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Adele and JohnAdele Marie Gephart
90, of Dover, Ohio, passed away on Wednesday, Feb. 13 after a brief illness. Born Feb. 10, 1923, in Modena, Italy she was the only child of Bruno and Desolina Panini. Modena is located on the south side of the fertile Po River Valley in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy and is 30 miles west of Bologna and 75 miles NW of Florence. It is the home of balsamic vinegar, tortellini, lambrusco wine, Ferrari, and Pavarotti. The Panini family lived within the city of Modena and Adele's father, Bruno was a master machinist. During World War I he served as a mechanic in Italy's Air Corps maintained their fighter planes on the Alpine Front vs the Austrians. Adele's mother was a Matioli who lived on a farm in the rural outskirts of the city who to this day conduct a very successful family farm. After graduating from school Adele worked as a professionally trained seamstress in an exclusive woman's clothing store in Modena. During World War II the Germans occupied Modena as the Allies pushed north and Modena was bombed by the US Army Air Corps. As the Germans were driven out and the Americans occupied Modena they were in turn bombed by the German Luftwaffe. Adele described the terror of experiencing those bombing raids as a young girl and the sense of helplessness she felt as the bombs whistled and exploded overhead. During the American occupation by the US 5th Army she met her future husband, John H. Gephart of Dover who occasionally served as his battalion's interpreter having learned Italian from his Italian buddies in Dover before the war. The couple fell in love and after the war and a long correspondence she left her parents and travelled to America where she married John on Aug. 9, 1947, at Sacred Heart in New Philadelphia. The couple took up residence in a small home which John built himself next to his brother, Frank Jr. in Goshen, Ohio. John had been trained as a stone mason and bricklayer by his father, Frank Sr. The couple's first child, John Bruno, was stillborn. Son, John F. was born in 1949 with daughter, Charlotte born in 1952. Adele's parents left Italy to live with their daughter and new grandchildren in 1953. Bruno took a position as the head machinist for Riverview Welding on New Philadelphia's South Side and Desolina helped Adele raise the kids and maintain a very large garden. Italian families all had some sort of garden both for frugality as well as for the satisfaction and pleasure derived from eating fresh fruits and vegetables and a love of gardening was instilled in Adele by her parents. In 1965 Adele's parents returned to Italy to live out their retirement years. John and Adele moved their family to Dover in 1968 when John became Dover's Building Inspector and they became parishioners of Dover Saint Joseph Catholic Church. In the 1970s with both children out of college Adele worked outside the home at the Nichols Snack Bar in Dover where her love of people and conversation is remembered by many to this day. In 1977 after Adele's father Bruno passed away she travelled to Italy to bring her mother back to Dover to live with her and John. Desolina passed away in 1985 and her husband, John in 2002. After John's death Adele continued to live in their home in Dover. She was fiercely independent and did not wish to be a burden on anyone, In addition her large garden - referred to lovingly by her as "her little farm" served to uplift her spirits and tie her to her past. Adele and John had many friends during their life with many from Tuscarawas County's Italian-American community. Adele was an active member of St. Joseph's as well as the Secular Order of Franciscans. After John's death while adapting to living alone she particularly enjoyed the friendships and kindness of Ann Lusic and her family, Florence Keplinger, Alex Tsantis, Annette Cookson, as well as the Krocker family and their staff at Krocker's Lawn and Garden. Our apologies to her many wonderful friends whom we have failed to mention who we are sure she would have recognized. As for Adele, however, everyone she met was a friend. God bless you Mom - we miss you dearly..
Adele is survived by her son, John Jr. of Fairfield, Ohio and daughter, Charlotte (Bruce) Weigand of North Canton, Ohio; grandchildren, Brendan (Andrea) Weigand of Phillipsburg, Ohio, Paul (Anne) Weigand of North Canton, Ohio, Jessica Weigand (fiance, Dan Howiler) of Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, and John Gephart III of Fairfield, Ohio; great-grandchildren, Benjamin, Eva Marie, Sawyer, and Adriana; and brother-in-law, Russell (Laverne) Gephart of Pittsburgh.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Dover on Saturday, Feb. 23, 2013 at 1 p.m. with Father Matt Hoover officiating. Interment will take place at St. Joseph Calvary Cemetery in Dover. Following the service of committal a meal will be served at St. Joseph Family Life Center. Friends are invited to call at the Toland-Herzig Funeral Home & Crematory in Dover on Saturday from 10:30-12:45 p.m.Those unable to attend, or who would like to share a fond memory of Adele may do so by visiting the "Obituaries & Flowers" link on the funeral home's website. Memorial contributions may be made to the Tuscarawas County Senior Center of Dover, and the Tuscarawas Central Catholic High School of New Philadelphia.
Published in The Times Reporter on Feb. 22, 2013