With deep sorrow we announce Renzo’s passing at Mount Saint Joseph’s hospital in the presence of family. He will be deeply missed by Rosina, his wife of 73 years; his children Mary (Dan) Kowal, Alida Mackenzie, and Raymond (Nydia) Faoro; his grandchildren Jennifer, Alanna Mackenzie (Brent), and Natalie Faoro, and predeceased by his granddaughter Leanne Williams. He also leaves his brother Remo (Shirley), nephews, niece, plus extended family and friends in Vancouver, The Veneto, and Le Marche regions of Italy.
Renzo lived a long and full life between Italy and Vancouver. In the mountain valley of Arsie, Belluno, at the foot of the Dolomites, Renzo was born in 1922, the first year of the Fascist rise to power in Italy. During WWII, he served as a driver with the Red Cross, Italian, and Allied Armies, (230-5th Army, and RASC 1004, 8th Army), seeing fronts between Sicily and Austria, in strategic locations such as Catania, Cassino, Otranto, Cremona and Alessandria. In Castelfidardo, Ancona, where he married Rosina at war’s end, he worked at the Paolo Soprani accordion factory and sowed the seeds of his decades-long career as Vancouver’s Accordion Man (The Accordion House), repairing and importing the iconic instrument from his shops on Commercial Drive, Pender Street, and Renfrew Street. As a young immigrant to Vancouver, he also worked tirelessly in cement finishing and contributed to projects including the Deas Island Tunnel, Granville Street and Second Narrows Bridges (Iron Workers Memorial Bridge) on which he narrowly escaped death when it collapsed in 1958. Renzo was also a well respected landlord who always treated his tenants fairly.
In 1992 Renzo received the Diploma Di Benemerenza from the Regione Del Veneto. Throughout his life and retirement, Renzo, along with Rosina, enjoyed gardening, wine-making, entertaining family and friends, and travelling extensively to Italy, and various other countries.
Renzo was a soft-spoken and gentle man. He was a generous provider, handsome and elegant in all his years, a joker, and an ingenious problem-solver. Until his very last breath, even as his body failed him, his unmistakable intelligence, lucidity, and dignity held on.
Mass of Christian burial will be held at St. Augustine’s Parish, 2018 W. 7th Ave. in Vancouver on Wednesday, March 7th at 11 a.m., followed by entombment at Ocean View Burial Park.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to The Canadian Red Cross.