April 7, 1925 – December 28, 2018
It is with deepest sadness that we announce the very sudden passing of our dear mother Leonarda on December 29, 2018 at KBRH in Trail, BC with her son Rocco, her daughter Maria and family friends by her side. Leonarda was born in Accadia, Foggia, Italy on April 7, 1925. She was the only child born to Luigi and Emanuella De Bellis.
At the age of 19 she eloped and married the one and only love of her life, Alessandro Bonito. Leonarda and Alessandro grew up and lived next door to each other their entire time they lived in Italy.
While in Italy Nardina worked as a local seamstress in their home town and with only a grade 5 education she was able to help the local ladies write letters to their husbands that had immigrated to Canada. Shortly after marrying Alessandro she gave birth to her first child, a boy, whom she named Rocco but sadly he passed away in her arms after only 2 days. A few years later she gave birth to another son who she also named Rocco. In November 1957, Nardina and Rocco, who was 4 years old at the time, landed in Halifax, NS and then they travelled by train directly to Trail, BC to join her husband Alessandro along with her sister-in-law and brother-in-law Teresa and Gerardo D’Amelio.
Once arriving in Trail, BC, Nardina and Alessandro made many close and dear friends and they formed a beautiful life for themselves. In 1961, her father and mother, Luigi and Emanuella De Bellis immigrated from Italy to Canada and joined them in their home in Trail, BC to spend their retiring years with their daughter and family. In 1962 Nardina gave birth to her only daughter Maria and afterwards unfortunately suffered some physical ailments which she recovered from and was then able to continue raising her family. Nardina was a homemaker and continued to work privately as a seamstress in her spare time, also making many of the garments that she and Maria wore. She also tailored clothing for many of her female friends and children in Trail. She immensely enjoyed gardening and had quite the green thumb when it came to growing vegetables and her many house plants in which she took much pride in. Every fall she looked forward to wine making with Alessandro. They spent many weekends with close family friends playing cards, bocce and enjoying all seasonal get-togethers. Most summer weekends were spent picnicking at Beaver Creek Park, Champion Lakes and Gyro Park, cooking and feeding many of Rocco and Maria’s friends. Her lasagna was quite remarkable. Anyone will tell you. Nardina was one of the strongest, courageous and bravest women that you will ever meet. She endured many physical and emotional struggles and tribulations including having fought and won her battle with breast cancer 18 years ago. She refused to give up. Even right up until the end. Nardina was the strength and the backbone of her family. Sadly, 1980 was a difficult and challenging year for Nardina having lost her husband suddenly to cancer and a week later losing her mother now having to look after her home and family on her own and trying to continue to make a life for herself and her children. In November 2014 Nardina was no longer able to look after herself in her family home so she went to reside at Rosewood Village in Trail in residential care. Nardina made such a strong impact on many people’s lives at the care home and affected and touched many people’s lives without her even realizing it. She was so admired and loved not only by the staff but also by the residents. Nardina was also a member of the Canadian Women’s League. She was a woman of strong faith and she was devout in her religious beliefs being very devoted to the church and prayer. While at Rosewood Village mom was committed to attending Catholic Mass at the care home every Wednesday.
Leonarda was predeceased by her husband Alessandro in 1980, her mother Emanuella De Bellis in 1980 her father Luigi De Bellis in 1991, her son-in-law Shawn William Whitehead in 2013 and her sister-in-law and brother-in-law Teresa and Gerado D’Amelio of Fort Erie, ON plus countless relatives around the world including Italy, Brazil and the USA.
Leonarda is survived by her loving and devoted children, Rocco and Maria. She is also survived by her nieces and nephews, the D’Amelio family in Ontario, the Palazzo family in Accadia, Italy, and the Ziccarelli family in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
We would like to thank the extraordinary staff at Rosewood Village for their tremendous and loving care that they gave Nardina. We would also like to thank Dr. Leslie Paul for providing diligent care to Nardina while she was at Rosewood Village and also to the Emergency Medical Response team. Thank you also to Bunny and the ladies from Holy Trinity Parish for always making sure that Nardina never missed Wednesday Mass at Rosewood Village.
As an expression of sympathy, donations may be made in Nardina’s name to the BC Cancer Foundation at 150-686 W. Broadway, Vancouver, BC, V5Z 1G1 or online at www.bccancer.ca or to the BC Heart and Stroke Foundation at 4 – 1551 Sutherland Avenue, Kelowna, BC, V1Y 9M9 or online at www. heartandstroke.ca
Rosary Prayers will be held on Tuesday, January 8th, 2019 at 7 pm and a Mass of Christian Burial on Wednesday, January 9th, 2019 at 11 am, both at Holy Trinity Catholic Parish with Father Francis dela Cruz, Celebrant. Burial will take place at Mountain View Cemetery, Rossland. Al Grywacheski of Alternatives Funeral and Cremation ServicesTM has been entrusted with arrangements.
You are invited to leave a personal message of condolence at the family’s online register at www.myalternatives.ca.
Nardina will be greatly missed by all whose lives she touched.