FIORE “Feruccio” BERLIN(gieri)
It is with profound sadness that we announce the passing of Fiore Berlin of the Crowsnest Pass, who left this world peacefully on Feb. 24th, 2018 at the Crowsnest Pass Health Care Centre.
One of five children, Fiore’s childhood was similar to many immigrant families new to Canada. His dad worked in the local coal mines and managed an apartment building. All five children carried more than their weight in helping at the family farm and with their dad’s apartment building. Fiore’s mother died relatively young, and Adelina, a family friend from Italy, immigrated to Canada to join the family as the children’s stepmother. It was these early experiences where Fiore developed a strong work ethic and a sense of independence.
Late in his teens, he became an apprenticed carpenter, under the tutelage of Orazo Celli. Although Fiore never finished high school, he was talented in design and engineering and would eventually do his own architectural and engineering drawings, study technical journals, and was the quintessential “Jack of all Trades”. He built houses for friends, worked closely with other carpenter contractors, and was part of the carpentry crew that built the damn at Hudson Hope. There wasn’t anything he couldn’t do or fix, and his friends, family and grandchildren were recipients of his generosity, carpentry and mechanical prowess - with motor bikes, snowmobiles, and go-carts – all that he bought second hand and rebuilt.
In 1959, he married Anita VanLeuken from Lethbridge, who he met while she was working as an X-Ray Technician at the Blairmore Hospital. The two would marry and spend the next fifty-eight years raising a family of three children and eight grandchildren. In 1968, Fiore and Anita moved to Edmonton, leaving their close network of friends - a sacrifice they made to be closer to post-secondary institutions for their children. Missing the Crowsnest Pass, in 1975, they purchased eighteen acres on Tecumseh Road, and would spend every summer creating their ‘recreation’ property while their children explored the back country and fell in love with the Crowsnest Pass as they had. Each of their three children graduated from the University of Alberta, realizing their parents’ and grand parents’ commitment to education.
During their time in Edmonton, Fiore worked for the School Buildings Branch with the Alberta Government’s Ministry of Education, first as a school-buildings inspector, and then as a manager of the Building Quality Restoration Program. In his spare time, he built his inventory of tools, moonlighted regularly, and loved to find deals at local second-hand stores. In 2002, Fiore and Anita moved back to the Crowsnest Pass, where Fiore would live out his days in a great partnership with Anita, building out their recreation property into their retirement home, with several buildings, all built from scratch by Fiore, with help from his childhood friends, who were now lifelong friends. Fiore was unstoppable – even into his mid 70s – until the fateful day in February 2013 when he started having seizures, a result of a quietly growing brain tumour which initiated his eventual and tremendously sad five-year decline.
Fiore was known as an honest straight-shooter who would give his time and advice freely. He was a great storyteller, and his eyes would light up retelling every adventure, as if he was reliving it for the first time. He believed in doing the right thing and doing the right things right. He was not afraid of hard work, and instilled in his children a belief that you can have anything if you’re willing to work hard for it. He and Anita had an outstanding partnership – which played itself out in their vows of ‘in sickness and health’ these past five years. Fiore lived a life of integrity – a path he followed daily.
Fiore is predeceased by his parents John and Maria, and step-mother Adelina, his sisters Florence (Tony) DeLauw, and Marie (Vic) Cervo, his brother Louie. He leaves to mourn his passing, his wife Anita (nee VanLeuken), sons, Darrin (Cathy) and Randall (Carmen), daughter Shelly (Richard), and grandchildren, Nelson (Stephanie), Graham, Myles, Ryan, Matthew, Tommy Berlin and Katie and Tommy Eaton, and his last-surviving sibling, sister Josie Kroeker of Lethbridge.
The family would like to thank the many doctors, friends, and caregivers who helped them out especially these past five years, including Dr. John Kelly and his team, Dr Maritz, Crowsnest Pass Home Care unit, Gino and Rose Quarin, Ben Littlewood, and their close network of family friends.
A private graveside service will be held in the summer. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Alberta Cancer Foundation, Brain Cancer Research, 1620 - 29 St. N.W. Suite 300, Calgary AB T2N 4L7, or https://albertacancer.ca/donate/general
Fantin's Funeral Chapel entrusted with arrangements. (403) 562-8555.