SIA Member Richard Barsetti Passes Away

Photo of Richard Barsetti

Richard Barsetti

SIA member Richard J. Barsetti, 60, unexpectedly passed away on Saturday, January 15, 2011.

He was born August 26, 1950 in Des Moines, to Lawrence and Daisy Barsetti. Richard graduated from Dowling Catholic High School and later went on to follow the family tradition as a cement mason. He was currently employed at Speck USA, and had previously worked for Weitz, Taylor Ball, and Design Builders. Richard married the love of his life Mari Lynn Anderson of State Center, Iowa on March 22, 1980. He was well known for his sense of humor, his contagious giggle, and his deep love for his family, friends and God. Richard was also a  member of Operating Plasterers and Cement Masons Local 21.

Richard is survived by his wife of 30 years, Mari Lynn; daughter, Rikki Lynn of Des Moines; his son, John and Becca Barsetti and grandson, Bryce and soon to be Baby Barsetti of Geilenkirchen, Germany; sisters: Marilyn Agey, Joann Smith, Judy Swartzbaugh, and Mary Jo (Dave) Barsetti Nerland; sister-in-law, Susanna Barsetti; brother-in-law, George Malsam; his twin brother, Robert (Kathy) Barsetti; brothers: Joe (Rita), David (Joy), and Pete (Linda) Mazza; honorary sister, Sandy Patterson; honorary brother, Scott Stacy; as well as a host of beloved nieces, nephews, family and friends.

Richard was preceded in death by his parents; brother, Larry; and sister, Carolyn Malsam.

Our club expresses our sincere condolences to the Barsetti family.

SIA Christmas Party Photos

On December 18, 2010, the SIA and Auxiliary held their annual Christmas party at the club hall.  There was a great turnout again this year.  Thanks to the Gentosi family for providing their homemade wine at the event!  The following day, Santa made a visit to the club hall to visit with all the children.

Below are some pictures from the party and Santa’s visit, courtesy of Lisa Vivone Cruchelow.  If you have any other photos to share, please email them to jeff@siadm.com.

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SIA Members Attend Dinner with Culture

On Sunday, November 7, 2010, several members of the Society of Italian Americans and auxiliary attended a “Dinner with Culture” event at the Italian American Cultural Center of Iowa. A presentation on Christmas in Italy was presented by the cultural center, folowed by a delicious dinner prepared by Tony Lemmo of Cafe di Scala. Below are photos from the event.

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SIA Member Joe Tursi will be Missed

Longtime Society of Italian Americans member Joe Tursi passed away on February 17, 2010.  Joe was a former president of the Stemma D’Italia and helped found the Society of Italian Americans when the Stemma D’Italia merged with the Club of Italian Americans.  Joe, who was born in Terravecchia, Italy, was proud of his Italian heritage and shared his love of Italian culture with fellow club members and non-Italians.  Joe will be deeply missed by all of us in the club.   The following is taken from Joe’s obituary. 

Joseph S. Tursi was born in Terravecchia, Italy on November 8th, 1921 to Francesco and Carmela Tursi. When he was eight years old he immigrated to the United States. In 1937 his father bought Park Ave. Shoe Repair, which Joe operated while attending and graduating from Lincoln High School. In 1942 he hung up his apron and volunteered for the Army Air Corps, in which he served honorably in England during World War II. After returning to the U.S., he married Sarah Fazio on January 8th, 1950 at St. Anthony’s Catholic Church and loved her for more than sixty years. In 1952, with his brother Paul, Joe expanded Park Ave. Shoe Repair into Tursi’s Clothing, which in the mid – 70’s was one of the largest privately owned clothing stores in the Midwest. Joe owned and operated the clothing store for over 40 years. After retiring he stayed active by constantly volunteering and by working with his son at the Latin King Restaurant. He hugged every lady who walked in the door and cleared tables faster than any teen-aged bus boy up until December of 2008. Joe loved interacting with people and had to be on the move. Even in his last days, he refused to use a wheel chair.  Joe passed from this life on Wednesday, February 17, 2010 at Mercy Hospice in Johnston at the age of 88. A Mass of Christian Burial was held at 10 a.m. Monday, February 22, at St. Anthony’s Catholic Church where he was a lifelong member. Burial followed at Glendale Cemetery.  Visitation was held at Hamilton’s Southtown Funeral Home on Sunday, February 21st from 2-7 pm with the family present from 2-4 pm and from 5:30-7 pm. A Bellizzi MacRae American Legion service took place at 5:30pm, followed by the Society of Italian Americans and a rosary service.

His life was guided by a few simple philosophies: Always be a gentleman; never go to sleep mad at the ones you love; family first; and why make one girl miserable when you can make them all happy? The latter was a guiding force only during his earlier years and was preached to his grandsons during rough patches of adolescent relationships. While these philosophies were simple, they led Joe to accomplish many things. Joe is the former President of the Stemma D’Italia; he started the Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts of St. Anthony’s; he belonged to the Build Lincoln Higher Club; he sat on the Board of Brenton Bank and on the Board of Health for the State of Iowa. He helped to found the Society of Italian Americans, was a member of the Knights of Columbus, started the Columbus Day Dinner Celebration, and honored his roots by collecting donations for an annual celebration in his hometown of Terravecchia and it’s parish, San Pietro in Vincoli. He was active in the American Legion, the Fleur Nursing Home, the Isaac Walton League, St. Anthony’s Church, and was always ready to lend a hand to anyone who needed it.

If asked, Joe would have said that his greatest pleasure was his family. Left to always honor his memory are his wife, Sarah; his daughter, Carmela (Robert) Hobbins, grandchildren, Brian, Patrick (Jeannie), Teddy, and great granddaughter, Lilly Hobbins; his son Frank (Molly), his grandchildren, Joe, Katie (Chul) Lee, Bridget, Jenna, Anna, and his great granddaughter, Mia Sun Lee; his son, Joe (Joan) and grandchildren, Kristina (Aaron) Anderson, Tony and David; his son, Bob (Amy), and grandchildren, Gina and RJ, brother, Paul (Darlene), and special cousins, Pete, Mary, and Dale Tursi, who were all fortunate enough to have shared in Joe’s life.

The lessons he left his family are basic but invaluable: Love one another; love your spouse; help others; and don’t complain. He showed us how in the way he treated us, in his relationship with Sarah, by the countless people he readily assisted, and by responding, “Not bad, not bad,” when asked how he was doing on the day he died. With his quiet confidence and consistently optimistic outlook on life, he was the greatest role model a family could have. He was an inspiration throughout his life and will continue to be in death.  Memorial contributions may be given to the St. Anthony’s Church Foundation.  Online condolences may be made to www.hamiltonsfuneralhome.com.

2010 Christmas Dinner and Children’s Party a Huge Success

This year’s  annual Christmas Dinner and Children’s Christmas party were both very well attended and offered a great time to all.  After some conversation and wine, guests were  were treated to a wonderful meal co-prepared by Noodle’s  and Tumea and Sons restaurants.  Dinner was followed by a fun-filled program, including the annual 12 Days of Italian Christmas.  Finally, prizes were handed out and nobody left empty-handed.  The next day, Santa paid a visit to the SIA Hall, much to the delight of all the children.    Below are some photos from both events.






SIA Announces Scholarship Winners

President John Tyler announces the scholarship winners at the SIA meeting on Sept 13, 2009.  (Photo by Carl Loffredo)

President John Tyler announces the scholarship winners at the SIA meeting on Sept 13, 2009. (Photo by Carl Loffredo)

The SIA (Society of Italian Americans) held its monthly meeting Sunday evening, September 13.  John Tyler; President, announced $1,000 scholarships had been awarded to two young women from Des Moines.
 
Becky Citarelli, daughter of Richard & Ann Citarelli is a senior at the Art Institute of Colorado in Denver.
 
Olivia Tison, daughter of Brad & Jeannie Tison and grand daughter of Pete & Gert Tursi, begins classes at St. Benedict’s in St. Joseph, Minnesota.
 
The SIA Auxiliary also contibuted towards the scholarship fund.

SIA Announces Bocce Ball Tournament

SIA Bocce TournamentThe Society of Italian American will be hosting a  two-day bocce ball tournament  at  “The Bocce Dome”, located behind the club’s building at 1801 SW McKinley  in Des Moines,IA.  The two-person team tournament begins on Friday, October 9th at 6:00 pm and continues on Saturday, October 10th from 1:00 pm until finished.  The entry fee is $60 per team.  Everyone is eligible to play.  Prizes will be offered, as well as food and drink.  The TV will be on in the club’s hall for watching the football games.  Call  515-285-5706  or  491-4634 for more information.

2009 Festa Italiana Photos

The 2009 Festa Italiana was a great success.  Here were some of the highlights:

Queen Contest:

2009 Festa Italiana Queen Chelsea Ceretti

2009 Festa Italiana Queen Chelsea Ceretti

Queen:  Chelsea Ceretti
1st Runner-up: Elizabeth Bevilacqua
2nd Runner-up: Christine Brewer
Best Sauce Contest:

Judges sample the Best Sauce Contest entries

Judges sample the Best Sauce Contest entries

Winners of the Best Sauce Contest

Winners of the Best Sauce Contest

Best Sauce Contest results:
Winner” Lou Ann Lemmo
Second Place: Doug Gruver
Third Place: Tony Lemmo
Pizza Eating Contest:

Pizza Eating Contest

Pizza Eating Contest

Pizza Eating Contest Winners

Pizza Eating Contest Winners

Pizza Eating Contest Results:
Winner Frank Funaro
Second Place: Joey Cardamon
Third Place: Collin Schiltz

Italian Folk Dancing:

Ragazzi (children) dancers of Gruppo Il Trattenimento Italian perform

Ragazzi (children) dancers of Gruppo Il Trattenimento Italian perform

Adult dancers of Gruppo Il Trattgenimento choose partners from the audience to dance the Tarantella Napolitana.

Adult dancers of Gruppo Il Trattgenimento choose partners from the audience to dance the Tarantella Napolitana.

Entertainment:

Aaron Caruso serenades a young audience member.

Aaron Caruso serenades a young audience member.

Gina Severino Gedler performs.

Gina Severino Gedler performs.

Other Photos:

A large crowd watches the bocce tournament.

A large crowd watches the bocce tournament.

SIA President John Marturello Tyler introduces his mother to the audience.

SIA President John Marturello Tyler introduces his mother to the audience.

Members of the SIA selling sausage and meatball sandwiches.

Members of the SIA selling sausage and meatball sandwiches.

For more photos from the 2009 Festa Italiana, click here.

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Welcome!

sia_logo_cleanWelcome to the newly redesigned website of the Society of Italian-Americans of Des Moines, Iowa!  Our club has roots dating back to 1898 and we are still going strong with over 240 members.   The purpose of our society can best be described as it was in the Des Moines  Italian-American newspaper almost 80 years ago:

“Some thirty-two years ago, a Sunday in April to be exact, a group of Italian men gathered together at one of the homes to discuss the possibility of organizing a society that would benefit both them and their families.  There were hundreds of American organizations doing benevolent and charitable work, but these Italians hesitated to join because of their difficulty with the American language.  Timidity held back those who could speak English.  It was important, then, that this mass of foreign speaking, but American thinking individuals should band together and form an organization that would serve as an outlet for the charitable impulse and at the same time create for them a social atmosphere that would make their lives in their adopted country more important, pleasant and profitable.”The American Citizen, August 22, 1930

One hundred and eleven years later, our society now consists of not only some original Italian immigrants, but 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and even 4th-generation Italian-Americans who still band together in a social atmosphere to support each other, improve our community, and preserve our precious Italian heritage.  Through strong leadership and the continued activism of our members, we plan on being around for another 111 years.