautone) and their daughter Carmela; his son Mark (Tina) and their sons, Joshua and Nathan; his nephew Nicholas (Leah) and their daughter Cristiana; his niece Diane (Sam Granato); his wife’s (Carmela) family and Carolina’s family; and numerous cousins, nieces, nephews, and friends in Canada and Italy.
He was predeceased by his parents, his wife Carmela, his brothers and sisters-in-law: Rev. Don Paolo; Vincenzo (Lina’s husband); Nicola (Isabella); Mario; all of Italy; Umberto; Attilio (Caterina); grandson GianPaolo Vito Mautone; and his companion Carolina, all of Calgary.
Heartfelt thanks to the many wonderful doctors and healthcare personnel at the Prostate Cancer Centre, Units 74 and 73 of Rockyview Hospital, and to the exemplary people at Rosedale Hospice for their extraordinary care and compassion in all that they did for Jerry and his family.
If friends so desire, memorial tributes may be made by selecting Rosedale Hospice at www.hospicecalgary.ca, 920 7A Street S.W, Calgary Alberta T2M 3J4; or to The Alberta Cancer Foundation, Tom Baker Cancer Centre at www.albertacancer.ca, 1331 29 Street NW, Calgary Alberta, T2N 4N2.
Relatives and friends are invited to Prayers and Tributes at McInnis & Holloway (Park Memorial, 5008 Elbow Drive SW, Calgary, AB) on Wednesday, November 15, 2023, at 7:00 p.m.
Funeral Mass will be celebrated at Mary, Mother of the Redeemer Parish (1714 – 14th Avenue N.E., Calgary, AB) on Thursday, November 16, 2023, at 11:00 a.m. Family and friends who are unable to attend in person are invited to join Mr. Apuzzo’s Mass streamed live (see below) on the day of the service. For those who are unable to view live, a recording of the service will be posted. Condolences, memories, and photos may be shared and viewed with Jerry’s family here. Graveside Service to follow at St Mary's Cemetery. Reception to follow in the Hospitality Centre at the Funeral Home (McInnis & Holloway, Park Memorial, 5008 Elbow Drive SW, Calgary, AB).
In living memory of Gerardo “Jerry” Apuzzo, a tree will be planted in the Ann & Sandy Cross Conservation Area by McInnis & Holloway Funeral Homes, Park Memorial, 5008 Elbow Drive SW, Calgary, AB T2S 2L5, Telephone: 403-243-8200.
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