Obituary of Lilia Elizabeth Curti Giacomazzi
Lilia Elizabeth Curti Giacomazzi was born on July 23, 1913, to parents Miro and Domenica (Raviscioni) Curti in Fresno, California. She passed away peacefully at her home at the age of 105.4 on Saturday, December 22, 2018.
She was the first-born child of her parents who immigrated from Albonico, a small town in the Northern Italian Alps. Her siblings included: Amelio, Elvira, Italo & Leo. At the age of six, Lilia became a student at Waukena Union Grammar School. Not knowing the English language, she remembered the first word she learned at school was “pencil.”
Lilia’s door was always open to guests and known to many as “The Casa de Tutti” (“House for All” in Italian). On many occasions, her home was turned into a “bed and breakfast” for tired travelers from around the world; she always seemed to find something to whip up to feed them. Some of these guests have become loyal friends to her remembering her kind & generous hospitality.
She travelled extensively. One of her favorite family trips was a voyage to Hawaii on the cruise ship, USS Lurline. At age 87, Lilia returned to Italy and Switzerland to visit family. While in Rome, Lilia was honored to receive a special blessing from Pope John Paul II.
Until about 35 years ago, Lilia was bookkeeper for Fred & Don Giacomazzi Farms. When a computer was added to the office, Lilia did not want any part of that technology, so she gave up those duties for playing cards with her friends & enjoying life.
A 1927 Tulare Union High School graduate, Lilia loved sports, especially basketball and baseball. As her parents were dairy farmers, she helped with chores on their farm, enjoying the farm life, flowers & nature around her. On July 12, 1936, she married Fred Giacomazzi in Waukena, California; the couple made front page headline news in the Hanford Sentinel.
Her two children, Donald(1937) & Patricia (1940) were the highlights of her life!
While they were students at Willow Grove & Thomas McCarthy grammar schools, Lilia was a member of the Mother Club, serving as room mother as well as president. Very active in the PTA at Hanford High School, she served as president and was awarded a lifetime membership. As a 10 year community leader in 4-H, she inspired many Kings County 4-Hers to learn to cook, sew and garden.
Her love of gardening brought her to help establish the LaCasa Garden Club. A 65-year charter member, she was a past president & a life member of the California Garden Clubs. She chaired many flower shows & luncheons. Until two years ago, Lilia helped with the Floriculture Building at the Kings Fair. A true environmentalist, to this day, she would not allow chemicals to be used as weed control in her garden!
Lilia was a past president & member of the Kings County Dairywomen for over 50 years; until just recently, she held the office of “inspirational chairperson”. She was also past president of the Western United Dairywomen of California, & a past member of the June Dairy Month Committee. She & her husband, Fred, were selected Kings County Dairy Family in 1962 & she was selected Distinguished Dairywoman in 2001/2002 & 2018/2019. Lilia was honored with the Kings County Farm Bureau’s President’s Award in 2015.
For over 80 years, Lilia has been an active member of the Hanford Sons of Italy Lodge, having held offices at the local & state levels. Lilia was also State Deputy for the Roma Lodge in Tulare until her passing & held the title of “Special Deputy” in the United Lodges of the San Joaquin Valley.
Lilia served on the 1968 Kings County Grand Jury. She was a charter & life member of the Sacred Heart/Central Valley Hospital Auxiliary & received the Willard Bridwell Humanitarian Award. Other community activities included: Kings County Republican Federated Women, the Kings County Historical Society, the American Theater Organ Society, Kings Symphony Orchestra & the Young Ladies Institute.
She was selected Distinguished Citizen of the Year in 1992 & reigned as 1998 Kings County Homecoming Queen. In 2000, Lilia received the Common Threads Award for women in agriculture & was recently honored with their Tapestry Award.
On Valentine’s Day of 2018, Lilia received a surprise visit from Secretary of Agriculture, Sonny Perdue, as he visited our Valley. He learned that the matriarch of the Giacomazzi family was soon to celebrate her 105th birthday. Along with his secret service agents, Secretary Perdue checked out the almond orchards, the dairy farm & then paid her a visit. She was quite pleased when he asked to have his picture taken with her.
Lilia’s family was so happy that she was able to enjoy her life to the fullest by being able to celebrate her 105th birthday in July, as well as the 125th anniversary of the Giacomazzi Dairy in November. At Thanksgiving dinner she was able to give her special blessing, then complete the day by joining her family in a dice game. “Nonna” (grandmother in Italian) was an inspiration to all. Her favorite song was “You Are My Sunshine.” Her great-grandchildren sang the chorus to her at each family gathering & she would join in with delight. She will be dearly missed; but, her legacy will live on & she will be in our hearts forever. Possa riposare in pace! (May she rest in peace).
Lilia is survived by her daughter, Patricia Broemmel; daughter-in-law, Jackie Giacomazzi; grandchildren: Gina Hageboeck, Dino & (Julie) Giacomazzi, Cara & (Mark) Fernandez, Mia Giacomazzi & ( Nagendra CuddalorePatta), Jason Broemmel & (Jessica Gensley)& Patrick Broemmel; great-grandchildren: Gianna & Giulia Fernandez; Hanna & Christina Hageboeck; Miro & Gio Giacomazzi; Lilianna & Bodhi CuddalorePatta; many nieces, nephews, cousins and friends; & her special “family members,” her loving caregivers: Gloria Vasquez, Jennie Hernandez, Roselle Martinez, Avelina Hernandez & her daughters, Anabelle & Yadira.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Fred; son, Donald; parents, Miro and Domenica Curti; grandson, Scott Broemmel; & siblings, Amelio, Italo, & Leo Curti & Elvira Curti Ghigo.
Visitation will begin at 4:30 p.m. on Sunday, January 13, 2019, at St. Brigid Catholic Church, 1001 North Douty Street, Hanford with Rosary to follow at 6:00 p.m.
Mass of Christian Burial will be held Monday, January 14 at 11:00 a.m. at St. Brigid Catholic Church. In lieu of flowers, friends may contribute to the Hanford Sons of Italy Memorial Scholarship Fund, ℅ Hanford Sons of Italy, P.O. Box 1543, Hanford, CA. 93232, La Casa Garden Club (c/o Mary Johnston, 394 W. Fargo Avenue, Hanford) or to one’s favorite charity.
Arrangements are under the direction of the Whitehurst-McNamara Funeral Home.