We Remember

IAFRANCESCO, Giuseppe (Joe)

March 19, 1947 — November 2, 2018

Giuseppe (Joe) Iafrancesco was born in Sepino, Italy, March 19, 1947 and passed away in Kelowna, BC on November 2, 2018. Always optimistic and hopeful, Joe fought lung cancer until his final moments.

Joe’s early years in Italy were spent on his family’s farm. In 1963, he immigrated to Canada with the belief that anything is achievable with hard work, dedication and a vision. His determination allowed him to pursue his high school education and the Canadian dream.

At the young age of sixteen, Joe began this dream with a weekend shoe-shine business. This was followed with a janitorial service in Kelowna and then 30 years of employment with Canadian Pacific Railway as a Conductor/Brakeman with both the running trades and VIA rail.  During this time, he met and married his love and lifetime partner, Bianca Russo. The two were married in Kelowna on May 22, 1976. Throughout their years together, he and Bianca invested in and managed their commercial and residential properties along with enjoying their hobby farm.

Joe was a very social person who made connections wherever he went and with whomever he met. He was always open to new ideas and friendships and was the first to organize and volunteer his time.  He organized various charity golf tournaments and spearheaded several fund-raising efforts for earthquake relief. Joe even put forth his name in municipal politics when he ran for Kelowna City Council in 1999, 2002 and 2005.

He retired in 1997 to enjoy more golf and travel, vintage cars, their hobby farm and his passion of service to the community. Joe volunteered for many services including The Kelowna Canadian Italian Club (serving as president for many years), Knights of Columbus, Rotary Club, Chamber of Commerce, National Congress of Italian Canadians, Folkfest, Uptown Rutland Business Association, Downtown Kelowna Association, Central OK Crime Stoppers, Lions Club as well as many other volunteer organizations.  He was also involved with fundraising for the Italian wing of the National Museum of Civilization (Ottawa) and the 2001 opening of Pier 21 (Halifax).  His recognition awards were many and include the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal (2012), Finalist for the City of Kelowna’s Fred Macklin Award (1989 and 2000) and the Central OK Crime Stoppers Volunteer of the Year Award (1998). His appreciation awards included the Ben Lee Park Society and the Multicultural Society.

He is survived by his loving wife, Bianca, sister Vitangela Cusanelli, mother-in-law Armerinda Russo, sisters-in-law Lucy Litz (Rudy), Florinda Salas (Israel), Rita Witzke (Kevin), Erminia Thorpe (Noel), brothers-in-law Frank Russo (Valita), Tim Russo (Carolyn) and many nieces and nephews.  He was predeceased by his parents Pasquale and Vittoria Iafrancesco, brother Giovanni Iafrancesco, brother-in-law Gabriele Cusanelli and father-in-law Amedeo Russo.

Joe touched many lives and will continue to do so with his very substantial donations to the KGH Cancer Care fund and to JoeAnna’s House.

Prayers will be held on Friday, November 9, 2018 at 6:00 pm and a Funeral Mass on Saturday November 10, 2018 at 11:00 am both at Immaculate Conception, 839 Sutherland Ave, Kelowna, BC.  Entombment to follow at Lakeview Memorial Gardens Cemetery, 2850 Dry Valley Rd, Kelowna, BC.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Kelowna General Hospital Cancer Care Fund, www.kghfoundation.com/priority-need/cancer-care, JoeAnna’s House, www.kghfoundation.com/joeannas-house,  Kelowna Canadian Italian Club, www.kelownaitalianclub.com, or a charity of your choice. If you wish to send a condolence, post photos or share a memory, please scroll down the page to the area called “Share Your Condolences.”

Prayer Service
Friday, November 9, 2018 at 6:00 pm

Saturday, November 10, 2018 at 11:00 am

Immaculate Conception Church

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In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Kelowna General Hospital Cancer Care Fund, JoeAnna’s House, Kelowna Canadian Italian Club or a charity of your choice. Link: www.kghfoundation.com/priority-need/cancer-care, www.kghfoundation.com/joeannas-house, www.kelownaitalianclub.com


Service Information

Service Details

The prayer service for IAFRANCESCO, Giuseppe (Joe) is scheduled for Friday, November 9, 2018 at 6:00 pm at located at 839 Sutherland Ave, Kelowna, BC.

The service for IAFRANCESCO, Giuseppe (Joe) is scheduled for Saturday, November 10, 2018 at 11:00 am. Below you will find the map for the service location and the contact information should you have any questions.

Address & Contact for Service Location:

Immaculate Conception Church

839 Sutherland Ave Kelowna, BC


Special Requests:


Funeral Pointers:



  • Liisa says:

    I am very sorry to hear of your loss. Joe was a kind and gentle giant that will be missed greatly. It was a pleasure knowing him. My prayers are with you during this difficult time.
    Liisa Kelowna Springs

  • Ann Petrone and Ron Wood says:

    Bianca we are very sorry Joe was so special you are in our thoughts and prayers at this sad time.

  • Vic and Anna Campbell says:

    Our heartfelt condolences to you Bianca on the passing of your beloved Joe. May you find strength in your hardships and peace in your sorrow. Vic and Anna ,Andrea and James

  • Alison Spadafora says:

    My deepest condolences to Joe’s wife Bianca, extended family, and many friends. I was fortunate to have met Joe through the Kelowna Canadian Italian Club, where he always made me and my husband feel welcome. He was a very special person. Love, Alison and Mat

  • Settimio Filice says:

    Bianca and Family, our deepest sympathies to you for the loss of your beloved Joe. Keeping you and your family in our thoughts and prayers.
    Settimio Filice and family,
    Sault Ste. Marie, ON

  • Orest Zaryski says:

    It is with heavy hearts to hear the passing of Joe. Our deepest condolences to you Bianca. You are in our thoughts and Prayers. Joe was a very special ,kind and gentle soul with an infectious smile who will be deeply missed. His legacy will live on in each and everyone who’s paths crossed. His many years of time and dedication of President OF KCIC and other organizations will not be forgotten. I always remember our Dad saying how proud he was of Joe and you Bianca always thinking of others . His recent generous donations simply proved that.
    We”ll Cherish the many memories.. RIP Joe
    Love Lorraine and Orest Zaryski

  • Byron & Patricia Elliott, says:

    Bianca; We are sorry to learn that Joe lost this battle but proud to remember a friend that lived life as a winner! Our thoughts and prayers are with you on this sad journey and we extend our sympathy to your families. Patricia and Byron

  • Francesca Pugliese says:

    To Bianca and Family, our thoughts and prayers are with you at this time. Joe, was a compassionate, hard working man who advocated for the Italian Community. I have many fond memories of the both of you as a couple, The Italian Club dances will not be the same, I always remember keeping him up to date on the Montreal Canadiens score.
    The Pugliese Family

  • Giuseppe Cusanelli says:

    Dear Bianca,
    We were very sorry to hear of Joe’s passing. Everyone who knew him will feel the loss. You are in our prayers and thoughts. May God comfort you in your time of sorrow.

    With deepest sympathy,

    Joe, Connie and Nadia Cusanelli

  • Don Grant says:

    Dear Bianca; Joe will be remembered as a great citizen with a heart of gold. His handshake and warm smile were amongst Joe’s many fabulous traits. A great Canadian has passed. Our most heartfelt condolences. Don & Lynda Grant

  • gerry ghini says:

    Bianca Very sorry to hear Joe lost his battle with cancer! He gave so much of his time helping out in the community, particularly the Italian club. I know both of your friendships was very much appreciated by Pearl and my dad.
    My condolences Gerry Ghini

  • rene dureault says:

    Bianca, Sorry to hear of joe’s passing he will be missed.
    Rene & Irene Dureault

  • Pina Bruno and family says:

    Dear Bianca, we are very sorry to hear of Joe’s passing. May God give you strength at this difficult time. You are in our thoughts and prayers. Our deepest condolences. Pina Bruno and family

  • Rick Evans says:

    Bianca, we are very sad to hear of Joe’s passing. He was a larger-than-life person who will be missed greatly by all who knew him and community of Kelowna where he spent many many hours volunteering on various projects. Our prayers are with you. Rick & Rhonda Evans

  • Jooanne Fulop says:

    Dear Bianca, I was so very shocked and saddened to read of Joe,s passing in the Courier this morning. Your loss is great, as is the loss to the community of such a valuable caring and generous friend. My deepest sympathy to you and your family.

  • Rolli and Mary Cacchioni says:

    Bianca, we were so saddened by Joe’s passing. He will be greatly missed. Our deepest condolences and heartfelt sympathy go out to you and all the family. You are in our thoughts and prayers. Rolli and Mary Cacchioni and our families.

  • Linda and Doug Callahan says:

    Bianca – It was lovely to have met you both and to have recently acquired some keepsakes of Joe’s. Our heartfelt wishes go out to you during this tough time.

  • Dave Brunsdon says:

    Our sincere condolences from The Navy League of Canada Kelowna Branch.

  • John & Giovanna Cusanelli says:

    Dear Bianca
    We are deeply saddened by the news of Joe’s passing. Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. May God give you strength to help in your grief.
    Love John & Giovanna & Cusanelli Family

  • Camillo and Bambina Tinto says:

    To Bianca
    We would like to send our deepest condolences to you in losing your husband Joe. He was a great man and will be missed. Our prayers are with you at this difficult time.
    From Bambina and Camillo Tinto

  • Dave and Nathalie Risso says:

    Thinking of you Bianca. We were always met with Joe’s warm smile and infectious laugh. Hoping you and your family can celebrate a great life lived.

  • carmine and nella pucci-daniele says:

    Dear Bianca, with heartfelt sorrow we share in your loss. Joe was a genuine remarkable caring person, a true gentleman, and a true friend. He gave so much to the community especially to the Italian Club .He will be greatly missed and remembered by all for his contributions to worthy causes , his friendly personality, his positive attitude, and his great smile.
    the legacy he left will continue on . May God give you strength during this difficult time, our thoughts and Prayers are with you . With heartfelt sympathy our deepest condolences to you and all your family.
    Carmine Nella and all our family

  • Emma & Elmo Rantucci says:

    Bianca and Family, So sorry and saddened by Joe’s passing. He was a great, caring person, always willing to help. We have known him since he moved to Kelowna as a teenager. A great loss also to the Kelowna Canadian Italian Club – He dedicated much of his time to the growth and well being of the Club and as members, we thank him and you Bianca for your support. Our warm and caring thoughts are with you all. Please let us know if we can be of assistance. Emma & Elmo Rantucci

  • Tracy MacLean says:

    Joe was a GREAT man! His presence in the community will be missed by many. Every time I go to A & W on Harvey I will think of Joe. We shared many a coffee and tea together there. Along with many others. My thoughts and prayers are with you Bianca. God Bless. Gone too soon and never forgotten!

  • Nina Cortelli says:

    So sorry to hear of Joe’s passing. My love, thoughts and prayers are with you.
    Love Nina

  • Joe and Liz Caruso says:

    Bianca, Thinking of you as you grieve the loss of your beloved husband, Joe.

  • Nicola Iafrancesco says:

    Dear Bianca,
    Our deepest condolences on you loss . Joe was a wonderful man and will be deeply missed. Our thoughts and prayers are with you during this difficult time.
    Nicola, Concetta Iafrancesco and family

  • Jeff and Alice Wong says:

    Dear Bianca,
    We are so sorry to hear about the loss of your beloved husband, Joe. Our thoughts and prayers are with you during this difficult time. Our heartfelt sympathy and deepest condolences to you and your family.
    Jeff and Alice Wong

  • Jill and Stewart Roberts says:

    Dear Joe, we were only lucky enough to know you since coming to Kelowna Severn years ago, you embraced us into your community and we have been friends ever since and you were a very dear friend, you will be sorely missed not just by us but by the many many people who have been touched by your generosity, you were a giant among men, you leave behind many grieving people as well as your dear dear wife Bianca, please know Joe that she will be well taken care of as we love her as much as we loved you. So rest in peace dear friend, you were truely one of Gods ambassador.
    Jill and Stewart Roberts

  • Joey Anne Vecchio says:

    I was shocked to hear of Joe’s passing. My heart aches for you. May you be comforted by all the wonderful memories of your life together. God bless you.
    Warm hugs from Cousin Joey

  • Pat Crossley says:

    Dear Bianca, I am so very sorry the loss of Joe. I was very sad to hear the news and read his obit. He will be greatly missed by all I know. I hope your cherished memories will help you through the darkest hours. My prayers and condolences to you and family. May he rest in peace. Love Pat. Friend of Sharon & Doug.

  • James Robert Carta says:

    Dearest Bianca,
    We are deeply saddened upon hearing of Joe’s passing! We know how much you both meant to each other. We know how much Joe meant to the Italian community and our community at large. Thank you Bianca for sharing Joe with all of us !
    He will be remembered for who he was, what he stood for! God Bless you and Joe
    Sincerely The Carta Family

  • Antonietta Iafancesco(Keith Alexander) and sons Lukas &Gabriel says:

    Dear Bianca and family members,
    We wish to express our deepest condolences on the loss of a very nice man, Joe. He definitely was a sociable person with many stories. Our kids were young when they met Joe here in Montreal, and he shared with them many interesting such as Ogopogo and Vancouver Canucks » Sedin sisters ». He will be missed by all who have had the pleasure of knowing him. May his soul Rest In Peace.

  • Stefan Pyne says:

    It is with sincere regret that our family hears of Joe’s passing. Joe was particularly kind towards our father Cornelius Pyne. Even as his health was severely comprised, he extended himself to others. He exuded a quiet dignity and calm. We are deeply grateful for his example and mark the passing of a very fine gentleman. Dear Bianca, our prayers and loving thoughts go out to you. God Bless.

  • Kirk Myltoft says:

    Dear Bianca,
    I am so sorry to hear of Joe’s passing. Everyone at Glenmore Highlands Magazine sends our condolences. I was so pleased to feature you and Joe as our cover family in February 2018. I would like to feature a memorial for Joe as the cover and feature article in the Jan. 2019 issue.
    Please reach out to me when you can, 250-280-8156, kmyltoft@bestversionmedia.com
    My thoughts are with you.
    Kirk Myltoft, Publisher, Glenmore Highlands Living Magazine

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