Il Centro Italian Cultural Centre was honored to receive an estate donation from Gino Girolamo De Pieri for the amount of $277,777.84 on November 16, 2016. The Centre will utilize this donation to further its mandate and strengthen the community as it grows. Below is a snap shot of Gino’s life and legacy:
Gino Girolamo De Pieri
June 4, 1945 – July 9, 2015
A big fan of Ferrari and all things Italian, Gino left this world as the last member of his family. Being single with no children or nieces or nephews he bequeathed a generous financial gift to The Italian Cultural Centre with the hope that it helps carry on the organization’s good works.
At the age of 5, Gino’s family immigrated to Canada, settling for a short period in Trail, BA and moving to Nanaimo Street in Vancouver where Gino’s father Giuseppe (Joe) began building houses in the rapidly growing city. After attending Gladstone High School where he competed in wrestling, Gino enrolled at the Radio College of Canada earning his diploma in electronics.
He worked as a technician for the CBC, broadcasting the Toronto Maple Leaf home games for a short period before returning to Vancouver where he put his talents to work repairing TV’s at a time when TV’s would break down just before the big game.
Gino was passionate about cars. In particular his prized 1969 GTO. He raced this car occasionally but could not afford the costs involved. He was also a fan of Elvis, Roy Orbison and Bob Marley
After a brief marriage, Gino ventured to California and worked there for several years as as electronics repair technician returning to Vancouver after his father suffered a debilitating stroke. Shortly after, Gino’s only sibling, Silvana, was diagnosed with Leukemia. Her illness was brief but her death was devastating to the family.
Gino not only supported his parents financially but also helped care for his father, whose health further deteriorated from a prolonged infection after heart surgery. Gino visited his father in hospital every day encouraging him to not give up. After his father died, Gino continued to support his mother. He switched careers by starting his own limousine company. Things went quite well for several years and Gino enjoyed travelling to Italy and the Caribbean.
His mother, Onorina, having endured the painful death of her daughter and the long convalescence of her husband, soon suffered a stroke which left her bedridden and unable to speak. After several months of care at Pearson Hospital, Gino, learned basic nursing skills, brought his mother home and provided the care she needed. When Onorina passed away, Gino resumed travelling only to discover he had a rare cancer to which he ultimately succumbed. Despite being a caregiver to all his family members, he never asked for help.
Gino was generous with his time and volunteered with many service clubs including the Elks, the Legion, Knights of Columbus, and several car clubs. He was a member of the Italian Cultural Centre and the Italian Mutual Aid Society. He recieved many accolades for his efforts. He loved kids and particularly loved his role as Santa in the Burnaby Edmonds Santa Claus parade.