Catarina (Cathy) Fruci is known in North Bay as a passionate promoter of the Italian language and culture. She is also a long-time fashionista, an accomplished seamstress, poet and artist. Cathy gives credit to her wonderful teachers who helped her hone her skills in embroidery and fashion design.
Born in Filadelfia, Calabria, Italy to Carmelo and Carmela Caruso, Cathy has two sisters, Rosina (Rose Servello) and Maria (deceased). She also has two brothers, Aldo, who is a businessman and entrepreneur and Frank, who went on to become an acclaimed film director, producer and photographer.
The Caruso family arrived in North Bay in 1954, joining the patriarch (Carmelo) who emigrated in 1951 in order to find work and purchase a home. In 1960 Cathy married Domenic Fruci, a wonderful, handsome young man who hailed from her birthplace of Filadelfia. The bond lasted 55 years until Domenic’s passing in 2015. Their marriage yielded three children: Albert, Carmen, Anne-Marie and four grandchildren.
Cathy worked in the fashion industry for her entire adult life, starting at Tip-Top Tailor’s Head Office in Toronto. She returned to North Bay and joined the staff at Hoffman’s Ladies Wear, then moved on to Walker’s and Jack Frasers before opening her own Bridal Boutique (Annabella’s) on Second Avenue. Many people happily recall purchasing their wedding, bridesmaid and prom dresses from Cathy over the years.
Cathy was heavily involved in fashion shows and the Miss Teen and Miss North Bay Pageants. She also taught embroidery and cooking, in night classes, to many enthusiastic students. Her interests included volunteering for the Community Concert Association, the Catholic Women’s League and the Pro-Cathedral choir.
Cathy has been an active member of the Davedi Club’s Ladies Auxiliary since 1966, on the Executive and as President three times. She has been involved in the Carnivale, Grape Stomping procession and Christmas Pageants. She contributes to each Ladies meeting with Italian Poetry and historical anecdotes, written by her and spoken from the heart. She says “the writing comes easily some days, not so much on other days. I have to be emotional to write.”
Here is a favourite proverb from her monthly contributions in the Davedi Club Members Bulletin: “Quando nascono sono belli. Quando sposano sono bravi. Quando muoiono sono santi. ……When they are born they are beautiful. When they get married they are good. When they die they are holy.”
Thank you Cathy for all you do for the Italian language and culture in this city.
What are Cathy’s favourite Davedi Club events? The Italian Family Picnic on July 22 (free admission for all) and the Grape Stomping Festival on Oct. 19th. Call the Club for more information 705-474-4190.