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Minnie D'Aprile

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D'APRILE, Minnie M. (Van Ditto) (Age 88) Beloved mother, grandmother, aunt, sister and dear friend passed away peacefully at home, with family by her side, September 18, 2010 from complications due to congestive heart failure. Born in Spokane on January 18, 1922 to Tony and Phyllis Van Ditto, she was one of nine children in a large Italian family. While Minnie lived most of her life in Spokane, many of her younger years were spent living in Kellogg, Idaho. One of Minnie's fondest memories while living in Kellogg was winning the Miss Sunnyside beauty contest at the Miner's Picnic in 1937. She worked at varied and interesting jobs throughout her life including the Providence Hospital in Wallace, ID, the Galena Aircraft Maintenance & Supply Depot during WWII (which later became Fairchild Air Force Base), Commellini's Italian Restaurant, The Davenport Hotel, the Ken Bush Co., and Montgomery Ward's. But her most cherished memory was when she and her brothers Angelo and Frankie owned and operated The Little Red Brick Tavern together, which was a little Italian restaurant in downtown Spokane in the late 1940's. Minnie was married (and later divorced) to Phillip Bryant with whom she had her first daughter, Phyllis Bryant. She later married Giglio "Gene" D'Aprile from Brindisi, Italy and had two more children, Tony and Vicki D'Aprile. She was tragically widowed at a very young age when Giglio died from a heart attack at age 31. While Minnie's outer beauty was quite apparent, her true beauty was reflected in her love of animals, the outdoors and a heart that responded to suffering with deep compassion. She could enjoy being a very feisty and entertaining center of attention, but was more frequently drawn to the quiet solitude that could be found by simply being somewhere in nature or holding one of the beloved family dogs. She was a colorful and creative character whose stories were never boring. If you wanted to be her friend, you'd better come equipped with a great sense of humor and an appreciation for her particular style of embellishing. She loved fishing, picking wild mushrooms, growing pansies, the thrill of the first buttercup every spring, watching Mariners baseball, Gonzaga Bulldogs basketball, and crocheting hats and scarves for everyone she knew including the homeless. However, true to the nature of being an Italian mom, her greatest love was cooking. She suffered greatly if you left her home without eating something. And it was a crisis of epic proportions if she ever found herself out of olive oil or stewed tomatoes! Minnie is survived by her daughters, Phyllis (Bryant) Massie, Vicki (Terry) Soderberg; son, Tony D'Aprile; as well as more than 30 grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren; numerous nieces and nephews; and her beloved "grand-dog", Sam. She is preceded in death by her husband, Giglio "Gene" D'Aprile; parents, Tony and Phyllis Van Ditto; sisters, Mary Hester and Philomena Van Ditto; brothers, Biaz, Chuck, Paul, Johnny, Angelo, and Frankie; her beloved son-in-law, Vern Massie; and great-grandson Davey Kubas. It is difficult for our family to adequately express the deep gratitude we hold in our hearts for the people in our Mom's life that helped care for her in these last years. The staff and friends at Lilac Plaza Retirement (especially Mabel Hummel and the beloved late Delores Schmidt) where mom lived for most of the last 17 years, her dearest care giver Fran (who was gifted at knowing how to "just roll" with Mom), her life-long friend Rose (Faraca) Parcher who always left Mom in stitches, the unbelievably awesome staff from the Holy Family Anti-Coagulation Clinic (especially Andrea and Kai), the blessed staff from Hospice of Spokane who allowed us to care for Mom with the utmost dignity, respect, comfort and love. As much as we would love to celebrate her life, at her request there will be no service. If you would like to honor Minnie, in lieu of flowers, please consider memorial donations to an animal shelter of your choice or to the miracle workers at Hospice of Spokane. "One sees clearly only with the heartanything essential is invisible to the eyes." Antoine De Saint-Exupery - The Little Prince. Your truly essential beauty, Mom, will live inside our hearts forever.


Published in Spokesman-Review from Sept. 22 to Sept. 27, 2010
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