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Kimberley Families

The Sgro Family

as told by Mary

Antonio (Tony) Sgro was born in Pietrapennata, South Italy, in 1896. In 1912, before he was sixteen years old, an uncle in Calgary invited him to come live with him. Shortly after that his uncle returned to Italy to be married. Tony went to live with friends in Banff where he worked at odd jobs until 1920 when he got work at the coal mine at Bankhead.

Mathew Squarcello left Rome in 1909 with his wife and two daughters, Mary and Filomena (F'il), and came to Chicago where he worked on construction for four years. Their next move was to Banff, Alberta, and, by 1917, they were living in Bankhead where Mathew got work in the brickette plant.

This was where Tony met Mary and they were married in 1921. A daughter, Lucy, was born in Bankhead.

When the mine at Bankhead closed down in 1922, Tony got work with the Imperial Oil in Calgary for a year. His next job was in the mine at Nordegg. He was there for two years, from 1923 to 1925. In the winter he would do some trapping and when work got slack Tony went trapping in the north around Great Slave Lake and Mary stayed with her parents who were living in Blairmore. It was here she lost a son in infancy.

Tony came to Kimberley in 1927 and began working at the Concentrator and, by 1928, he was transferred to the Mine.

That first winter, they lived in a shack near Mark Creek on Mark Street, until a house was moved up from Wycliffe to a lot on Wallinger Avenue.

Tony worked in the Mine for twelve years, but in 1935, they opened up a small store in the front part of their home that Mary operated. As business increased, Tony purchased two lots in Lower Blarchmont and built a store there in 1937. By 1939, he had to quit the Company and devote his time to the new venture.

Two more daughters were born in Kimberley: Esther and Barbara. All three girls received their schooling here.

Lucy married Roy Fletcher who was working for Fabro at the time. He was born in Golden and they returned to live there, where Roy started up a tie mill. They had three children, a son and two daughters. Lucy passed away in 1971.

Esther studied one year of dress designing in Florida, but as there was no opportunity for that type of work in this area, she took over the bookkeeping for her dad. She married Chuck Kinrade and they have six children, five sons and one daughter: Terri, Kim, Jay, Lanny, Jodi and Shaunna. Chuck and Esther now own and operate the business since Tony retired.

Barbara took a business course in Spokane and worked in that City for six years. She then went to work in the office of the C. & H. Sugar Company in San Francisco for eight years. She married Ted Zaal, a widower with two sons, Johnny and Dick. Barbara and Ted have two daughters: Denise and Lisa. Ted and Barbara have a paint store (Color Centre) on Wallinger Ave.

Marys's sister, Fil, married John Eiva in 1923 and they lived at the Top Mine for awhile before moving into town. John was a miner. They had two children, Sam and Gloria. Sam passed away in 1953 and John in 1976.

Tony and Mary went back to Italy for a visit in 1956, the first time Tony had been back. He encouraged his four sisters to make the move to Canada. Two were widows and, between 1957 and 1959, they and their families all came to Kimberley. They are Nancy Ferraro, Frances Cristiano, Josephine Daprocida and Mary Battaglia.

Nancy's son, Dick, is the father of four children: Frank, Lino, Nancy and Gina. Frank and Lino are very talented musicians. Frank plays the accordion and Lino the piano. He is attending college in North Dakota where he is studying for a musical career.

From 1966 Tony and Mary spent a few months each winter in Mexico. Tony passed away in 1970 and since then Mary and her sister, Fil Riva, have spent time in Mexico each winter.

Mary has thirteen grandchildren and ten great-grandchildren and she still resides in the little house on Wallinger Avenue where she has lived for fifty-one years.

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