- ADVERTISEMENT -

CARMEN P. TOGNELLI

CARMEN P. TOGNELLI - BURLINGTON - On Oct. 25, 2012, Carmen Pedetti Tognelli, 82, passed away in the loving home of her daughter, Barbara, after a difficult battle with cancer. Carmen was a very special person who could charm everyone she met and will be greatly missed by her fabulous meals she prepared, her sense of humor and her enthusiasm for life. Her journey began on July 19, 1930, when she was born to Angelina Cereghetti and Giovanni Pedetti in Veglio D'Intelvi, province of Como (Lombardia), Italy, a border town of Italy and Switzerland. She was one of five children. Her early years she referred to as "tempo della miseria," the time of misery. She was taken out of school at age eight because of the war, and at that age began her work ethic. She and her two older sisters found employment working at a shoe factory in the neighboring town. She had to lie about her age and told the employer she was small for her age so she could work (you had to be 10 to work in the factory). She also learned how to knit and sew from the nuns and two older seamstresses in town, taking in sewing and also spinning wool. And oh, how Carmen could knit and sew. Those years were very tough for the family. Her father and brother were stonemasons and were away from home a lot, so it was left to her mother, two sisters and her to keep food on the table and keep their simple needs met. By the time she entered her teen years (14), Carmen had taught herself German and was an interpreter on the Swiss/ Italian border. That led her and her two sisters to find better employment in Switzerland, working at another factory. This factory would host Italian nights for the employees where there would be music and dancing, and at age 18 she was crowned Signorina Auber Winterthur, Junior Miss Switzerland. It was on that night she met the love of her life, a very handsome young man from Tuscany, Italy (Gavinana, Pistoia), Carlo Tognelli. They were married in 1950 by Archbishop Giuseppe Montini, who later became Pope Paul the VI. After the ceremony he stated to the couple, "Today I feel I have married the true Romeo and Juliet." They would then travel the world together. From Switzerland, they went back to Italy, then Brazil, then Canada and to the United States, and after several states, they finally settled in Vermont and were finally home. She was employed at Ben Franklin for about a year when she heard about a motel that was for sale. With her determination she informed her husband, with that famous smile of hers and the twinkle in her green eyes, that they were going to buy it, and they did in 1967. She owned and operated the Midtown Motel for 28 years. She, who learned the construction business from her father, could do everything from carpentry, painting, plumbing, mason cement work, to repairing walls, drapery, reupholstering, you name it, and Carmen took care of it. Her trusted loyal live-in desk clerk, Hazel, and she would have so many funny stories to tell of all the characters that would come to rent and they named their adventures 230 Main St. One of the funniest stories her family loves to tell, was of her repairing her sidewalk in front of her home. She was tired of waiting for the City of Burlington to come and repair it, so she went to Hill's Hardware Store, rented a small cement mixer, bought bags of cement and proceeded to make a new sidewalk. A few weeks later, a truck from the City of Burlington pulled up to her house and a man with a clipboard looked at her new sidewalk, rang her doorbell and asked who had fixed the sidewalk. With that smile of hers she said, "I did." He went back to his truck and five minutes later he rang the doorbell again and handed her his business card and stated, "Lady if you are ever looking for work, give me a call. You're hired!" She closed the motel in 1995, after a brutal attack on her life in an armed robbery. She survived that attack and went into retirement. In her retirement years, she and Carlo brought a camp in Lowell for the family. They enjoyed the peace and tranquility it gave them. She was predeceased by her mother and father; her husband, Carlo in 2010; her favorite sister-in-law, Valentina in 1982; and many friends, including her childhood friend, Assunta, age eight, whom she never forgot. She is survived by her daughter, Barbara and husband, Ron Klein; son, Sergio and wife, Anne (Cross) Tognelli; beloved grandchildren, Anthony Carlo and Jessica Elizabeth; close family friends, Beverly Hayden and Ruth Ellen O'Connell; her trusted companion, "Clifford," her beagle that never left her side; her little friends, Belle and Neve, and parents, Abby and Joel, who came to visit often; dear friend, Sister Mary from St. Mark's; three sisters, Maria DiBernardo (Modena, Italy), Helena Gerbasi and husband, Michael, and Martina Lenarduzzi; brother, Gianni Pedetti of Montreal, Canada; and many nieces, nephews and friends, both here and abroad, that will mourn her loss. Today, the bells will toll for her in Veglio D'Intelvi, Italy, and she will be reunited with Carlo and those that went before her, and knowing Carlo and Carmen, they will keep a watchful eye on those they left behind and will prepare a place for them to all be together again when they pass into eternal life. The family would like to express a very special thanks to the Cancer Team at Fletcher Allen, VNA Hospice Team, the ER Team, 911 Ambulance crews, Birchwood Terrace Health Care Rehab, all the wonderful nurses, LNAs, schedulers, dieticians and housekeepers, Dr. Eugene Moore, Dr. Steve Ades, Janet Ehly, NP, and Betsy from Hospice, for all the support, kindness, compassion and excellent care given to Carmen. Also, to her son-in-law, Ron Klein, who became quite the caregiver on weekends and on evenings when Barb had to work, and to her daughter-in-law, Anne Tognelli, who helped with transportation and numerous hospital visits. Carmen often said she had hit the jackpot with her son-in-law and daughter-in-law and felt blessed to have them in the family. And, to all the friends who offered their love and support, caring, and their precious time, with special mention to Beverly Hayden, Ruth O'Connell, Maurice Prendergast and Cathy O'Neill to help Carmen and family during a very difficult time. "You have all earned your wings!" A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Friday, Nov. 2, 2012, at 11 a.m. in Holy Cross Catholic Church in Colchester. Interment will follow in Holy Cross Cemetery. There will be no visiting hours. Arrangements are with LaVigne Funeral Home, 132 Main St. in Winooski. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Oncology Dept. at Fletcher Allen Health Care, 111 Colchester Ave., Burlington, VT 05401; Birchwood Terrace Residents Fund, 43 Starr Farm Road, Burlington, VT 05408; or Holy Cross Catholic Church, 416 Church Road, Colchester, VT 05446.


Published in The Burlington Free Press on Oct. 28, 2012
- ADVERTISEMENT -