With broken hearts, we pass on the news that Francis Catonio has gone home to meet his Lord and Saviour. He passed away peacefully with his wife of 36 years, Cynthia, by his side. She was playing “My Way” by Frank Sinatra in hopes he could hear it - it was his favorite song of all time and just when the song ended, he crossed over.
Francis had a rough start in life but he never let that stop him. He was born in Blairmore, Alberta to Giovanni and Maria, immigrants from L’Aquila, Italy. His mother died within a month of his birth. Giovanni had six children whom he entrusted into the Lacombe Home in Calgary where the nuns were paid for their care. When Francis was six years old, Giovanni had built up his business and went to collect his children. He raised them himself from that point on. It was lean times and Francis was working as early as twelve years old in the family grocery store. Later, he had his own groceria, but, as he joked, decided to go from “carrots to carats”. He purchased a jewelry store from Mr. Trono and ran the business for many years until he retired.
The stories of his kindness that have come to the family are truly touching; Francis helped so many people in his community in different ways. He led a life of service joining and supporting local organizations. Several people have come forward and said, that when they had no money and needed food, he would tell them to take what they need and pay when they can. And they did. They also remembered the difference he made in their lives and would be forever grateful. He extended credit and kindnesses in the jewelry store as well. Whenever Daylight Savings Time occurred, he would pack up his tools and visit the nursing home or lodge and help seniors who had called him to change their watches and check their batteries for them. Payment was a smile.
Despite his rough start and living in challenging times, Francis took chances for the future, worked hard and succeeded. He roamed all the mountains in the Pass on horseback and cheered on his hockey teams with gusto. He truly lived his long life “His Way”.
Left to mourn his loss is his wife Cynthia; his daughter, Nicole Graziano (William); his grandchildren, Joy, Anthony and Julie Bell; as well as his many friends here in the Pass, in Arizona and in Kelowna, including special friends: Mike & Assunta Amatto, Dennis Amos, Ann Fantin, Julie Hawreluk and Tom & Debra Mauro who fulfilled some important wishes for him. He is also survived by his children: Steve (Darlene), Kevin (Wendy), Christine, Colleen and Terri.
He was predeceased by his parents, Giovanni and Maria; his siblings, Ann Hanson, Teresa Bitzer, Steven, Tino (Mary) and Albert. Sadly, he is also predeceased by a daughter, Wendy Burton and a grandson, Jason Tolley.
In lieu of flowers, if so desired, donations may be made to a charity of your choice. Even a random act of kindness in his memory would have made Francis happy.
Due to the pandemic restrictions, the family plans to have a Celebration of his life at a later date.
Condolences may be registered at www.fantinsfuneralchapel.ca.
Fantin’s Funeral Chapel entrusted with arrangements. (403) 562-8555.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Francis Catonio, please visit our floral store.