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Kimberley Families

The Muraca Family

as told by Phyllis

Antonio (Tony) Muraca was born in Nicartro, Southern Italy. His father, Pasquale Muraca, had made a trip to Cranbrook while still a single man. He returned to Italy and married Theresa Provenzano, the sister of Felix and Frank Provenzano of Cranbrook, who owned the Venezia and King Edward Hotels. Pasquale did not return to Canada but in 1924, when his son Tony was eighteen years old, he came to Cranbrook to visit his uncles and they sent him to Kimberley to seek work. Tony went underground in the Mine for twelve years.

In 1936, Tony opened up a grocery store on the corner of Wallinger Avenue and Mark Street in the front part of what used to be the Baragon building, but was then owned by Mr. Strilchuk. A Mr. Sutherland ran a secondhand shop in the back of the building.

Tony joined the Canadian Royal Scottish Regiment in Calgary and went overseas. He saw action on the Continent and met Phyllis Tanock of Torquay, Devon, England. She had attended a school that taught domestic sciences and she was working in the kitchen of the St. Thomas Hospital in London. Tony and Phyllis were married in November of 1946. Tony returned to Kimberley in January of 1947 and received his discharge in Calgary in March, about the same time that Phyllis arrived.

Vic and Lauretta Mio were in charge of the store while Tony was away.

In 1959, Mr. Strilchuk decided to sell his two buildings that he had been renting. One was Mae Leggett's Hardware and Gift Shop across the street, next door to Walkley's Meat Market. Bob Leggett bought the one Tony was in so Tony in turn bought the other one and they exchanged premises. Mr. Strilchuck moved to the Okanagan.

Tony and Phyllis had opened up a coffee shop in conjunction with the store and this was enlarged in the new premises. The tourist trade was very good before the main highway was changed to bypass Kimberley.

The Muracas had two children: Angelina (Angie) and Anthony (Tony Jr.). Angie married Ken Johnson. He took an electrical apprenticeship with Kaiser Resources and they now live in Vernon where Ken runs his own electric shop. They have two children: Robert and Tracy. Young Tony put himself through a course in Southern Alberta Institute of Technology by working one year for the Company at the Fertilizer, then attending school one year and again working a year at the Fertilizer before returning to finish his education. He is now Director of Field Operations for Western Canada Avis Transport in Calgary, and not married yet.

Tony Muraca

Tony was a Charter member of the Rotary Club and an active member of the Chamber of Commerce and the Retail Merchants. For almost thirty years he was the representative in this area for the Italian Consul and was responsible for looking after his fellow countrymen. Tony's brother, Frank, came to Kimberley after the war. He was a stone mason by trade and worked for Fabro's Building and Supply until he retired. He and his wife still reside in Kimberley.

Tony died in April of 1975 and Phyllis sold the business and their big house. She now works part time for the City Bakery and lives in one of the little houses on Spokane Street near the new Library.

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