Antonio Guerino Durante
May 6, 1941 - October 12, 2023
In Loving Memory
Antonio Guerino Durante
Antonio, often known as “Tony” was born May 6, 1941, to Olga and Vittorio Durante in a little town in Italy, called Giavera Del Montello. Tony came unwillingly to Canada, leaving his beloved Grandmother Cecilia and Aunt Avelina behind. He was 14 years old when he travelled by ship in 1955. This was a challenging situation, yet a blessing in disguise, as the ship they were supposed to be on made an error and didn’t have enough room for them and had to reschedule their journey. The ship, the SS Andrea Doria, that they were supposed to be on, sunk in transit. They caught the next ship to Canada.
Unable to speak English well, Tony left school to search for work to support his family while his father was away in the War.
He was an observer and would hang around many work sites with the intention of gathering and learning about the trades. He searched for work and landed under the wing of a furniture company called Cyril Birch. Tony always spoke highly of this boss who saw his struggles and fed him opportunities and support. It was here that Tony was able to demonstrate his strong work ethic and creativity. Tony was an incredible furniture maker. His craftsmanship would be showcased in many high-end hotels and boardrooms. He also created some amazing custom children’s furniture chairs and loveseats. He even helped create a special chair that the queen sat on to sign an important document. He created the most incredible “truck bed” that many of his grandchildren have fond memories of.
Eventually, Tony ended up as an upholstery instructor and rehabilitation instructor at WCB, where he remained for over 30 years until he retired. During this time, he also mastered his carpentry skills building onto and later purchasing his father-in-law’s cabin at Pitt Lake in Moonshine Bay, where many summers were spent watching the moon rise and fall over the mountains.
Tony has lived in Vernon for 20 years since the passing of his wife, Cathryne. He was often found tending to his yard and garden, when he was not tending to his wife’s legacy walkable labyrinth in Fintry Provincial Park. You would often smell fresh pasta sauce or soup simmering when you walked into his house. He was an incredible cook. He also had quite the sense of humor even in his darkest times. He was a man of great strength, with an incredibly sensitive and intuitive side to his personality.
Tony passed away in Vernon hospital Oct 12, 2023 due to complications from a very long series of health challenges, and he fought an incredibly courageous battle. Tony was a strong spirit, determined to try his best to overcome any obstacle put in his way. His favorite saying was, “If there is a will, there is a way.” He was also a strong believer in “a place for everything and everything in it’s place”.
Tony found comfort in his yard standing on the bridge by his waterfall and pond, watching his many goldfish beside “Katie’s garden”. He had a love for nature and animals. His language of love was “doing” and “making” things for others. He had incredible neighbours that he also found great friendship and support with.
He is survived by his 5 children, 3 from a previous marriage; Roy (Susie), Laura (Gord), Leanna, Lisa (Jim) and David (Robbie); his 11 grandchildren (Dustin, Jayson, Braydon, Bryan, Stephen, Kaeli, Jaelyn, Teagan, Austin, Mackenzie and Chanel.)
Tony was pre-deceased by his parents, and 2 siblings, Antonia (George) and Louie (Rene).
His remaining youngest brother John (Sharon) was at his side when he passed. Tony’s care team of doctors, surgeons and nurses demonstrated exemplary compassion, care and support during his illness and we are forever grateful for their efforts and kindness.
A celebration of life will be held Spring 2024 at Tony’s home, in his beautiful yard surrounded by his plants, flowers, birdhouses and ladybugs, where his presence and memory is the strongest. If you wish to be notified of this service and gathering, please email [email protected] and you will be added to the contact list.
Donations in lieu of flowers can be made to Children’s hospital, Vernon Jubilee Cancer Clinic or your local AA Support group.
Tony will be greatly missed by his family, neighbours and friends.
“Go rest high on that mountain, son your work on earth is done”.
I am convinced your spirit will show us you are near. Until we meet again….Rest in peace papa bear, we love you.
Arrangements entrusted to
Cypress Funeral & Cremation Services 250-558-0866
Condolences may be expressed to the family by phone or email through Cypress Funeral & Cremation Services: