Wednesday, October 21, 2009


IVANO SAYS: The remembrance below on Louisa Presepi first appeared in the Santa Cruz Sentinel:

Louise J. Presepi, passed away Friday October 16, 2009 at Driftwood Convalescent Hospital. She was 101.

Louise was born in Davenport on July 10, 1908, the daughter of Battista and Candida Zanette Fadelli. She grew up in Santa Cruz and was a graduate of Santa Cruz High School. She attended business school and later began a long career at A.T&T where she retired as an administrative secretary.

She was described by her family as a very generous person who gave to numerous charities. She was a devout member of Holy Cross Catholic Church, the Sons of Italy, Italian Catholic Federation, Santa Cruz Old Timers and Retired Telephone Employees Association. She loved people and enjoyed attending numerous social activities. She enjoyed playing bridge, traveling and going out for meals. Never having a driver's license Louise walked most anywhere she needed to go.

She is survived by her cousins, Angela Zanette Marchesin and her husband Enrico of San Mateo, Larry Soletti and his wife, Barbara of Oakland, Virginia Soletti of San Mateo, Diana Wolfe and her husband Laurence of Portland, OR and Peter Fadelli and his wife Eda of Napa; she is also survived by numerous nieces, nephews, god children and her extended family in Italy. She was preceded in death by her husband, Amerigo "Piccino" Presepi, sister, Edith Petrini, brother, John Fadelli and her dear friend Elsie Tori.

A Mass of Christian burial will be celebrated at Holy Cross Church, 126 High St, Santa Cruz, CA, Friday October 23, 2009 at 11:00 am. The funeral procession will leave from Benito & Azzaro Pacific Gardens Chapel, 1050 Cayuga St, Santa Cruz, CA, Friday morning at 10:30 am. A vigil prayer service will be held at Pacific Gardens Chapel Thursday evening at 7:30 pm. Friends are invited to call at Pacific Gardens Chapel on Thursday from 4:00 pm until service time. Entombment will be at Holy Cross Cemetery, 2271 7th Ave. Santa Cruz, CA

The family wishes to express their deep thanks and gratitude to Dr. Michael Conroy for his dedication, warmth and fine medical care and to her caregivers and the dedicated staff at Driftwood Convalescent Hospital.

Contributions may be made to Sienna House, 108 High St, Santa Cruz, CA 95060 or to Oakland Elizabeth House, P.O. Box 1175, Berkeley, Ca. 94701.
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IVANO SAYS (CONT'D): Those of you who have read my book know that Louisa and her husband Amerigo (Piccino) Presepi were an integral part of the La Nostra Costa Story.
On page 38 I write: "When my father bought into Il Golce, there were six or seven partners,including Amerigo (Piccino)Presepi,the foreman. Coastal Italians often called the foreman il bosso [boh so], the boss. Piccino [pee chee no]was married to Louisa, a fine-looking and very amicable Italian woman. The one thing I selfishly regretted about Piccino and Louisa was that they had no children for my brother and I to play with."

I go on to say that although I personally liked Piccino, he was looked upon by the ranceri as a hard driving boss and not very well liked. This did not escape Louisa, who collared me at a social function a few years back and advised me that I was much too hard on her husband. It took me some time to soothe her feelings, but I think I succeed when I reminded her that her husband's role as a "bosso" su per la costa would not be forgotten because of the book.


GINO said...

Caro Ivano,

Just after awakening on this gloomy and rainy morning, I checked my E-mail and then went right to your blog, as I always do.

The rainy day reflected the feeling I received from seeing the notice of the passing of dear Luisa Presepi.

This was a great lady who did much good for many people, including me. She was the one who suggested I be given an American middle name, so that I wouldn't be teased about my first name which might sound odd to American school children. Unfortunately, I never caught on to the idea, so was always called, "Gino" at school, but that did not cause me too much of a problem.

It was Luisa who once discovered in the newspaper that our house on Bay Street was to be sold for failure to pay property tax. As my parents could not read English newspapers nor official looking letters, they knew nothing about it. Luisa helped them get that problem straightened out, and saw to it that they never had that happen again.

What I find more odd, is that I never had made the connection between Luisa and the Fadelli family. I knew Battista and Candida very well. I remember their big house on Myrtle Street with the huge walnut tree in the back yard, the beautiful pearl gray stove in Candida's kitchen, the large doll house in the basement, (must have belonged to Luisa) and the piano in the living room. While my mother and Candida chatted, I would try to play the piano, which caused Candida to say to Ada, "Senti come suona bene?" That was because, unlike most small children, I did not just bang on keys, but tried to form harmonious chords.

I remember very well Captain John Fadelli, who was an officer in the Merchant Marine, and his wife. John travelled the world and brought his mother numerous treasures of furniture and decor, such as ebony elephants with real ivory tusks, etc.

Getting back to Luisa, though we all mourn losing her, we must rejoice in the knowledge that she has now passed through the veil of mortality into the realm of immortality, where there is no aging, no pain, no sorrow, (except for seeing the sins of those who are still in the world), and where families are reunited, never to be separated again.

Thank you, Ivano, for giving us the information on today's blog. It is good to remember, though for me it is sad that I did not learn more of our friends and relatives when I was young. Such is life. As a German philosopher once said, "Ve get zo soon oldt und zo late schmart."

Please give my heart felt condolences to all those who knew and loved Luisa.

Saluti, Gino Robert Campioni

IVANO said...

Thanks Gino for your remembrance of Luisa. Of course, that is the correct Italian spelling of her name, however, in the book I spelled it Louisa. Thought I would keep it constant. After all it's the person not the spelling of a name that's important. And Luisa (Louisa) was a very special person.

Gino, it must be noted here that "Piccino" passed away in the 1970's, so Luisa had been 'alone' for a long,long time. No longer! I'm very sure that Piccino and Luisa are together again across "Il Ultimo Ponte". ivno

Anonymous said...

My families memories of Louisa go back along time she lived on Van Ness next to Aunt & Uncle Henry Bianconi and they saw each other most everyday as we did when we were there. She was a fun & wonderful woman!!!!! Diane Bianconi

Anonymous said...

Ivan, Louise was a cousin also to my aunt Evelyn Fadelli (brother of Pete Fadelli) who was married to my dad's brother, Fred (Mungai).


Anonymous said...

Ivano and Gino:
Good comments on Luisa (Louisa). It is amazing how we can recall all our memories and how our memories are stirred and we can recall events of the past when we read what each of us has to say. What I remember about Piccino and Louisa was that they were partners with my uncle Quinto (and Elvira) Neri (my Zio and Zia). They were partners along with Pete Rinaldi and started what is now the Rodoni Ranches - they brought Dante Rodoni in as a partner to get him started as Dante's wife Andreina was niece to Pete Rinaldi. Also my uncle (Quinto) was owner of the land of the Gulch Ranch along with
Joe Antonetti. I remember my uncle talking about Piccino a lot.
In later years actually most of the men had passed away - Andreina would make wonderful Sunday dinners at noon and Louisa, my Zia Elvira Neri, Pete Rinaldi (Andreina's uncle) and several other guests would be there. Andreina always remembered who got her family started in the ranching business. She really loved Louisa and Elvira - great memories and great food!!

Gino - I am so guilty of not listening when I was younger and growing up to our dear ones and all their stories and telling us of their past and history. If only we had known THEN as we know now -listen and ask for more info!!

One more thing that Gino brought up that Louisa wanted him to have an American name - that was so sweet as we really wanted to be Americans. Later we got over that and became more okay with exposing out Italian heritage and in l963 when my first son was born I decided to be really "brave" and I named him Dino. It kind of caught on and now you hear of all kind of ethnic names - we are proud of our Italian-American culture.
Ciao to another wonderful old-timer. We miss you all!!

Anonymous said...

I personally did not know this wonderful lady, however, I am sure that my parents knew her and for them I express my deepest sympathy to her family.
Being as isolated as we were and living on a family run farm we did not encounter too many people other than peddlers, acquaintences at Charlie Bella's or other rancher/farmers at the Davenport Cash Store.
My dad saw Poletti frequently but few others.

Anonymous said...

The measure of man's humanity is the extent and intensity of his love for mankind. Ashley Montague.
In the context of history this is something to think about.
But on a smaller scale Louisa definitely had a love for mankind!
Nancy Quilici Jacobs

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Anonymous said...

My Aunt Linda (Nadalet) was married to Louisa's brother John Fadelli. She was a very sweet woman and a great friend to my Aunt Linda. I remember Louise and her husband coming by my Aunt and Uncle's house on Highland Drive in Santa Cruz. They played a big role in my childhood visits. My thoughts are always with them. Thank you for writing such a wonderful story for them.
Linda Nadalet