The world lost a formidable force and a mentor across multiple disciplines with more reach than could ever be measured on April 21, 2021 when Giuseppe “Joe” (Bepi) DePiero died at the age of 94 years in the Crowsnest Pass Hospital in Blairmore, Alberta. He is finally at rest after a mean and rapid battle with cancer.
Joe delighted in his family, his home, his travels and the pursuit of hobbies that took him across the province of Alberta and around the globe. Born on the 23rd of August 1926 and schooled in Northern Italy, Joe entered into military service in Aviano. He then boarded a ship bound for Halifax and then a train to Alberta in 1951 where he would start his mission to build a life and position in his new country.
Joe married the amazing Gemma Bianca Cozzi in 1955 in Coleman where they raised two daughters, Sandra and Loretta and encouraged them to pursue and achieve a college education - something he never had the chance to. He then spent his years, not only as a mentor, but also a father figure to his nephew Mark, his son-in-law Ian, and his grandson Nicholas as well as to anyone else out there who would listen.
Joe’s life was his work, family, gardening, fishing, hunting, raising pheasants….repeat, repeat, repeat. He worked in the Crowsnest Pass for his entire career for Coleman Collieries and later Norcen in the coal tipple in west Coleman. He started as a labourer, trained as a machinist, honed his skills as a master tools-man , and eventually became the superintendent of operations. He managed and mentored innumerable people, many of whom went on to successful careers both in mining and other industries. After 40 years of hard work and dedication, retirement came for Joe in 1991.
Outside of work, Joe’s family and his outdoor pursuits were his focus. He loved to tell stories about his trips to see family in Italy, his visits to Texas, South Carolina and Australia to see his grandson and the thrill of catching fish in faraway places. That’s not to say all of his adventures went smoothly! Joe was chased by his share of wildlife including bears and moose in the mountains around the Crowsnest Pass. He broke a leg fleeing an angry Heifer near Pincher Creek and got frostbite ice fishing on Crowsnest Lake. He even survived a day on a boat with "waves as big as a house" in the Indian Ocean only to have a guide rip a parrot fish off his hook screaming “that’s not a fish!” off the coast of Melbourne, Australia.
Joe is survived by his wonderful and ever-loving wife, Bianca; his daughters, Sandra and Loretta (Ian); grandson, Nick; sister, Eda (Ugo); sisters-in-law, Vanda (Doug) Cozzi and Marisa Cozzi-Decoux; nephew, Mark (Lori) Decoux-Cozzi and countless friends and family in Italy and all over the world.
A celebration honouring his life will be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers, donations to the Canadian Cancer Society (200, 325 Manning Road NE Calgary, AB T2E 2P5), or the Crowsnest Pass Health Foundation (PO Box 455, Blairmore, AB T0K 0E0) would be very much appreciated. Condolences may be registered at www.fantinsfuneralchapel.ca.
Fantin’s Funeral Chapel entrusted with the arrangements. (403) 562-8555
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