Valerio Matteotti Tribute Fund
Valerio “Val” Matteotti
1913 ~ 2014
It is with sadness and heavy hearts we announce the passing of Dr. Valerio “Val” Matteotti, beloved husband of Mrs. Flora Matteotti on October 19, 2014 at the Chinook Regional Hospital, at the age of 101 years. Born in Italy on February 12, 1913, Val immigrated to Canada at the age of 10 years to join his mother and father who came to Canada earlier to establish a home. Val was raised in the Cardston area where he worked on the family farm and acquired his strong work ethics. Val left the farm and hitchhiked to the United States and worked as a bellhop and kitchen helper in Los Angeles, Chicago, and New York, saved his money, and returned to Canada to start his own farming business. In 1930, he had saved enough money to lease with the option to purchase his first farm. Val formed a partnership with his two brothers, and together were successful farmers. The partnership was later disbanded and Val formed the company Val Matteotti Ranches Ltd. Val and Flora were married in Italy in 1948, and when they returned to Canada, they worked side-by-side to make Matteotti Ranches one of the most successful farm and ranch operations in Southern Alberta. At one time, they owned and operated four large farms located across Southern Alberta, and Val spent his days going from farm to farm managing the work crews. In 1988, they sold their last farm, settled in Lethbridge, and began to successfully invest in Calgary real estate, but his love for farming and the land never left him. He became a legend in Southern Alberta for his strong work ethics, integrity, generosity and sense of humour as well as having an astute business acumen. There is not a single aspect of the Southern Alberta community that was not happily touched by the life of Val Matteotti. Education, Health Care, Youth Sports, Culture, Arts, Nature etc. – All elements vital to a vibrant and socially responsible community have benefitted from the generosity of Val’s philanthropy. His special interest were in the areas of Youth Sports, Education, and Health Care, although he generously supported the Lethbridge Symphony, Allied Arts Council, Lethbridge United Way, Lethbridge Athletic Association, Southern Alberta Art Gallery, Lethbridge Minor Soccer, Lethbridge Minor Baseball, Lethbridge Slow Pitch, Food Bank, and many others too numerous to list. He supported both the Lethbridge College and University of Lethbridge. Val was acknowledged for his major contribution to the college. In 1988 the college named their new gym the “Val Matteotti Gymnasium” and further honoured him by inducting him into the LCC Hall of Fame. In 1990, in recognition of his extraordinary contribution to the college, Val was named the Honorary Chairperson for the TEC 2000 Capital Campaign, and gave a generous leading gift to the campaign. He was also a huge supporter of the College Athletic Programs. The University of Lethbridge honoured Val with a special Faculty of Management Scholarship Dinner in the year 2000 and as a result, a series of scholarships were set up in his name. Val became Dr. Val Matteotti when he received an honourary Doctor of Laws degree from the U of L in 2004, an honour reserved for only a few very deserving recipients. Val was a generous financial contributor to many other university events, including the University Singers, Festival of Art & Song, Abbondaza, LINC Library Project etc. Val received honours from all levels of the government. He was awarded the Commemorative Medal 125 from the Governor General of Canada, marking the 125th Anniversary of Canadian Confederation. In 1988, Val received a special certificate of merit from the Prime Minister Brian Mulroney for his outstanding support of his community. In 2005, the Provincial Centennial Medal marking the Province of Alberta’s 100th Anniversary was presented to him. He also received a certificate of merit from Premier Ralph Klein and his cabinet for his support of Health Care in Alberta. Val was given the prestigious and very rare Premiers Silver Medallion for his support of the Lethbridge community in 2005. In Calgary, Val and Flora were honoured with the Philanthropic Award in 2001, presented by the Alberta Association of Fundraising Professionals. The award was presented in Calgary by Mayor Dave Bronconnier. He also received awards from the Kinsmen Club of Calgary and the Kinsmen Pediatric Centre. The Lethbridge Sports Hall of Fame inducted Val into the honoured hall on three separate occasions. 1995 a group of local business people started the Italian Open Golf Tournament with Val as a patron. Later, the tournament was renamed the Val Matteotti Italian Open Golf Tournament. The event sold out every year, it has raised over $1,200,000 for much needed health care equipment at the Chinook Regional Hospital. For over 27 years, Val donated trees to be planted in Henderson Lake Park to replace old or diseased trees. He was proud to involve students from the General Stewart Elementary School to help plant the trees and learn the importance of nature. One of Val’s proudest and most cherished sponsorships was the Val Matteotti Golden Hawks AAA Bantam Hockey Team. They were the first sports team he sponsored and were always his favourite. He followed their progress every year, and was proud when he was told they refer to themselves as the “Matteotti’s kids”. On April 27, 2014 Val was named as the inaugural Lethbridge Citizen of the Year, sponsored by the Lethbridge Herald and the Rotary Club of Lethbridge. He was extremely proud of this award, not only because he was the first person named as Citizen of the Year, but because the submission to the selection committee included submissions from the community, including many of the clubs and organizations he had supported over the years. That evening at the awards banquet, Val was inducted as a Paul Harris Fellow. The Paul Harris Fellowship is a Rotary Club Honour, reserved for people of distinction. The same evening, Mayor Bob Tarleck presented him with the Keys to the City in honour of his exemplary contributions to the Lethbridge Community. We will miss Val and his generosity, but most of all we’ll miss his presence in the community, his wisdom, sense of humour and storytelling. Besides his loving wife Flora of 66 years, Val is survived by his sisters-in-law Anne Matteotti & family, Alice’s children, Henry’s children, sister-in-law Wanda Lutterotti, nephew George (Adella) Lutterotti & family, nieces Alberta (late Frank) St. Amand, Nevis (Douglas) Goruk & family, as well as many relatives in Europe. Val is predeceased by his mother Teresa, father Angelo, siblings Henry, Alice and Guido. Vigil Rites (Prayers) will be held at 7:00 pm on Wednesday, October 22, 2014 at MARTIN BROTHERS RIVERVIEW CHAPEL, 610 – 4 Street South, Lethbridge, led by Deacon Cliff Bogdan. A Funeral Mass will be held at 11:00 am on Thursday, October 23, 2014 at SOUTHMINSTER UNITED CHURCH, 1101 – 4 Ave South, Lethbridge, with Father Kevin Tumback, celebrant. Flowers are gratefully declined; those who wish may donate to the Val Matteotti Open, c/o Chinook Regional Hospital Foundation, 960-19 St. S., Lethbridge, AB, T1J 1W5
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