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Giuseppe DiRenzo of Gambatesa, Italy, and Camden, New Jersey, (1876-1943)

Giuseppe DiRenzo was the father of Nunziata DiRenzo, and the husband of Maria Vittoria d'Alessandro. His final voyage to America was 28 April 1910 to 11 May 1910 (Philadelphia, SS Verona), and he became a citizen of the United States of America on 28 September 1925.

Giuseppe DiRenzo in 1939, 35 KB

The photograph above shows Giuseppe DiRenzo in 1939 in the backyard of his house at 336 Beckett Street, Camden. Note the raised garden beds to his left and right, and the trellis in the background on which he grew grapes. The hoe he is carrying is similar to tools that are used in Gambatesa, where farmers worked their fields by hand. The children in the back are (left to right): Jenny Orsini, Vittoria Donata Valente (born 1925, face hidden), and Carmelina Estera Valente (1930-1994). This photograph is stamped as having been printed on 20 May 1939.

Giuseppe DiRenzo in 1920, 15 KB

The lower photograph is from 1920, when Giuseppe DiRenzo's daughters Pasqualina and Assunta arrived in Camden from Gambatesa. (The original photograph is very grainy.)

Family Stories

Vittoria Valente described her grandfather Giuseppe DiRenzo as quiet and nice; she remembers he liked to grow things, tomatoes, in his backyard. Though she saw him every day for seventeen years, she can't remember ever hearing him speak English. Unlike her own father, the bread baker, Giuseppe worked days rather than nights. When Giuseppe and his wife vacationed in Atlantic City, he used to take the train home every night and then take the train back each morning. He had a mustache. Vittoria didn't seem to remember anything else.

Nicholas Valente said that his grandfather Giuseppe died of an illness similar to the black lung disease coal miners get -- an illness Giuseppe got from working as a laborer at Public Service Gas & Electric's coke (a coal product used in making steel) plant (see Kaighns Point on the Delaware River on the 1935 Map of the City of Camden). Uncle Nick called his grandfather a placid, easy-going man who had a lot of aggravation from his wife.

Nicholas remembered that his grandfather always treated him as if he were special. He used to hold the boy's hand when they walked down the street (the way Nicholas's father Giovanni Valente used to hold his grandchildren's hand).

Vittoria thought that her grandfather died of stomach cancer, although no one mentioned the word "cancer" in those days. In all the years that Giuseppe and his wife were in America they never once went to the hospital. Many of the older Italians were terrified of hospitals.

Lydia Valente said that her grandfather (Giuseppe DiRenzo) liked to grow pansies in his back garden, and he used to give a flower to the children, that is, to each the child, and say, "See the happy face. You be happy too." He wanted them to be happy. Lydia said her father (Giovanni Valente) wanted them to be happy too. Lydia said that she liked her grandfather Giuseppe a lot.

Lydia didn't really know who her brother Nicholas was when he came to live with them, because he (and his brother Louis) had always lived with their grandparents for many years. She thinks he didn't really like his grandmother (Maria Vittoria d'Alessandro). Lydia remembers that her grandmother, if she gave the children a banana -- she might have a bunch of bananas on the table -- but she would only take one banana and cut it in half if there were two children or cut it in three parts if there were three. That was the way she was.

The URL of this page: https://www.roangelo.net/valente/giuseppe.html
Last revised: 10 January 2011 : 2011-01-10 Robert [Wesley] Angelo.

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