November 26, 1919 - December 27, 2021
Carmelo Salvatore Vergori
November 26, 1919 – December 27, 2021
Carmelo Salvatore Vergori, 102, of Happy Valley, devoted husband, father, grandfather made great and greater, uncle, cousin and friend to many, passed peacefully into eternity in his home while holding hands with his beloved wife on Monday, December 27th, 2021 at 11:45 a.m.
Carmelo was born the fourth child of the late Giovanni Vergori and Lucia Manca-Vergori in Arnesano, Lecce, Italy on Wednesday, November 26th, 1919.
Carmelo served as a sergeant in the Balkans with Royal Italian Army during World War II. In September of 1943, following the Italian Armistice with the Allied Forces, his unit was captured by the Nazis and deported to Germany to be held at a military internment work camp in the town of Eisenach. There, while inadequately fed and clothed for the harsh German winter, he and his company were forced into labor constructing railroad ties for the Nazi war industry. It was during this time that he met and fell in love with an overseer, Maria Konfederatenko, a tough yet lovely young Russian-German engineer whose family had been raided and taken from their home in Russia by the Nazis.
When the war ended, they were liberated by the Allies and returned to Italy where they married and had two children; Renato and Agnese. In July of 1959, Carmelo and his family immigrated to America aboard the S.S. Independence and were naturalized as American citizens. After three years in Brooklyn, NY, the Vergori family decided to join Maria’s relatives living in Portland, OR. Carmelo worked as an electric welder in the architectural and structural metals manufacturing industry at Western Wire Works, Inc. while Maria served as a draftswoman for the Army Corps of Engineers. On August 6th, 1980, following a brief battle with cancer, Maria died in Carmelo’s arms at the age of 58.
Grief eventually gave way to new love when he met and married his second wife, the beautiful and talented artist, Maria Grace Raffaele. They were residents of Happy Valley, OR until his passing.
Carmelo had a passion for international travel, music (especially Luciano Pavarotti), cooking and enjoying good food, fine wines, espresso and milk chocolate. Most notably, he was known for his prolific green thumb. He could often be found tending his exquisitely manicured, award-winning garden. His “Romanesque” garden was highlighted in the Oregonian and featured pillars, statues, an herb bed, a variety of beans, tomatoes, fig and pear trees, berries, trellised grape vine tunnel, monster zucchinis and of course, sweet smelling roses of every color.
Carmelo loved spending quality time with his wife, dogs, family and friends. He will be remembered for his cheerful generosity and his ability to bring everyone together for delicious home-cooked Italian dinners and much anticipated annual parties.
In addition to his parents and first wife, Carmelo is preceded in death by his only son Renato Vergori, great grandson Aiden Vergori, brothers Oronzo, Antonio, Giuseppe, Benito and Fiorino Vergori and sisters Concetta, Armonia and Lucia Vergori.
He is survived by his wife and companion of 41 years, Maria “Mary” Raffaele-Vergori, daughter Agnese Manca (Gabrielle), grandsons Cipriano Manca (Isabella), Michael Manca (Ashe), David Manca (Sabrina), Andrea Manca and Tim Vergori (Jamie), granddaughter Christina Vergori as well as 6 great grandchildren, 3 great great grandchildren and many dear nephews, nieces, great cousins and friends.
Carmelo fostered many generations, living to see the birth of three great great grandsons! He leaves behind a good name and a legacy of loving family members to carry it forward. He will be deeply missed.
“Carve your name on hearts, not tombstones. A legacy is etched into the minds of others and the stories they share about you.” — Shannon Alder