GRISON, “John” Giovanni
August 13, 1931 — November 13, 2022
At the age of 91, John Grison passed away on November 13, 2022.
Giovanni “John” Grison was born on August 13, 1931, to Francesco and Antonia Grison in the small village of Padena, near the Adriatic Sea in Northern Italy. He grew up in a farming family with five brothers and one sister. John had fond memories of his life growing up, even though there were some very hard times during World War II, he really only spoke about the fun he had: running through the countryside with his brothers and his friends, playing soccer in the streets in bare feet with a ball made up of old flour sacks, and always knowing which farmer had the best fruit to eat.
Padena is where he met the love of his life, Aurelia. They left their village and were married in 1954 in Trieste, Italy. There Giovanni worked in a Vineyard where his work ethic caught the eye of his boss who offered him an apprenticeship as a Stonemason, which he excelled at. In 1956 they welcomed their daughter Ornella.
In search of better opportunities in 1957, he, his young wife, and new baby (and Giovanni not speaking a word of English) boarded a ship and headed to Canada, it arrived in Halifax on March 21st. They then travelled by train across Canada to Kaleden, BC. There was nothing but a snowy landscape all the way, not a great first impression of Canada for people who had only seen snow a handful of times growing up. – The “Immigrate to Canada” advertisements didn’t mention the snow.
John worked on an orchard in Kaleden for his first year in Canada, then hearing of better pay in Kelowna, moved his family where they lived in a pickers cabin along Glenmore Road.
Anyone who knew John knows he was a very hard worker, working two and sometimes three jobs to get ahead. In 1958, he heard about a house for sale on Bernard Avenue, from his friend “Tony Chicken Farm”, not to be confused with “Tony Pizza”! The house was old and at the edge of town back then, but near the orchard he was working on. They bought the house and lived there happily for over 63 years, until this past spring. The house is now near the centre of town.
In 1959 they welcomed their son, Dario.
In 1964, John got a job with the City of Kelowna as a cement finisher, but even though he had a full time job, he continued with his “side gigs”: working for Bankhead Orchard (often more than 40 hours a week), as well as for Orsi Stuccoing, and for Tony Chicken Farm. During this time, Aurelia was contributing as well, working at the Packing House and picking fruit, often using an apple bin as a play pen for her young children.
By 1966, they had paid off their house and took their young family back to Italy for a vacation.
John continued to work for the City until his retirement in 1996, at the same time enjoying several more trips to visit family back in Italy. John and Aurelia were blessed with five grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren. Sadly, they lost their granddaughter Angela to cancer in 2003.
John was one of the founding members of the Kelowna Canadian Italian Club and with Aurelia on his arm, they would attend all the dinner and dance events. They were a beautiful sight as John would spin Aurelia around the dance floor, rarely missing a single song. John loved to dance. He also loved to fish with his good friends Stan and Ugo, to garden, and collect fire wood. During the growing months, no visitor would leave his home without some of the bounty from his garden and if you were lucky a bottle of his wine. He made great wine!
Most of all, John loved Aurelia, his children, grandchildren, and his great-grandchildren. He was never happier or prouder than when his grandchildren and great-grandchildren came to visit and to play in his magnificent yard.
In 2014, John started a whole new chapter of his life when Aurelia suffered a Stroke. He became her full-time caregiver and had to learn how to cook. John was constantly by her side and would do everything he could to make sure Aurelia was comfortable and had everything she needed, right up to the day he went to hospital. John was diagnosed with an aggressive cancer less than a year ago. He fought a hard battle over the past several months, never complaining; he was always more concerned with Aurelia’s wellbeing.
He was a great man and had a great, full life with family, friends, and so much love.
John is survived by his beloved wife, Aurelia (née Cociancich), married for 68 Years; his children, Dario Grison (Elaine) and Ornella Allen (Tom); grandchildren: Carina (Jason), Christina (Matt), Bianca (Matt), and Alessandro; great-grandchildren: Leo, Anna, Lorenzo, Angela, Chloe, Gia, Briar, and Crosby. John was predeceased by his darling granddaughter Angela; his parents; four brothers; and one sister.
The family would like to thank Dr. Wolf, Dr. Hearn, Dr. Germain, and all the nursing staff at The Kelowna Cancer Clinic, Nurse Lori, and his home support nurses and care aids, Nurse Stephanie, Nurse Sabina. All the people who helped Dad through his battle with cancer are true Angels.
Memorial donations may be sent to BC Cancer Agency – Sindi Ahluwalia Hawkins Centre for the Southern Interior, www.bccancer.bc.ca.
A Funeral Mass will be held on WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 23, 2022, at 11:00 AM (PST), at ST. PIUS X CATHOLIC CHURCH (1346 Gordon Drive, Kelowna, British Columbia), with a reception to follow in the Parish Hall. Interment will take place on Thursday, November 24, 2022, at Kelowna Memorial Park Cemetery.
WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 23, 2022, at 11:00 AM (PST)
ST. PIUS X CATHOLIC CHURCH
The service for GRISON, “John” Giovanni is scheduled for WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 23, 2022, at 11:00 AM (PST). Below you will find the map for the service location and the contact information should you have any questions.