January 12, 1925 - April 18, 2020
Theresa passed away peacefully into the arms of our Lord, a beloved mother, sister, aunt, grandmother, and great-grandmother. Mom is lovingly remembered by her children; son, Gerry (Barbara) Amantea, daughter, Mary Louise (Joe) Veltri, son-in-law Frank Jacoy, sister Rosemarie, brother John (Lucy), brother-in-law Joseph, 6 grandchildren, 8 great grandchildren, nieces and nephews. Predeceased by parents, Carmela and Pietro, husbands, Gennarino Amantea and Alex Smith, daughter Rose, sisters, Sister Carmel, Angel, Jean and brother-in-law Domenic. Mom will be remembered for her support and love.
A private funeral Mass will be celebrated at All Saints Catholic Church, Coquitlam, followed by entombment at Ocean View Cemetery. A Celebration of Life will be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to BC Childrens Hospital Foundation (bcchf.ca).
Theresa’s live stream service will be Tuesday, April 28 at 11:00am: www.legacystreaming.com/burquitlam-funeral-home
EULOGY BY ROSEANNE
Good Morning Father Francesco, dear family and friends.
On behalf of our family, Gerry and Barbara, Mary Louise and Joe and brother in law, Frank Jacoy, we welcome and thank you for being part of this Mass Celebration for our beloved Mother. I am reading this on behalf of my cousins, Gerry, who lives in Toronto, and Mary Louise.
Mom was born in the small town of (Nordeg) in Northern Alberta on January 12th, 1925 to Italian Immigrant parents, Pietro and Carmela Stancato of Grimaldi, Italy. I am sure when Nonna and Nonno looked at their beautiful little baby girl “Teresa” they intuitively knew she would be special.
Mom was 13 months old when the family moved to Vancouver to start a new life together. Their first home was in the east end of Vancouver on Georgia Street, just below Commercial Drive, where most of the Italian Immigrants made their first homes. The neighbourhood was the centre of the early immigrant Italian families and became a place of many special friendships that have lasted to this day. Here the Stancato family began to grow with Mom being the eldest, followed by sisters, Carmel, Angel, Gina, Rosemarie and brother Johnny, which made the household a happy and lively one. They had strong roots in their Italian heritage and the primary focus of the household was their devotion to their Catholic faith, prayer and love.
Our Mother spoke lovingly of the good old days which she treasured in her heart to her golden years. Mom was raised during the great Depression and understood the importance of sacrifice.
Mom said they had a large garden with a variety of fruit trees and Nonna would make preserves. She told the story that after eating her lunch at school, some of her classmates would ask if they could have her apple core. She said, “Here you can have the whole apple.” Even at an early age Mom understood the importance of giving, loving and respecting, virtues which she carried throughout her entire life and her family learned through her example.
In 1943, our mother met a dashing young Italian from Grimaldi Italy, our father Gennarino (Jack to all who knew him), and soon after they were married. At 19, Mom was the eldest to leave the Stancato home followed by our aunt, Sister Carmel who at age 17 left the household and travelled to New Brunswick to enter the convent. This was both a happy and a sad time for the family, yet their bond continued to grow stronger in-spite of the distances.
Mom loved to talk on the phone and had daily conversations with Nonna and her sisters. They all had specific time frames to call and Mom took a keen interest in knowing every detail in their respective lives. I guess you could say she was an early adopter of Social Media.
Our family began to grow with Rose our sister, Gerry and then Mary Louise. Growing up was an exciting time since the whole Stancato family lived in close proximity. There were many celebrations, family birthday parties, and frequent fun get togethers. Our aunts, Angel, Gina, Rosemarie, Uncle Johnny and all the cousins were always the highlight of our lives.
Mom had unconditional love for the whole family. She loved her nieces and nephews as her own. Growing up we were surrounded with love, and our parents always wanted the best for us including education, family, religion, and Italian culture were always important.
Mom was fluent in both English and Italian and was able to provide the necessary help to the new immigrants for obtaining their Canadian Citizenship, preparing income tax returns, and reviewing countless other documents. She often spoke of the many trips she would make and accompany the Paesani to the citizenship offices. I remember as a kid almost every night there was some Paesano at the front door. They always came with a plate of whatever they had. It could be a whole cake, a half a cake or a big slice. I remember them sitting around the kitchen table for hours as she helped them out. Looking back now, I believe for Rose, MaryLouise and I we learned the importance of Mom’s unselfish ways; giving, loving and helping others. She taught us well through her example.
Mom suffered many losses during her 95 years. The loss of both parents, 2 loving and devoted husbands, and the loss of her sisters, Angel, Gina and Carmel. But there was no greater sorrow than the loss of her beautiful daughter Rose 5 years ago. It was Mom’s strong faith and belief in eternal resurrection that eased her immense sorrow.
The family began to grow, marry and soon there was the excitement of grandchildren. How overjoyed Mom was to have her first grandchild, Frankie, then Michelle and Marisa, followed by three grand-daughters, Lisa, Laura and Vanessa. Mom would follow every step of their lives. She enjoyed hearing about their adventures, their fine accomplishments and in more recent years their marriages to fine young and ambitious men.
Later, our mother met a fun loving, generous, kind gentleman, Alex Smith. He swept her off her feet and soon afterwards they were married. Mom and Alex enjoyed their trips to Reno, family visits to Toronto and Los Angeles. Mom’s warmth, love and compassion that she learned at an early age continued on. She and Alex devoted many years volunteering at the Food Bank. It was not uncommon for Mom to take food from her own pantry or cantina to donate.
Mom’s 8 great grandchildren filled her heart with love and joy. It was Olivia, the eldest who gave Mom the name Super Granny, a title that she was so proud of and stayed with her. She immersed herself in knowing the daily activities of her young great grandchildren. She loved those warm conversations, even though they were far apart their hearts were linked.
Mom had many passions, but one that remains close to our hearts was that she loved to keep journals. She kept a daily log of the happenings in her life and in the lives of the family. She was our family historian. Her books exceed in the hundreds. We all relied on Mom for specific information or dates surrounding some event. Mom always had this information documented and immortalized, and would refer to her detailed journals to get the exact information anyone needed.
Mom lived a fulfilled life. We celebrated her 90th birthday with a special celebration, she was overjoyed and so happy to be surrounded by her loving and beloved family and friends. Mom blew out her candles on her 95th birthday, and was blessed once again to be with loving family beside her, gracing her with flowers and gifts of joy and love.
It is interesting that when you look at a prayer card there is the date when you were born and the date you died. The hyphen in between represents the years you lived. In our mother’s case she lived a fulfilled life for more than 95 years. I look at those years and believe God gave her this time to accomplish the long list HE set out for her to do. I know each of us was on that list and benefited from the many things she did.
Mom, you have been an inspiration to us all, our lives have been touched and blessed by your tenderness, devotion to family and constant love.
As our mother, you have always been so encouraging, positive and understanding; always willing to listen and respond graciously and lovingly with a smile. You always knew the right thing to say to make us feel better. You embraced life with vigour and joy in all that you did and cherished every moment of it. You have been an example of steadfast courage, self respect and determination to carry through, even in times of adversity, illness and loss. God blessed us when he hand picked you to be our Mother and we truly struck gold. We thank you for being such a wonderful Mother and you will be deeply loved and remain forever in our hearts.
EULOGY BY GRANDCHILDREN
We may be miles apart but there is one thing our Sweet Grandma taught us – that we cherish our family whether they are close in distance or not. She always said we have a special bond as a family, I mean we all knew when someone got a bad haircut, got a straight A in math; won a basketball game; made a gorgeous picture – its like she had an invisible string into all our lives that connected is from East 14th, to 1039 Tujunga to Toronto. It was quite remarkable when you think about her connection to everyone.
We have had a cousin text chat going for years and years –keeping up with what’s new in Burbank and what’s going on in Toronto – we started it to stay connected even though we could go months and months without seeing each other in person. But due to this global health crisis we needed more than just words so this past Sunday, so we held a cousin ZOOM party. We needed to see each other’s faces, be comforted by the smiles and tears. We also needed to find out who took Grandma’s Lava Lamp …. and learned it was our very own Frankie was the culprit!
But seriously, we needed to feel like we were whole again – our sweet, sweet Grandma was in heaven with many family members who we know welcomed her with open arms.
We are sad – we have lost the matriarch to our family. The special lady who taught us how to make lemon meringue pies, gnocchi and biscotti. The one who hid little magical creatures in plants, kept candy in a dish at all times. The one who let us dance on her feet, snuck money into our pockets, taught us to paint on rocks, tucked us into the bed with a lot of pictures of Nonna & crosses hanging over our heads and who welcomed us with warm hugs sitting at a window on 14th Avenue. The special lady we called Cranberry who helped families who had immigrant from Italy, help put food in the bellies of people who needed it, the one who was always there to comfort anyone that needed it.
Grandma you always asked us to write a little notes on the back of the kitchen cupboard – we would use this to mark the years – now we send one last note to you up in heaven – you’re a remarkable lady and thank you for teaching us what love is. Please know that we will carry this on within our own families.
Frankie, Michelle, Marisa, Lisa, Laura & Vanessa