It is with deepest sorrow that we announce the passing of our precious and beloved Immacolata, exceptional mother and adoring grandmother, on June 14, 2021, at the age of 76.
Immacolata was predeceased by her husband Urbano, mother Maria Nicola, father Michele, brothers Berardino and Giovanni, and sister Luisa. She is survived by her loving family, daughter Michelina Maria (Ben), grandchildren Francesca, Gianmarco, and Kristina, son Walter (Stephanie), grandchildren Viviana, Stella and Marcello, daughter Stephanie, sister Giuseppina, brother Antonio, sister-in-laws Filomena, Aduzinda, Concetta and Josefina, brother-in-laws Antonio and Juan along with many nieces, nephews, cousins, godchildren and dear family and friends from all over the world.
Her beautiful life began on April 24, 1945, in the quaint village of Matrice, province of Campobasso, Italy. At the age of four until the age of twelve, she went to live with her aunt and grandfather in Frosolone, Italy. She reminisced fondly of her childhood freedom in this pastoral village, notably her strong attachment to a pet donkey that followed her everywhere. It was during this time when she developed her deep spiritual devotion and love for the Catholic Church. During her teenage years, she returned to Matrice to continue her schooling. Immacolata was studious, very ambitious, and had always dreamed of becoming a nurse but was unable to pursue a career in healthcare until later in life.
In 1963 Immacolata married Urbano Lemmo, a young man born in Matrice yet residing in Montevideo, Uruguay with his family. In 1964, the newly married couple journeyed to Montevideo to begin their lives together. Shortly after their arrival, daughter Michelina Maria was born. In 1971, ready for a new adventure, the young family immigrated to Vancouver, British Columbia, following Immacolata’s brother Giovanni.
It was in Canada that Immacolata and her family would build their lives with the births of children Walter (1972) and Stephanie (1978) and create their forever home. An extremely hard-working immigrant, Immacolata began cleaning medical offices to help support her family. She would work night shifts to accommodate her husband’s work schedule so she could care for her young children during the day. She ensured their childhoods were filled with every opportunity, celebration, extra-curricular lesson, intricate dance, or Halloween costume that a child could dream of. Even during times of difficulty, her resourcefulness made everything possible for her children.
Once settled, she took steps to pursue her career dreams and graduated from school to become a resident care aid and worked in the field for over 20 years. This was a perfect role for her calm, patient, and compassionate nature. She earned the “Lorna B. Houston” Award in 2002 for excellence in her work voted on by her peers. Upon retirement, she continued to volunteer at Villa Carital where she enjoyed making cappuccino for the residents and bringing joy, spirit, and love into their lives.
Volunteer service was paramount in Immacolata’s life, especially with St. Francis of Assisi, her beloved parish. During her 50 years as a devout parishioner, she devoted her time to assisting with celebrations, making refreshments, baking scruppelle for the bake sales, helping coordinate events such as the strawberry tea and annual picnics, cleaning the church and residences, cooking hundreds of dinners, and assisting with the ‘Mount Carmel Ladies Society’. It was here, her spiritual home, where Immacolata found comfort and inspiration amongst her precious community of lifelong friends. She also volunteered for the Molisana Club and enjoyed many annual festivities, cherished family memories, with fellow paesani.
One of Immacolata’s greatest gifts was the immense love she shared with the world. She always went the extra mile to make all who knew her feel special and loved, through favourite meals, baking, notes, intentions, and prayers. Her kindness and thoughtfulness were immeasurable. She made everyone feel at home in her presence and never forgot a special day, birthday, Onomastico, anniversary, or milestone – she was always there giving her best with a freshly baked cake.
While her love extended to everyone around her, it was her children, and especially her grandchildren, who she unwaveringly devoted her life to. She was paramount in her grandchildren’s lives, from her undivided attention and care to her playful spontaneity, Nonna was always ready for fun and adventure with warm scruppelle and toys in hand. She enjoyed many beautiful vacations with her family to Italy, Mexico, Costa Rica, Margarita Island, California, Las Vegas, Hawaii, Penticton, and Windsor, Ontario, to visit loved family members.
In all her travels, she loved her home most of all. She was the quintessential Main Street lady, who befriended the bank tellers, shop owners, shoe cobblers, grocery store workers, and would often play the lotto with them or drop off gifts of homemade baking. Even though Main Street became her village, her home for nearly 50 years, she held her birthplace, Matrice, close in her heart and her loving family who still live there – a special legacy that her children and grandchildren continue to enjoy.
Viewing at Kearney Burnaby Chapel 4715 Hastings Street, Burnaby, on Wednesday, June 23, 2021, from 5:15 to 8:00 pm. Due to the current restrictions viewing is by registration only, please call our Chapel office at 604 299-6889.
In accordance to Covid Protocols, the Private Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated Thursday, June 24, 2021, at 11:00 a.m. at St. Francis of Assisi Parish, Vancouver, BC. Private Entombment service will follow at 2:00 p.m. at Ocean View Burial Park South Mausoleum, Burnaby, BC.
Friends and extended family may view Immacolata’s Viewing, Mass of Christian Burial and Entombment online at https://www.legacystreaming.com/kearney/
In lieu of flowers, donations may be offered to St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Immacolata’s memory.
Our dear and beloved Immacolata, it is impossible to capture the magnitude of your beautiful life and your legacy in these few paragraphs. You walked through life with unbelievable strength, determination, and quiet endurance, honouring the essence of your being and your family, yet ready to adapt, change and evolve. You created a foundation where your immense love will continue to grow and where generations of your adored family will thrive.
Thank you, our sweet mother and nonna, you will live on in our hearts and our cherished memories forever.