Saturday, October 08, 2016



Erminio Orlando
May 12, 1921 – Oct. 3, 2016  

Resident of Davenport
Services will be private for Erminio Orlando, who died peacefully in his Davenport home on Monday, October 3. The son of Vittoria and Giovanni Orlando, he was born in Zoppola, Italy, and moved to Davenport in 1947.
Like so many Italian immigrants of his time, he was multitalented as a bricklayer, carpenter, electrician and plumber; when a part was needed he often made it himself. At home he enjoyed gardening and crafting items including mechanical wind machines and miniature artificial flower arrangements he gave to friends.
After working several years in agriculture, he became a proud employee of Santa Cruz Portland Cement Company and worked at the Davenport cement plant more than 30 years. He was active in the Marconi Club, Sons of Italy and ICF, rarely missing a group event. A longtime supporter of the Davenport Resource Center, he often brought his homemade wine to share at their bi-monthly Senior Potluck Lunch. He was also remarkably lucky, whether taking top raffle prizes or coming home a winner from casino trips.
His beloved and devoted wife of 55 years, Rosa DeCandido Orlando, was born in Domanis, Italy, and passed away in 2004. The couple loved to travel and visited every U.S. state except Alaska and Hawaii. 
He was also preceded in death by brothers Pietro, Artensio and Elio, and nephew John Orlando (survived by wife Virginia). He is survived by sisters-in-law Giovanna Orlando and Alverda Orlando; nieces Luisa Haddad, Lucia Orlando Quan, Rosemarie Holbert and Amy Orlando; and several great-nephews and great-nieces. 
Benito & Azzaro Pacific Gardens Chapel is in charge of arrangements
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Davenport Resource Center.


Thursday, May 05, 2016


MANY OF THE PHOTOS BELOW ARE ASSOCIATED WITH MY BOOK "LA NOSTRA COSTA (OUR COAST), PUBLISHED IN 2006, BY AUTHORHOUSE PUBLISHERS   Some of the photos seen here are mine, others have been submitted by "Friends and Families  of La Nostra Costa (Our Coast)" via the La Nostra Costa Facebook Page.

                                              VINTAGE NOSTRA COSTA FAMILIES
Pietro and Maria Brovia Family c.1925. Virginia on the left, Lena on Maria's lap and Joe "Pino" Brovia on the Bicycle
Joe and Noemi Antonetti with daughter Virginia, c. 1946 [La Nostra Costa (Our Coast), page 100]
Gervasio "Bronco" and Valentina Comelli
 with sons Ivano, on the left and Giovanni (John), c.1945
Dante and Andreina Rodoni with sons Mario,
seated on the left, Elio on the right, and daughter
 Jeannie in the middle.
Grandmother Gina Rodoni is seated in the car, c. 1946 [La Nostra Costa (Our Coast) pages 202-204]
Luigi "Moro" and Vanda Degli Esposti, with sons
 Fabrizio (Fabby), on the left, and Roberto (Robert) on the right, c.1949. [La Nostra Costa (Our Coast), pages 204-207]
The John Baptista Brovia Family.
 Back row: Amalia, Adalina, John Baptista. 
Front: John, Josephine, Matilda, and Julia. c. 1928
Joe "Pino" Brovia and daughters, Jenny on the left and
 Irene in the middle, c.1955
Manuel and Edith Netto Family. 
Phil on the left; Dave on the right, Lori in the middle, c. 1952
 Old ranch photo. Standing toasting are my grandparents Dimeo.
 Sitting in front are my great grandparents Dimeo
holding my Zia Margarita (Margaret) Fambrini.
Michele Rousseau on the horse is Bob's great grandfather, c.1920s
John Landino Family,
 (l-r) Catherine, John, Angie, Gene and Leonora, c.1950
Cesare (Moro) and Landa Dell'Orfanello Family. Eva is second from
 the right and Betty is on the end.
Asunta and Dante Ramaciotti with niece Dora in the center. c.1947 [La Nostra Costa (Our Coast),pages 181-182]
Amerigo and Mathilda DeLucca Family.  In front from left to right,
Madonna, Dolores, Anthony and Marie, c. 1947 [La Nostra Costa (Our Coast), pages 291-293]
Joe and Lina Gemignani Family, c.1960. Daughter Joanne stands in
the back, son Dino is at the front next to his mother. [La Nostra Costa (Our Coast) page 196]
Judge James J. and Dina Scoppettone Family, Daughters
Anita on the left and Linda in the center.  Sons, James in
the rear; Dick in the front right. [La Nostra Costa (Our Coast), pages 179 and 259-256]
Fred and Alice Dimeo with daughter, Tina, and son Dino, c. 1950s.
Stagnaro Family of Santa Cruz, c.1950s.
Constantino "Augie" and Victoria "Sista" Gemignani
with daughter Aladina (Aldine), C. 1940
Dante and Diana Dinelli (in the center) with daughter Norma at front.
Uncle Quinto Neri and Alvera Neri are on the ends.
La Nostra Costa's Radicchi Family. In front (l-r) Kathleen on Father Nello's lap, Daria and Mother Annunziata (Nuni). Standing back row (l-r): Rosa, Joseph, and Adele.

Monday, March 21, 2016


 MANY OF THE PHOTOS BELOW ARE ASSOCIATED WITH MY BOOK "LA NOSTRA COSTA (OUR COAST), PUBLISHED IN 2006, BY AUTHORHOUSE PUBLISHERS   Some of the photos seen here are mine, others have been submitted by "Friends and Families  of La Nostra Costa (Our Coast)" via the La Nostra Costa Facebook Page.

Evelina Cantarutti, on the left with my mother, Valentina Comelli, c.1948. When Valentina arrived from Italy in 1933 she had very few friends from the Friuli Region of Italy (Valentina was born in Friuli), located just north-east of Venice.  Circa 1935, she met Evelina and her husband Guido, who were from that Region. They became life-long friends.  [La Nostra Costa (Our Coast), page 140)


This photo was taken in Santa Cruz during WW II parade. Many similar track vehicles as well as tanks, and armored personnel carriers, would often be seen going North on the Coast Road, during this time period  for destinations unknown. [La Nostra Costa (Our Coast), pages 28-29].
This looks like a captured Japanese Flag being displayed on the wall of the "Lucca Lunch", located on Front Street in Santa Cruz.  Joe Antonetti, (looking at the Flag) was the owner.  Italians living up on the North Coast of Santa Cruz had various experiences, both good and bad, during WW II. [La Nostra Costa (Our Coast), pages 15-34]
Lina Bressani Gemignani was my mother's youngest sister. Still in Italy at the time WW II broke out, she suffered the indignity of being a prisoner of the Nazi SS and then later being branded a Nazi "collaborator" by  Italian Partisans.  [La Nostra Costa (Our Coast), pages 187-200]
The horrors of WW II for the Italians were over in 1945 (or so they thought) . After being summarily executed by Italian Partisan, the bodies of Benito Mussolini (second from the left and his Fascist cohorts where hung by their feet in a Gas Station in Milan. My father was not a Fascist, however, when he saw these photos (there were a series of them showing the desecration of the bodies) my father became angry and in a very sarcastic and mocking tone of voice said, "Che bella figura fan questi Italiani!" (These Italians sure know how to put on a good show ).  [La Nostra Costa (Our Coast) page 133]
And here's how it all ended for Nazi Germany.  Fred Dimeo [La Nostra Costa (Our Coast), pages 179, 184, 185.], standing by a downed enemy plane in Germany 1945.
After the War ended, life returned to normal "su per la costa"  Well, almost normal. "Figli di Ferro" Joe Gemignani (center) and his buddy Fred Dimeo (not in photo) took themselves a Bride. Lina Bressani (on the left) had to come over as a "War Bride", Alice Dimeo was already here so Fred had an easier time "getting hitched". [La Nostra Costa (Our Coast) pages 195-196]

Friday, March 18, 2016


MANY OF THE PHOTOS BELOW ARE ASSOCIATED WITH MY BOOK "LA NOSTRA COSTA (OUR COAST), PUBLISHED IN 2006, BY AUTHORHOUSE PUBLISHERS   Some of the photos seen here are mine, others have been submitted by "Friends and Families  of La Nostra Costa (Our Coast)".

This is a photo of my Father Gervasio "Bronco" Comelli and my mother Valentina (Bressani) on their wedding day in 1931. After working on the Coastal Ranches for 7 plus years, "Bronco" returned to Italy to find himself a wife. Not liking the one his brother had picked out for him, he went out on his own and found my Mom, the beautiful Valentina. [La Nostra Costa (Our Coast) pages 5-6]

Bronco and Valentina --This photograph of my father and mother was taken c.1948. Bronco would have been 48 years of age and Valentina would have been 35 years of age. Notice the suntan on my father's face and arm. [La Nostra Costa (Our Coast), page 49] 
Photo of Goebels and the Doghouse (on the right) c. 1930s, with a view of Cowells Beach (in between).  Later in the mid-1940s, my brother John and I (and who ever else was with us) would climb the stairs, located in-between the two buildings and order our Ice Cream cones, (single 5cents, doubles 10cents) at the Doghouse.  [La Nostra Costa (Our Coast), page 162] 
Laura Neri with Alma Rinaldi on the right, c.1943. Alma, the daughter of Pete and Rina Rinaldi, was my designated "babysitter" at Laurel School in Santa Cruz, during this time period. [La Nostra Costa (Our Coast), page 271.
Rina (Rodoni) Rinaldi, c. 1923.  Rina was the wife of Pietro "Pete" Rinaldi and the mother of Alma, Sally and Julio Rinaldi.  [La Nostra Costa (Our Coast), page 271]
Looks like another BBQ held at Laguna "su per la costa", 5.5 miles north of Santa Cruz.  This one was the A.E.. Morelli, BBQ and Picnic, c. late 1920s or early 1930s.
Ellis Island, c. 1930s.  This is where my father (as well as many other immigrants) landed in America in December 1923.  It was quite common for the American speaking screening officials to mispronounce and misspell Italian sounding names. My father's first name Gervasio was listed as "Garrasio". Fortunate they did spell the last name "Comelli" correctly. [La Nostra Costa (Our Coast), page 4]   
The Rodoni Family, c.1946. (l-r) Dante, Mario, Jeanie, Elio and Andreina. Dante's mother, Gina Rodoni is seated in the car. This is how I remembered them when we would watch Dante's Home Movies and Cowboy Westerns (all silent) on the Rodoni Ranch. [La Nostra Costa (Our Coast), page 202]
Mario Rodoni, c. 1960s, showing off the results of all that weight lifting we did in the Old Barn on the Rodoni Ranch. [La Nostra Costa (Our Coast), page 218]
Roberto (left) and Fabrizio (Fabby) Degli Esposti, c.1956. It was indeed fortunate that these two guys showed up c.1949(they immigrated from Italy with their Mom, Vanda and Dad, Moro). Now we had enough guys to play real games on the "big gravel yard" on the Rodoni Ranch. [La Nostra Costa (Our Coast) pages 204-207 and 209]

Thursday, March 10, 2016


MANY OF THE PHOTOS BELOW ARE ASSOCIATED WITH MY BOOK "LA NOSTRA COSTA (OUR COAST), PUBLISHED IN 2006, BY AUTHORHOUSE PUBLISHERS   Some of the photos seen here are mine, others have been submitted by "Friends and Families  of La Nostra Costa (Our Coast)".


Pietro "Pete" Rinaldi, was the Foreman ('IL Bosso') of the Gulch Ranch in the late 1940s and early 1950s.  He gave Ivano Franco Comelli his first job at age 16.  Also his subsequent argument with Ivano's father, "Bronco" resulted in a dissolution of partnership ("Si fa l'parti") and the Comelli family having to leave the Gulch Ranch and setting out on their own. [La Nostra Costa (Our Coast), pages 97-101]
John Battistini (seated left) with wife Angie (on the right), during a birthday celebration at Adolph's Restaurant in Santa Cruz [La Nostra Costa (Our Coast), page 68 and 75], c.1970s. John owned the John Battistini Insurance Agency in Santa Cruz, and was instrumental, along with his wife, in helping many 'ranceri' with their insurance needs.  John also was an able translator and helped many coastal Italians with the filing of Government Paperwork, etc.. [LNC: Pages 259-260, and 266] 
A Fine Group of 'Coastal Italians" gathering for a Picnic at Laguna, c.1930. Laguna is located off of Highway One, some 5.5
miles north of Santa Cruz.  It was a favorite spot for holding BBQs and Picnics. [La Nostra Costa (Our Coast), pages 231-244]

"Amici della Costa" (Friends of the Coast), photographed in front of Beltrami's (Serafina's) a Bar/CafĂ©/Gas Station located on the "Old Coast Road" some 5 miles north of Santa Cruz. [La Nostra Costa (Our Coast), pages 221-230]  From left to right: Quinto Neri, Diana Dinelli, Dante Dinelli and Alvera Neri.  Looking pretty in front is Norma Dinelli. Photo taken c. 1947.
 The "Old Santa Cruz" Theatre, located on Walnut Street just east of Pacific, c. 1940. The Comelli Family and other Coastal Italians went here almost every weekend to watch a "double bill" which usually included a Western.  Theatre closed in 1955, after being severely damage by the Flood of that year. [Nostra Coast (Our Coast), pages 255-257]
Italian Benito Mussolini, marches on Rome in 1923, to take power and establish a Fascist dictatorship that would last twenty years.  His decision to enter WW II on the side of Germany, had dire consequences for the Comelli Family and other Coastal Italians. [La Nostra Costa (Our Coast) pages 25-33]
Nadine Fambrini,(2nd from the right) was the pretty little girl, who I enticed into a wine barrel with me when we were 4 or 5 years old.  This kind of "fun" was not approved of by her father, John Fambrini. [La Nostra Costa (Our Coast), pages 39-40] Also in photograph (l-r) Alice Dimeo, Margaret Fambrini, Nadine, and Theresa Dimeo Modina.
A replica of the old wall telephone that used to hang on the wall at the Cookhouse on the Gulch Ranch "su per la costa", c.1948. I can still see little Ivano Franco Comelli, climbing up on a chair, turning the crank on the side, and asking the operator "Time, please".  A marvelous invention.  [La Nostra Costa (Our Coast), page 82-83]
Angie and Leonora Landino  were the daughters of John Landino. They were instrumental via Gloria Cerri and the newly installed telephone party line in keeping Ivano Franco Comelli current on the happenings "su per la costa".  [La Nostra Costa (Our Coast), page  246]
Gloria Cerri with my brother John Comelli. This photo was taken c.1952 in back of Micossi's (later Facelli's) Restaurant in Santa Cruz. Gloria lived with her parents Albina and Tony Cerri, near the Lorenzi (now the Dellamora) Ranch, located on the "Old Coast Road" some 5 miles north of Santa Cruz.  [La Nostra Costa (Our Coast), pages 245-247]
The Cantarutti Brothers, Lido on the far left then Reno , spending time with the Comelli Brothers, Ivano on the far right and John, "Al Mare" (at the beach) in Santa Cruz, c. 1948.  [La Nostra Costa (Our Coast), pages 161-173]