George Roy Coletti a loving husband and father to six children died peacefully at home in Nelson at the age of 100 on October 27, 2021.
George was born July 2, 1921 in Ladysmith B.C. He moved to Nelson at the age of 5 years and attended St. Joseph’s school and Nelson High School.
In his early years George worked on the family farm providing produce and fruit to their family’s Italian grocery store, Nelson Grocery. He later became sole proprietor and ran the store for approximately 40 years.
As a young man he hunted, fished and hiked the area mountain ranges and worked summers as a young man firefighting in the local forest fires. He played guitar in a band on local radio in the 1930-40’s.George was an active and skillful member of the Nelson Badminton Club.
He learned about business, became a butcher, was involved in Nelson community organizations and always found time for friends and making new ones. His trust in people was displayed by the large number of newcomers just starting out in the country and city that he extended store credit so they could buy groceries.
After being in the Navy during WWII he returned to Nelson and met the love of his life Ellen Kate Apps (Kay) while playing badminton. He married Kay in August 1952 9 months before their first born arrived. They were married for 49 years.Together they raised 6 children. They loved their children and provided an enriched family centered environment while allowing each sibling to pursue their individual interests in hobbies and sports.
George continued to love the outdoors, hiking, hunting and fishing and spent much of those times exploring these experiences with Kay, their children and their extended family and friends. George kept fishing right up to his 100 Birthday.
Learning new things and enjoying the social aspect of sports, George learned snow skiing in his fifties and enjoyed many years skiing. He enjoyed gardening and beautifying his yard with roses, native bushes and interesting plants as well as many vegetables and fruit for the family to enjoy. He cared for gardens on his and his mothers property, providing for his family as he did as a young man on the farm.
As well as operating Nelson Grocery he ran the Pink Maid Laundromat for many years. He followed in his fathers footsteps and purchased a few homes as rentals in the city. While busy running both businesses he made time to be on the Nelson Hospital board as chairperson and then for decades at Mount St. Francis long term care facility as chairperson.
For years George was a collector of antiques and collectibles, digging for bottles and hiking intro old mines looking for treasures. In 1975 George converted the Grocery store into Kootenay Exchange Second Hand Antique store and operated it with Kay and son Lou. George and Kay retired in 1990 when Kay was diagnosed with ALS. Even though retired he often helped Lou on arranging and pricing the new collectibles that came in the store.
While he searched the world for interesting items to stock in Kootenay Exchange he reveled in the world of travel and explored Asia, Europe, Mexico; always finding unique items to ship back and many stories to tell. In his 70’s he bought a vintage motor home and explored Canada from coast to coast with Kay and their adventures of ‘boon docking’ became a family legend.
George was a life long member of the Catholic church until his mobility and covid prevented him from attending church. He was a member of the Nelson Gyro club for over 50 years serving as President and Vice President. He enjoyed his weekly Bridge days at the Seniors Centre. Had been an active member of the West Mosby club in the 1970-80’s and was known for his craft at wine making.
The past few years George couldn’t drive so it was always an education driving him about as he would recall the families and individuals that lived on a block we would be passing by, and the adventures that occurred in the 100 years of his life. He found Siri, known as ‘the lady in the phone’ to be such a novelty to do fact finding missions researching collectables and current facts on the internet.
In death George will be reunited with his wife Kay Coletti, their son Gordon, his daughter-in-law Mary Coletti (Née Vingo) as well as his parents (Louis and Rosina (nee Maglio) and all his siblings (Rita McGovern, Louise Thast, Marie Murphy, Loretta Shore).
He is survived by: Son’s Lou Coletti (Leah Mannings) Doug Coletti (Carol Anne Coletti), Dave Coletti (Tina Coletti), Daughter Tanis Coletti (Charlie Hernandez), and Son George Jr Coletti (Tamara Coletti).
Grandchildren: Lyndsay (Tony Palmer), Christina (Bob Henderson), Jeff Coletti, Mike Coletti (Gabriela Montaner), Katie Franz, Joshua Coletti (Nova O’Connor), Dylan Maddock (Amanda Roberts), Christine Coletti (aka Juniper), Savanna Maddock (Tommy Clausen), Taylor Coletti, Spencer Coletti (Olivia Johnson), Graydon Portman, Katie Portman, Corbyn Coletti. Rachel Petrovicz, Connor Petrovicz
Great Grandchildren: Brooklynn Franz, Halea and Nola Henderson, River Thompson and Leo Palmer.
George also had many nieces and nephews he kept in touch with and visited regularly and thoroughly enjoyed the many large family reunions with them.
Thanks to all his friends and family that kept his spark alive with regular visits and phone calls and fishing trips the past few years. During the covid pandemic he enjoyed their outside visits while basking in the sunshine, to hear stories and visit his expansive social circle brought him great pleasure. Much appreciation to the caregivers from Interior Health Home Care/Support and his physician Dr. Lee MacKay.
Special thanks to George Jr and Tamara Coletti who lived with George the last two years enabling him to stay at home until his passing and Lou and Leah who helped George with day to day things over the years.
A celebration of George’s life will take place in the summer of 2022 (details will be posted at a later time.)
Memorial donations can be made to the ALS society of B.C. in memory of the love of George’s life Kay who died from ALS.