Passages 2017, Remembering those we lost.

Robert Leo “Buck” Frank (1938-2017)

Laurel Frank informed us that her father, club member Robert Leo “Buck” Frank, passed away September 29, 2017 in Santa Cruz. Buck’s paternal grandparents, Corrado Franch and Maria Gembrini, were from Cloz in the Val di Non. His grandmother’s brother was the well-known Scalabrinian of Merano, Father Modesto Gembrini. Buck worked as an operating engineer and ran the Frank Christmas Tree Farm started by his parents in the Santa Cruz Mountains.

Romeo Zuech (1938-2017)

Romeo Zuech passed away in San Luis Obispo on July 20, 2017. He was born and raised in Brez, Val di Non. He had an illustrious career in aerospace, creating various alloys, including those used on the first lunar landing. Coincidentally, the day he passed away, July 20th, was also the date of the first moon landing. His fascinating life story has been chronicled in several Trentino publications. On the day he passed away, the church bells in Brez rang several times in his honor.
Upon retiring from aerospace, Romeo launched a new career in winemaking. He founded Piedra Creek Winery in San Luis Obispo, with the Trentino eagle embedded in the logo. His signature wine, San Floriano, is named after the patron saint of Brez. The dominant grape in this wine is Lagrein, a typical varietal of Trentino-Alto Adige. The winery is now managed by Romeo’s wife, Margaret, and their grandson, T.J. As a final note, Romeo had a passion for soups. He compiled a bilingual booklet of recipes in English and Nones, the dialect of the Val di Non. Over the years we have published some of these traditional recipes from the Val di Non.

Lucia Morandini Hotmire (1942-2017)

Lucia Morandini Hotmire passed away on March 31, 2017. She was from Tezze di Grigno in the Valsugana. She met and married US Army Major David Hotmire in Vicenza. Lucia was an avid scholar of literature at the Monterey Institute for International Studies and the University of California Santa Cruz. After her husband passed away, she met and formed a life with fellow Trentino club member, Oliviero “Vero” Oliveri, originally from Roncone in the Val di Chiese. They spent 25 cherished years together.

Minnie Franceschetti Laugero (1916 – 2017)

Minnie was born in Santa Cruz. She moved to Escalon as small children, and there she remained. Angelo Franceschetti, Minnie’s father, and Raffaele Franceschetti were brothers from Cologna, now a district of Pieve di Bono. Minnie worked for Escalon Packers and Escalon Premier Brands (Heinz) for 65 years, retiring at the age of 94!

Natalie Franceschetti Morino (1917 – 2017)

Natalie was also born in Santa Cruz and she moved to Escalon as small children, and there she remained. Raffaele Franceschetti was Natalie and Sketti’s father, and was the brother of Angelo Franceschetti (Minnie’s dad). Natalie and Sketti’s mother, Antonietta Nicolini was from Daone, also in Trentino.
Natalie worked for the Escalon State Bank prior to WWII and then for the Escalon School District.

Giuseppe “Bepi” Dorigatti

Board member Luca Dorigatti lost his father, Giuseppe “Bepi”, August of 2017. He was 81. From 1996 to 2014 Luca’s father was the head of referees for the Italian Federation of Winter Sports in Trentino. He began refereeing athletic events in 1967. The safety of athletes was of paramount importance to him. He loved all sports, and from 1961 to 1991 was a volleyball referee. He was described in the newspaper as someone who was charismatic and generous, with a great passion for his work. He had to be exceptionally organized to manage on weekends over 100 referees in 10 different sport activities. At his funeral the church overflowed with attendees. As Luca said, “it was touching to know how many people were close to him and benefitted from his presence and friendship. I was lucky to have such a fantastic man in my life.”

Pat McFadden

Club member Linda McFadden’s father, Pat McFadden, passed away August of 2017 in Rock Springs, Wyoming at the age of 88. He worked at F.B. McFadden Wholesale for over 75 years, a bulk food supplier. He was married to the Trentina, Reka Santini. Many Trentini immigrants settled in Rock Springs, primarily to work in mining. Linda’s maternal grandfather worked as a coal miner in Rock Springs. He was from Pavillo in the municipality of Tassullo, Val di Non. Linda’s maternal grandmother was a Floretta from Cloz, also in the Val di Non.

Vivian Gennai

Vivian Gennai, a native San Franciscan and retired pharmacist, passed away March of 2017 at the age of 97. Daughter Janet and son-in-law Lino Rizzi are club members. Lino, a native of Cloz, Val di Non, is our club’s vice-president.

Antonietta Floriani in Zentile

Founding club member Laura Floriani Vitlacil lost the last of her sisters in Trentino, Antonietta Floriani in Zentile.