In Celebration of

Sergio Violin

June 9, 1931 -  October 19, 2018

On October 19, 2018, Sergio passed away peacefully at Oakville Trafalgar Memorial Hospital surrounded by his loving family. Beloved husband to his late wife, Teresa (1989), he was also pre-deceased by his partner of over 20 years, Fernanda (2014). He was a loving father and father-in-law to his children - Gianni Violin (Susan), Diana Christie (Greg), Doris Weiler (Steve). He is survived by his brother Joe Violin (Rosetta). Nonno will be fondly remembered and sadly missed by his grandchildren Grace, Charlie, and Jack Violin, Claire & Elissa Christie as well as his nieces and nephews.

Sergio immigrated to Canada in 1954 from Romans di Varmo in northern Italy. He and Teresa settled in Port Credit, working hard to raise a family. A skilled cabinet maker and craftsman, Sergio employed these skills during his long career with the Dufferin Peel Catholic School Board. He was also an avid gardener, fine wine maker and “Nonno of All Trades”, much to the delight and benefit of his family and friends.

The family wishes to thank the caring and supportive staff at Sunrise of Oakville Retirement Residence, his home for the past year and half and the medical staff at Oakville Trafalgar Hospital. In lieu of flowers, if desired, donations to Parkinson Canada would be appreciated.


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Frank Violin (Nephew)

Entered October 21, 2018 from Pickering, Ont

On behalf of my Father and Mother (Joe and Rosetta Violin) and my Family I would like to express our deepest condolences to Diana , Gianni , Doris and their wonderful families for their tremendous loss.

Uncle Sergio came to Canada first and his little brother Joe was not far behind they worked very hard to not only make a great life for themselves and their families but also worked very hard as a team to make their parents life back in Italy easier. They had a love and admiration for one another that is very special to me and something that I have always respected and idolized.

Sergio will be greatly missed , We love you we will miss you and you will be forever in our hearts ❤️

Frank Violin

Maria Hogue (friend)

Entered October 21, 2018 from Burlington

Dear John, Susan, Jack, Charlie and Grace. My heart is with you and your family during this difficult time.
Our Deepest Sympathies and Heartfelt Condolences. Maria, Greg and Janina.

Sam and Jane Ward (friends of the family)

Entered October 21, 2018 from Fleming Island, Florida

So sorry for your loss!

Lauro Rigo (Second cousin)

Entered October 21, 2018 from Mississauga

Violin family,

I am so sorry to hear of Sergio's passing. I will always remember him as a gentle soul and the good times we shared when our families were together during special events. I will dearly miss him.

Chris and Sandy Bilous (Friend)

Entered October 21, 2018

So sorry John and Sue
Take care
See you soon

Life Stories 

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Diana, Gianni & Doris Violin and Family (Children & Family)

Entered October 24, 2018 from Oakville

Sergio’s Eulogy
June 9, 1931 – October 19, 2018h

Sergio Guiseppe Violin was born in Romans di Varmo in Northern Italy on June 9, 1931. Based on the stories he told us, his was not a carefree childhood. There were some hard times and being a young teen at the end of the war, he was old enough to experience and remember the fear and uncertainty of the time. Although the times were tough, the family unit was strong and loving.

Sergio was a good student and although he dreamed of becoming an architect, he trained as a cabinet maker. After the war, there was not much opportunity in Italy for a young man and so he came to Canada in search of a better life. Actually, the phrase as we often heard it was “we came to Canada so you kids could have a better life”. But it wasn’t just us kids who benefitted. As the oldest of 3 siblings, Sergio came first in 1954 and then helped his younger brother, Joe immigrate as well. Together, they worked hard and saved their money. After some time, they returned to Italy, bought some property, designed and literally built a house for their parents. I know that this was one of his proudest achievements because it provided his parents with more independence and security, especially in their retirement.

After a couple of years in Canada he returned to Italy (there was a lot of back and forth in the early years) where he married his sweetheart, Teresa. They returned to Canada together and soon settled at 71 Onaway Rd in Port Credit where they lived for 20 years and raised their 3 children, Doris, Diana and Gianni. It was a typical Italian/Canadian household with a big vegetable garden and fruit trees. I remember peaches, pears, apricots, fried zucchini, swiss chard (also known as arbis) and lets not forget everybody’s favourite: the tomatoes!

As proud as he was of the new house that they built for his parents, the house on Onaway Road needed work, and he always had a project on the go. He finished the basement, added a bathroom, renovated the kitchen, regraded the yard, sandblasted the bricks, extended the soffits, etc etc. All of this work he did on his own, without help. I don’t know how he knew how to do all of these things, but he did and he did them exceptionally well. No repair person, installer, plumber or electrician ever walked through our door. Dad was a do-it-yourselfer before DIY was an acronym!

Sergio started his career in construction and home building and then moved to the Dufferin Peel Separate School Board where he worked for over 20 years until his retirement. He worked in building maintenance and would travel to the various schools repairing things that needed fixing, doing minor renovations or installations. For a few years, they tried to give him a “helper”. He of course, hated this! He didn’t want or need a helper – the helper only slowed him down by wanting to stop for coffee! I think The Board just gave up after a while and let him work solo.

I suspect, that they were hoping that the helper would get some training. Unfortunately, Sergio didn’t have much patience as a teacher. When we were kids, he would let us “help” for a short time but then it was ‘away you go’ and he would take over. When we got older and had houses of our own, he would repair and renovate for us. For example, when Greg and I bought our first house, there was a conversation where I said I would like to put up a shelf in the laundry room to store soap and supplies. A couple of days later, Dad was there with his pencil drawing on graph paper, showing me the cupboards that he was going to build. That’s the way it was for many years. If you even asked a question about home repairs or renovations, Dad was on it! He did home repairs, finished our basements, secured and reinforced 2 of Doris’ restaurants and built furniture for us all. I know that he took pleasure in being able to help us with these things.

I don’t know how many times I heard Greg say, “Hey Serg can I give you a hand?” or “we can help you with that” but Serg never took him up on the offer. He was a perfectionist who liked to work on his own and came up with some ingenious ways of doing just that. We were at his house for dinner one evening and I went to the basement and noticed that he had a new freezer. “Hey Dad, how did you get the old metal chest freezer out of the basement?” He said, “well I thought about it for a while and then I set up a winch on the landing at the top of stairs and I was able to get it up”. When we were cleaning out his garage, there were at least 6 adults standing around, looking up and trying to figure out how to bring down the 12-foot boat and trailer, that he had suspended from the rafters (by himself) for storage. In the end, he told us how to do it.

Now as much as he liked to work alone he didn’t want to be alone. My memories of childhood include a lot of family time. Sunday picnics, where Mom would pack the red and white Coleman cooler and we would head off to explore a new park each week. There were picnics too with the Italian club where Mom and Dad would reminisce and laugh with “the paisans” and us kids would participate in races and organized games: I believe there were games for the adults too, at least one of these involved salami and climbing a greased pole. There were visits with our cousins and Zio Joe and Zia Rosetta. He had a short foray into boating, but this didn’t sit well with my mother as she got easily sea sick. I remember him driving me to high school basketball practice on the dark winter mornings, when he would steer the car with his thumbs because he refused to wear gloves. Gianni remembers that he washed the car every week before going to church. He also remembers the few times that he helped him with his newspaper route on snowy days, by loading the toboggan with both Gianni and the newspapers and towing it behind the car. We remember that he was excited about the new house on Wakefield Crescent and that he would stop by every day after work to check on the construction. I believe he snuck in a few times and did some touch ups as needed. We ALL remember his skill at wine making. He even tried his hand at champagne and ice wine. It was pretty good too! Greg, to this day will taste a wine and say “that reminds me of Onaway wine”.

There were many happy times but I would be remised if I didn’t include the great sadness in his life. In 1989 my mother, Teresa passed away from leukemia at 53 years of age. Sergio was 57. This was a terrible loss for all of us, but especially for Dad. This was the first time that I realized that he too was vulnerable and needed help.

There followed some lonely and difficult years, but then Sergio met Fernanda and he was given a second chance at love. Fernanda’s energy and vitality buoyed his spirits and she got him out and about socially. Sergio retired at 63 and they were able to spend more time together in their homes in Mississauga and increasingly longer periods of time together in sunny Mexico during the winter. They had a whole social group of snow birds there, who, based on the photos I have seen, worked very hard on their tans!

At the same time, the grandchildren started to arrive. Pretty much one every couple of years from 1993 until 2002. The grandchildren; Elissa, Claire, Jack, Charlie and Grace were a source of great joy for Sergio, aka Nonno. He doted on them, played with them and showed them lots of love and patience. The basement of his house was transformed into the toy room and Barney videos appeared in the TV cabinet. There were new traditions of weekly family dinners, summer pool parties at Doris’ house, the annual Violin Family picnic and holiday gatherings. Best of all, he was able to enjoy Fernanda’s grandchildren and family as well.

In January of 2014, we lost Fernanda to cancer and a lot of the wind was lost from of his sails. When he really did need help, he accepted it and made it easy for us to help him. He decided that he would stop driving. When we suggested he do a couple of trial visits at retirement residences, he agreed and chose the one he wanted to live in. When it was time to sell the house, he allowed us to do it and work on our own. So we packed up the house and got it ready for sale and this too, brought the family closer. There were childhood memories relived and treasures found: baseball gloves, school projects, GI Joe dolls (oh sorry, Action Figures). Gianni would send me a picture “Look, I found the Leo the Lion cup”, I would send Doris a text “I found your Partridge Family scrap book!” The grandchildren helped too, cleaning, organizing and painting what was once their toy room. We had come full circle.

As I reflect on Dad’s life, I realize that he really was an excellent teacher after all. Through example he taught us these important life lessons:
• Work hard and do a good job, but use your head
• Be generous with your time and talents
• Be kind
• Above all, love and support your family and friends.

Thanks, Dad, Serg, Nonno.

Grace Violin (Grand - daugter)

Entered October 25, 2018 from Oakville

Nonno, Sergio, King, Mr. Violin can be remembered by so many people for so many different reasons, but to my brothers and I we can remember him through great stories and great laughs as the greatest Nonno there ever was. Nonno was a kind hearted, hardworking, loving person. He loved so many things in life like his garden, his carpentry, his work, but most of all he loved his family. As we were all in Nonno’s hospital room we recalled so many funny stories and great memories we had with Nonno and at his house when we were young and some of the things we recently did with him.

Jack, Charlie and I can remember going over to Nonno’s house and racing to the couch to see who would get the money out of the couch first, that would fall out of nonno’s pockets when he sat down. Another fond memory that my brothers and I have with Nonno is his love to squeeze our hands. He would always grab our hands and squeeze them as hard as he could until we gave him a reaction, and we loved it, we would always run up to him and say “Nonno squeeze my hand squeeze my hand” and he always would. This was one of the things he could do almost until the very end. Jack and I were sitting at Nonno’s bedside and we would say
“Nonnos squeeze our hand”. He would still do it to the point where it hurt just a little.

When we went to Nonno’s house we would always eat so many chocolate covered almonds because he had no limit on how many we could eat. He would also cut up some parmesan cheese for us to eat. After we would run downstairs and either grab our favourite toy out of the toy box or go play darts, we rarely hit the board but he never got mad that we made holes in his walls. Just across the room from the dart board was the most famous wall in the house. This wall had all of our heights and some dogs heights on it. It was always exciting to get measured to see if we grew even though we were there like a week ago. This wall had heights on it from when we were babies. For almost every occasion I would ask Nonno to make my favourite food of his which was adibease, even though it was a lot of work because he had to go pull the swiss chard out from his garden and wash it in ice cold hose water and then cook it he would never say no.

One thing about Nonno was that his smile and his laugh was contagious and could light up any room. He was constantly making us laugh through the things he did and the things he said. We had this thing that I used to do. I used to play with his “gobble” which was the skin under his chin and he would always try to bite my finger while I was doing it. Nonno always chuckled when I would take his picture with Snapchat face filters.

I remember on the weekends I would wake up and ask “when is Nonno coming over because it was so exciting to see what he was bringing over from his garden like tomatoes and pears. I would only eat Nonno’s pears. Another thing that we loved to do was go into the dining room at Nonno’s house and open the huge box of baccis and eat it then read what it said on the paper inside. Not only did Nonno have lots of bacci he also had lots of chocolate chip cookies. He was never running low because he always had a minimum of at least 2 boxes.

Another one of my favourite things to do at Nonno’s house was to go into the front hall closet and put on a pair of Fernanda’s shoes because I liked the click sound they made because they had a little heel on them. He would always say “Grace don’t stretch those shoes they are her favourite pair” and I ended up wearing them until my feet were too big. Nonno and I would always look right into each others faces. We would be having a staring contest. Then he would move his head and almost hit my face to scare me, but it never scared me it just made me giggle and smile with happiness and fun.

One of my all time favourite memories was of Charlie and I almost every time we were at Nonno’s house was to sneak into the bar area and grab these little plastic swords that were supposed to go in drinks but we used them for mini sword fighting, but everytime we went to grab one we would always get caught by him. At the time we weren’t smart enough to realize that the walls were mirrors and that was how he caught us. At Easter we loved to play tiya ouf which is throwing quarters into hard boiled eggs. Nonno was always the King at this game and he would teach all the grandchildren how to throw the quarters properly on how to get it in. His seat at holiday dinners was always the head of the table and that was known as Nonno’s seat no one else was allowed to sit there but the King of course.

Nonno was someone would could fix and build anything you asked. Anything that broke Nonno could fix. Nonno finished basements, made hutches, stopped animals from living under our steps and so many more. Jack inherited many of Nonno’s fix it and carpentry skills. Charlie inherited Nonno’s uncanny ability to problem solve whenever he was presented with a challenge.

Elissa, Claire, Jack, Charlie, and myself each have a favourite italian saying that nonno taught us: toncho mentine boucha, chaf de salim, mange a tass. When Nonno was at Sunrise there was a cat named Milo who lived there. Nonno hated the cat but the cat still loved Nonno. Milo the cat loved to lay on Nonno’s bed and I always loved to watch Nonno try to figure out a way to get the cat of his bed, without touching the cat. Somehow he always found a way. Nonno and I had a favourite song that we would sing and dance to no matter what mood either of us were in. He would always sing the “ba ba ba ba” parts and dance along with me which always put a smile on my face and make me one of the happiest and luckiest granddaughter in the world. Everytime I watched the video of us I immediately start smiling.

Nonno only really had ONE rule with the grandchildren and that was “DO NOT TOUCH HIS HAIR”. That was the one thing we were not allowed to do, but I mean I guess we listened considering in all the photo albums and pictures we took with him not a hair was out of place ever.
Being able to help the Priest bless you by holding the oil, hold your hand and have my other hand on your chest as your loving family surrounded your bed as you took your last breath was one of the most sad, but profound moments in my life and I will forever be grateful for that moment.
Nonno you were a family guy, a perfectionist,a happy, caring, loving and stubborn man, but you worked hard you were independent and taught us to do the same. You also taught us to never forget to lend a helping hand but remember that family is everything. I will forever wear the necklaces you bought to remember you forever and always.
Nonno always gave the best and warmest hugs. Everytime he would hug you he would give you a kiss on the cheek and say I love you and see you later. He would never say goodbye because it wasn't and isn’t goodbye it’s I’ll see you later.

We’ll see you later Nonno we love you.


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