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:

T: 250-558-0866

4417 29th St,
Vernon, BC V1T 5B7

E: [email protected]

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Comments: 4

  1. John Durante says:

    All my love and deepest condolences to all my nieces, nephews, great nieces and nephews
    and their families for their loss. I still can’t believe he is gone , think of him every day and will never forget him. One of the hardest working man you would ever meet, a trooper and fighter to the end. RIP big brother with all our family members that are there with you now.

  2. Dustin Murphy says:

    My Grandpa Tony words can’t express such a tremendous loss. He was one of the hardest workers that I have ever met in my life. I am thankful for the days I got to work with him in the furniture shop. A few fond memories I have would be Christmas Dinners as a kid I would look for the Big Star he put up on his house. When I seen it from the highway I would get excited because I knew I was close. And when I arrived the smell of the food cooking is something that I will never forget. Secondly I will never forget our time at the cabin .
    We had to get there by boat and watching my grandfather sail his boat made me so proud.The way he stood there steering the boat he looked like a real sea captain. I’ve always looked up to him . And I’ve always been more than proud of my Italian heritage I’ve worn that like a badge of honor my entire life . I am honored to be you first born Grandchild
    And I will keep you I’m my heart until we meet again…

  3. Stephen Miller says:

    Grandpa Tony, you were a man of action and accomplishment. I grew up and witnessed your many projects and seen the amazing things you were able to accomplish with your two hands and a plan, it was inspirational. Your creativity and work ethic I see in your children and grandchildren who all have their own strengths, and projects of passion. I hope God has a wall that needs built and a garden that needs tending, because he has brought home the right man for the job. You will be missed thanks for making your mark on this world and giving me this amazing family of moms, dads, uncles, aunties and cousins.

  4. Giesla Hamilton says:

    I was saddened to hear of Tony’s passing. I was a young teenager when I first met him when I was at Louie and Rene’s (my sister) place.
    The memory of Tony’s “movie star” looks and his gentlemanly manner has always stayed with me. My family and I send condolences on the
    death of this remarkable, creative man who lived life well leaving a template to inspire not only his family members, but all others who had
    the pleasure of knowing him.

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