The family of Michael (Mike) Garofalo, aged 80, are deeply saddened to announce his sudden passing on February 6th, 2019 at the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre surrounded by his loving family.
Mike was a man adored by all for his fun-loving nature and generous heart, which was experienced by those who knew him, especially his daughters, grandchildren and all his many nieces & nephews. Mike was born in 1938 the youngest of six siblings in Rogliano, Cosenza Italy, to his father Santo and mother Erfida. Mike was forever the “baby” of his family and lovingly protected by all his siblings but especially his sisters Pierina, Mary and his brother Paul, who he shared a special bond. It was Paul who forged the path to Canada and in 1956 Mike immigrated here as well, starting work in labour camps to earn enough money to move his mother and other siblings to the new world. It was on Crown Street in Thunder Bay, Ontario that Mike’s life would forever be changed for the better when he saw his beautiful future wife Nicolina (Nicky) Bava walking to work at St. Joseph Hospital. Mike knew instantly this was the love of his life and he and Nicky were married at St. Anthony’s Church in 1958. Together they had three daughters Alfie, RoseMarie & Bianca who were the absolute joy of his life. Mike worked at numerous jobs over his career but perhaps his happiest days were spent as a barber with his brother Paul at Garofalo’s Barbershop. In his later years he worked at Abitibi Papermill, but would often visit the Barbershop for a brandy, a conversation and of-course, a haircut.
Mike was most happy at family celebrations where he would enjoy his food and wine, and if there was enough wine, he would break into ‘O Solo Mio or some rendition of Italian Opera with his brother Paul and brother-in-law Carmen. As the years went on, the birth of his four grandchildren Sierra, Jack, Luke & Charlie, added a new found joy to his life. “Nonnu”, as he was affectionately called, was often seen carrying one of the kids on his shoulders or taking them for an ice cream or treat at the corner store.
Also in his later years Mike was lucky enough to finally travel, a luxury he wasn’t able to experience often when raising his three children. With RoseMarie & Gino he visited Florida many times, even driving there twice and getting to see stops along the way. With Bianca & Britten he travelled to Miami & New York, a city of great excitement to him. These were wonderful memories he recounted many times over the years.
Mike will be lovingly remembered always by daughters, RoseMarie (Gino) Mancusa, Bianca (Britten) Barten, four grandchildren, Sierra, Luke, Jack and Charlie and numerous nieces, nephews, relatives and friends. Mike was predeceased by his loving wife Nicky, daughter Alfie, father Santo, mother Erfida, brothers Tony and Paul and sisters Stella Gualtieri, Pierina Garofalo and Mary Frasca, sisters-in-law Domenica Bava, Rita Garofalo and Rosina Bava, brothers-in-law Carmen Garofalo, Gregory & Raffaele Bava and Perry Frasca and nephew Bruno Nardi.
Services will be held on Tuesday, February 12, 2019 leaving the Harbourview Funeral Centre to Corpus Christi Church where the Funeral Mass will be celebrated by Rev. Victor De Gagne beginning at 10:30 a.m. Family entombment will follow in Our Lady of Charity Mausoleum, St. Andrew’s Cemetery. Visitation will be held on Monday evening from 6:00 until 8:00 p.m. in the Chapel of Harbourview Funeral Centre where the Vigil Service will begin at 7:00 p.m.
If friends so desire, donations may be made in Mike’s memory to the Canadian Mental Health Association-Thunder Bay.