April 20, 1931 – July 28, 2021
It’s with great sadness that we share that on July 28th, 2021, Vittoria Italia Donadeo, our beloved mother and wife of 67 years to Antonio, passed away.
Vittoria’s life began deep within the heart of Salento, Italy in the village of Melpignano, some 25 kilometers south of Lecce. Vittoria Italia Rolli was born into this beautiful setting on April 20, 1931, to Oronzo and Lucia Rolli. Her name translated to “Victory Italy” and was deeply significant to her father: a patriotic living reminder of his service in Africa in World War I and of the hard-fought victory over Germany.
She grew up in a large, close family that included her brother, Giorgio, and five sisters, Carmelina, Maria, Rosaria, Stella, and Francesca.
Vittoria would tell stories about how her father worked so hard for long days in the local quarry mines breaking rocks with a pick. She spoke fondly of her mother Lucia who, despite not having much herself, would ask Vittoria and her sisters to bring food and help care for the Martineau’s – a family of 9 who had very little.
This backdrop created the foundation for who our mom was, a dedicated wife and a very hard-working selfless mother, who cared immensely for her family and who was deeply compassionate and always looking to help those less fortunate and those in need.
Vittoria grew up in Italy during a difficult time of World War II that began in 1940 when she was nine years old. She learned at a young age to cook and clean the house and learned embroidery and needlework at the local convent. She was very creative and artistic, and over the years, she made some beautiful artistic pieces of embroidered table linens, bed coverings and baby blankets that she would give with her heart as a sign of her deep love, to her children and grandchildren.
Tony and Vittoria first met in 1950 and began dating, only after Vittoria’s dad Oronzo checked out Tony and gave him permission. They were eventually married at the church in Melpignano, Lecce, Italy on June 24, 1951, and were married for 67 years prior to Tony’s passing on July 24, 2018.
After the war, jobs were scarce in Italy and in search for a better life, Tony immigrated to Canada in 1951 and Vittoria joined him one year later making the traumatic and grueling month-long journey by boat while travelling alone with their first child, Lina who was one year old at the time. Vittoria and Lina travelled by boat to pier 21 in Halifax and then by train to Edson, Alberta.
Vittoria and Tony first lived in Mercoal, Alberta where Tony toiled in the underground coal mines and Vittoria cared for their new family, until 1959 at which time the mine closed and they moved to Red Deer with their 3 children. Vittoria eventually landed a job in housecleaning at Michener Center for disabled children. This was a job that resonated with her strong work ethic and compassion for those less fortunate. She was an extremely hard worker who cared deeply for the children at Michener Center and was well liked and respected by all.
Vittoria is survived by her children Lina Wedderburn (Terry), Luciana Donadeo, Lorenzo Donadeo (Donna) and Lydia Hrabec (Don), his grandchildren, Jason Wedderburn, Shaun Wedderburn, Franco Donadeo (Hayley), Tony Donadeo, Marco Donadeo, Julia Nimilowich, (Matthew), Jenna Kinsella (Josh), Dylan Hrabec and Derek Hrabec and her great grandchildren Catlyn Rasmussen, Kaiden Wedderburn, Matteo Nimilowich, Lucia Nimilowich, Luca Donadeo, Milo Donadeo and Malgia Kinsella. She is also survived by her sisters Maria Giannaccari and Rosaria Meledi.
The family dinner was where important milestones and successes were celebrated, and good times with many laughs were had – it was where the family bond was strengthened, and enduring memories were made. Vittoria was an amazing cook and loved cooking for the entire family as well as any friends that would join them. Preparing food was Vittoria’s way of showing her deep love and affection for her family. It was her contribution to gathering the family together and keeping them close.
Vittoria deeply loved her children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. She took interest in their lives and supported and cherished them. All her children and grandchildren understood and appreciated the fact that their successes in life were realized, in part, because of the hard work and hardships that Vittoria and Tony endured.
So, to our beloved Vittoria, mamma, and Nonna, “Ti amiamo con tutto il nostro cuore”. We will miss you but a part of you, your compassion and your deep love of family will be with us forever.
The Donadeo family would like to give a very special thank you and an expression of our deep gratitude to Vittoria’s primary caregiver for the last 3 years, Margaret Connon. Margaret was like a daughter to our mother, and she treated our mother like she would her own.
Also special thanks to Deanna Lailey who was Vittoria’s long-term caregiver and treated her with kindness and kept her spirits up. We would also like to thank all the home caregiver employees of Compassion Care and Comfort Keepers for their care of our mother.
The family would also like to thank Dr. Shirley Hovan, who provided quality care for our mother over many years and whom our mother admired greatly.
A Celebration of Life will be held at Saint Mary’s Church (6 McMillan Ave, Red Deer) on Friday, August 6th at 11 am with a reception to follow at the family cabin in Sylvan Lake, (143 Jarvis Bay Drive, Summer Village of Jarvis Bay) at 3:00 pm.
Condolences may be left for the family at www.eventidefuneralchapel.com
Eventide Funeral Chapel