Born at home in Roseto, Abruzzi, Italy, near the Vomano River, Gino was the second of two sons born to Filemano and Angelina DiGiovannantonio. Gino was an active and mischievous young lad with an appetite for learning that never left him. Schooling ended for everyone in his community east of Rome and on the Adriatic Sea in 1945 when German forces occupied the town and actually commandeered the family's living space thus pushing the family of four to the lower animal's area and they had to feed the soldiers as well. Eventually, Gino determined to moved to America with his parents, sponsored by his Uncle Gabriel, for whom he worked as a carpenter. His cousin, Ray, taught him the trade of tile setting with which he started his own business not long after, DiGiovanni Ceramic Tile. About 1958, Gino enlisted in the Army and got through boot camp before Uncle Sam gave him an honorable discharge due to his lack of proficiency with English. Before and his military service and for several years after he was married, Gino would carry his accordian on his back and ride bicycle to town, serenading diners at fine restaurants after his long workday.Mary remembers that he worked tiling every day but Sunday, and entertained diners every night but Monday, for eight years until they moved to Parker Lane in Clinton. Before they became famous, Gino knew and played with both Roy Clark and Jimmy Dean. Many loved ones remember him as the hardest worker ever. Gino wed Mary Schmitt on 5/20/1961 and they had three children, Anthony, Gina and Anna. Gino, with all his limited spare time, built their home in Clinton in 1971, and in that home he and Mary trusted Christ at 3 PM on March 9, 1976, which altered the course of life for the family, putting the following generations on a Christian pathway. The family joined the church where Gina and Anna were married in a double wedding and Gino never looked prouder than when he escorted a lovely bride on each strong arm in 1991. Gino went on to build a total of five homes in Florida and was known for his selfless dedication in countless construction projects his church, family and friends. He even worked with a hurricane relief team in Mississippi. He did tile jobs for many churches and never charged a dime for his time. He helped with renovations from Indiana to Maine, Maryland to Florida and many in between. He spent thousands on material for first class furniture that he taught himself how to build. All the while he was building, he taught. Whenever someone was interested in his work, he was eager to share what he knew. Although his formal education ended at ten, he continued to satisfy his thirst for knowledge and information for the rest of his life. He loved to read his Bible and he loved to read about better ways to good health. Early in the morning, once he had his coffee, it was time to get the weather and then on to Fox News. Gino, known to so many as Papa, had two favorite verses- Malachi 3:10, and Matthew 16:26. Malachi 3:10 reads- Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in my house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. Matthew 16:26 reads- For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give for his own soul? Some of his favorite songs were When We All Get To Heaven, No One Ever Cared For Me Like Jesus, and Down From His Glory, to the tune of O Sole Mio. Gino loved gardening, fishing, bowling, cooking, grilling, building, teaching and helping. He dearly loved America. He loved watching his grandchildren excel in life, making them milkshakes and playing cards with them. His projects were things of practicality, durability, beauty and symmetry. He could be stubborn, too, especially when a task needed completing. One day a branch over the back fence caught his attention and he was determined that the branch was coming down. Learning that neither the bucket of the John Deere nor the extension ladder got him high enough to cut the branch, he put the ladder against the tree in the raised bucket of the tractor, and hauled the chainsaw up to the job, in his 70s. He climbed staging in his 80s to help with siding. Gino was a remarkable man in every way and will be sorely missed, but the foggy mind, the aches, and the pains are gone. He is waiting for us with his Savior in Glory.Gino is survived by his wife, Mary, his brother, Franco DiGiovannantonio, his children, Anthony DiGiovanni, Gina Frost (Mark), and Anna Stephens (Doug), 11 grandchildren and 3 great-grandchildren.
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