August 25, 1930 – May 1, 2019
Elsio Giovanni Vanelli, beloved husband, father and nono, and Cominco foreman, longtime Maple Leaf Band trombonist, and world-class fast pitch softball pitcher, passed away on May 1 at the Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital. He was 88.
Born on August 25, 1930 to Guido and Agnesse Vannelli, Elsio married Elizabeth (Betty) Clarke on December 4, 1954. Elsio and Betty enjoyed 64 years of marriage, raising their children Lorne, Dale and Carol Ann.
Elsio was a prolific fast pitch softball player, who was hard if ever to beat. He pitched in the Softball World Series in 1960 in New York, and was one of the few pitchers in recorded history to beat Eddy Feigner, the King and his Court, also in 1960. This was a proud accomplishment for Elsio and his Mission Orange teammates. Elsio was a diehard Yankees fan throughout his life.
Having enjoyed music since his youth, he joined the Trail Maple Leaf Band as a junior member at the age of 16. He was a proud member for the rest of his life, as lead trombone for much of this time. He also served as band secretary for 25 years. Many a community parade saw Elsio in the front row of the band, marching in the wheel position.
Elsio began working at Cominco in 1948 as a general labourer. Over his Gold Medallist career, he rose through the ranks to become foreman of both the Oxide and the Sulphide Leaching Plants at the same time. Upon his retirement in 1989, he was awarded a United Steelworkers Union jacket, a testament to his positive and professional relationship with those who worked with him. He took pride in the long string of safety awards and production improvements in these plants.
In his autumn years, Elsio loved to cycle and he and Betty went on many a journey together. He would bike throughout the area, up the wagon road to Rossland, up to the Sunningdale water tower and beyond, along the road to Casino, and in the Pend d’Oreille. He also enjoyed their travels to England, Mexico, Hawaii and San Francisco, where he enjoyed all the sporting and musical entertainments offered.
Nono’s greatest joy in his later years was spending time with his special little cutie, his granddaughter Grace. Many happy hours were spent learning to play the toot toot.
Elsio is survived by his loving wife Betty, sons Lorne and Dale (partner Heather McLeod), daughter Carol (husband Rob Worosz), granddaughter Grace, and numerous nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by his parents, brothers Bruno and Gino, sister Innesse Gattrell and his in-laws James and Violet Clarke.
A gathering for friends and family will be held at the Trail Legion (2141 Columbia Ave.) on Friday, May 10, from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm.