By Gordon W. Clozza
father was born on September 30, 1910, at Varmo, Udine, Italy to
Gugliemo and Marie (Della Rossa) Clozza. He had three sisters,
and the oldest, Rosalia, came to live in Newcastle (Drumheller),
Alberta, with her husband Verginio. They had three childrenOrfeo,
Nello and Leanna. Verginio was ill and spent most of his
remaining years in a hospital. At the age of 17 (1927), my
Father came to live with his older sister. He was like a father
to her children for a number of years. He arrived in Newcastle
in November and was met by extreme cold and lots of snow. From
the train station, he found their residence with the assistance
of a taxi driver. He felt he would stay only for the winter, but
soon fell in love with the country and remained in Drumheller
for the rest of his life. He did return to Italy a couple of
times but had no desire to stay.
He first worked as a labourer, building a railway to East
Coulee, Alberta, and then got into the coal mines. In the mines,
he worked his way up to the position of Fire Boss. He worked in
several mines, including the N.A.C. mine, the Scranton and the
Western Gem, and then spent most of his years at the Brilliant
Coal Co. in Midlandvale (Drumheller), Alberta until it closed in
1958. He had become the Top Boss and remained employed after the
mine closed until all the assets were sold. He next went down
the road to the Hy-Grade Mine, but decided he was too old to
start over, down in the mine. He then worked for my uncle, Jim
Stocco, at Jimmies Super Market as a store clerk until his
The Brilliant Coal Co. was owned by My grandmother, Luigia
Stocco (her husband died about 1928) and by Sandino, Martini,
Guidolin, and Eggenberger.
lived in a small house in Drumheller until I was four (1948) and
then moved into a Brilliant Coal Co. house in Midlandvale. While
employed, my father bought that house from the Co. for $1,500.00
on April 9, 1958. It was a well-built, 2-bedroom house. My
Father said it was one of the first houses in this area that was
built from a plan, and it was one of the few that had an indoor
toilet. He lived there until he had to move into the Sunshine
Lodge when he was in his 80s. One of my daughters now owns and
lives in that house.
My Father had a huge garden and spent most of his spare time
there, or attending to making wine with choke cherries and
raisins. He took great pride in his Italian tomatoes, which he
grew from seeds sent to him from Italy.
At the age of 32, my Father married Tegla Stocco (age 26) the
daughter of Santo and Luigia (Mozzocco) Stocco at St. Anthonys
Catholic Church in Drumheller, on July 4, 1943. My Mother was
born in Drumheller on September 28, 1917. She had a heart
condition as a youth and died suddenly on January 24, 1980, six
weeks after having open heart surgery. My parents had two
children Gordon and Louise. Gordon became a lawyer and then a
Provincial Court Judge in Drumheller. Louise graduated as a
teacher and later went on to become a librarian.
My Father passed away on March 18, 2000, at the age of 89. He
was healthy and alert to the end. My Father remained dedicated
to his family and loyal to my mother, and never considered
starting a new long-term relationship despite the several
opportunities that came his way.
Recollections of Life in the "Sunshine Camp"