Dear Readers,

November is the month that begins with All Saints Day (Nov. 1), a feast which had its beginnings in the Christian churches of the fifth and sixth centuries where we celebrate and remember all saints canonized or not and might include some of our relatives of whom it was said “era una santa” (she was a saint).
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All Souls Day (Nov. 2), a feast when early Christians, like their pagan ancestors, remembered their dead on certain days of the year (the present date for our yearly commemoration was established in the tenth century). Among the Dearly Departed Souls in 2012 were  Among the Dearly Departed Souls in 2012 were: 
Oscar Luigi Scalfaro, former Italian president, died in Rome at 93.; Sergio Pininfarina, legendary 85 yr. old chairman of Italy’s preeminent design firm Pininfarina, designed some of the world most glamorous cars, including Ferrari and Maserati. Rev. Salvatore Giacomini, born 1923, a Salesian of Don Bosco for 71 years after a fall at the rectory of Saints Peter and Paul rectory in S.F.  Angelo Dundee, 1921-2012, Boxing trainer and motivator of young talent Cassius Clay later Muhammad Ali and Sugar Ray Leonard.
Angelo was known as a figure of integrity in a sport that often lacked it. Jim Trevisani, 88, lived in North Beach all his life, graduated from Galileo High and after a stint as an airplane maintenance tech with the 65th squadron, worked in the S.F. engineering Dept. at D.P.W. where his drawings of mechanical equipment were worthy of Michelangelo.
Luigi Romani, 52, co-owner of S.F.’s Caesar’s Restaurant was often described as “one of the nicest guys I ever met” and no one who knew him ever disagreed. Catherine Baccari, was one of the most admired and respected members of our S.F. Italo-American community. Cathy was a beautiful young woman when I first met her at an Italian picnic in the late 1940’s and through the years she continued to be beautiful inside and out and was kind and charitable with everyone she met. With her husband of 62 years, Alessandro Baccari Jr. she had helped establish Alessandro Baccari & Associates premiere public relations marketing and advertising company.
 Mary Brucia Bonura, a leading S.F. Opera Patron and centenarian was the daughter of Giuseppe Brucia who along with several other men decided to establish a permanent opera company in San Francisco. It was her father, who signed the note guaranteeing the S.F. Opera’s first season in 1922; Annette La Rocca Lippi was a graduate of Lone Mountain College and an elementary school teacher at Sutro School in S.F. for over 30 years. She married handsome and popular Galileo High graduate George Lippi, 56 years ago, raised three children and was the co-owner of Fugazi Travel in S.F. Joe Garbarino Sr., was born in S.F. but returned to Varazze (near Genoa) at age two.
Returning to S.F at age 16 he was raised with his young cousin Joe Garbarino whose father was one of the founding members of the S.F. Scavengers Protective Association. Years later together with relatives and other Sons of Liguria they formed the Marin Sanitary Service in San Rafael, Calif.  Joe always had a big smile, loved music and formed a family band called “The G Men”, the “G” was for Garbarino, Galileo or Garbage, take your pick. He also liked to socialize in various Italo-American clubs like Club Italia, Sons of Italy and Liguri del Mondo.
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The Italian Cemetery established in 1879 by the Italian Mutual Benevolent Association, now located at 540 F. Street, Colma, California, on thirty-five acres of architecturally landscaped grounds serves as a perpetual memorial to generations of Italian-Americans who have contributed to the growth and history of California.

November also is time to re-run the history of the Italian Cemetery. Located in thirty-five acres of architectural landscaped grounds in Colma; California, established in San Francisco by the Italian Mutual Benevolent Associations in 1879 and beautifully upgraded through the years, the Italian Cemetery continues to play a central role in the life of the Italian-American community. 
The Italian Mutual Benevolent Association of San Francisco (Società Italiana di Mutua Beneficenza), the oldest continuously operating Italian American Benevolent organization in the United States recently celebrated the 154th anniversary of its founding, October 17, 1858, when setting aside petty differences they united behind the common goal of providing assistance to families in need, from birth to burial.
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“Grazie” to Andrew Canepa, historian and assistant manager of the Italian Cemetery, I was able to cull information from several publications on the Società Italiana di Mutua Beneficenza and the “Lasting Memories Mausoleum”. Once available only to nobility and the extremely wealthy, above-ground entombment in a mausoleum has been the preferred choice for families at the Italian cemetery for generations.
Beginning in 1904 with the first “community mausoleum” built by famed architect John Porporato, the Italian Cemetery has continued to build beautiful, high-quality mausolea for families that prefer the security and prestige of a mausoleum, and a clean dry environment for their loved ones.
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From Italy they came seeking California’s dream: opportunity, wealth and prosperity. There were those, unfortunately, who did not find the fortune they were seeking. So, to provide for the indigent sick and for the burials of the dead, Italians established Benevolent societies. Initially, the Italian Mutual Benevolent Association, organized October 17, 1858, cared only for the indigent sick. Around the turn of the century, however, the Associations opened an Italian cemetery.
The new cemetery became the major work of the Italian Mutual Benevolent Association, a source of ethnic pride, and a visible reminder of those Italian-Americans who lived and died in the San Francisco Bay region. From 1858 to 1862 it provided physicians for the routine care. In 1887, with Holy Cross leading the movement, San Francisco cemeteries were going to Colma. December 31, 1888 the Society obtained 3-1/2 parcels of land there, which belonged to H.C. Robinson and his wife, for the establishment of the cemetery.
They also purchased additional land along F Street in Colma and the Italian Cemetery opened in late 1889. The new necropolis maintained the homeland tradition of elaborately designed tombs, often with photographs of the departed. The inscriptions also show the Catholic tradition and the hope of eternal life. “E aspetto la resurrezione dei morti e la vita del mondo che verrà” (The Credo). But most important of all, the cemetery provided psychological reassurance for those that had left Italy. Now in death, they could reside with their fellow countrymen.
During the first decade of the 1900’s, the Cemetery continued to grow. Additional land was purchased and the Cemetery set its boundaries: F Street, the Southern Pacific Railroad tracks, and a neighboring cemetery, Eternal Home. The Society set up the cemetery avenues, laid out family plots, and erected a receiving vault by 1905. The following year, the 1906 earthquake and fire affected both the Society and Cemetery. The fire destroyed the Society’s records, while the quake damaged the Cemetery’s receiving vault. 
After the earthquake and the fire, activities at the Cemetery continued routinely, burial and regular visits by families. During the first quarter of the Twentieth Century, the San Mateo Electric Railroad provided transportation to Colma and families would often spend a Sunday afternoon visiting the Cemetery and caring for their plots. Even the growing use of the automobile did not change the tradition. It became a Sunday afternoon drive to the Cemetery.
World War II, the sub-urbanization of the Bay Area, and television did however, bring a change to the tradition. The War caused many Italians to de-emphasize their ethnic heritage and to stress their American-ness. The Italian Cemetery reflected the changes, old family traditions declined, and fewer families visited the Cemetery regularly. The post WW II period saw other changes at the Cemetery. In June of 1940, amended articles of incorporation gave la Società di Mutua Beneficenza existence in perpetuity. 
The Italian Cemetery houses the remains of the prominent who have lived in the San Francisco area. The list of prominent Italians includes individuals like John F. Fugazi, the banker; Ettore Patrizi, editor of L’Italia; and Felix Castagnola and Joe V. Arata, two presidents of the Society; and families such as the Paladini and the Sabella, famous in the fishing industry. 
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“Grazie” to Nickolas Marinelli, Director of Community Relations and Northern California L’Italo-Americano editor, all are welcome to come visit their modern chapel where Holy Masses are celebrated on Memorial Day and All Souls Day or attend scheduled Italian Classes, Genealogy workshops and Cemetery Tours throughout the year.
For more information, call or write Italian Cemetery, 540 F Street, Colma, California 94014, Tel. (650) 755-1511 or visit www.  

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