WATCH: Angelo marks 100 years with a jig
AS VISITORS flowed into the room, an iconic member of the Granite Belt community sang and danced along to a tune from his Italian homeland.
Upon laying eyes on Angelo Valiante, it was difficult to believe he was celebrating his 100th birthday.
The Stanthorpe stalwart, who features in a mural in the town's main street, has lived a long life. But he still has a lot of love to give.
Mr Valiante's granddaughter, Rosalie Webb, has paid tribute to her beloved nonno to mark his birthday.
MY GRANDFATHER, Angelo Valiante, celebrated his 100th birthday surrounded by his family and close friends on November 26.
Angelo is a great-grandfather - husband to the late Rosaria, father to Mick, Nina and Lina, "nonno” to six grandchildren, and great-nonno to nine.
Angelo is so loving, caring, happy, generous, always positive, always smiling, always laughing and ready to talk to anyone, anywhere - albeit with a mix of Italian and English.
His life story is truly amazing, and it has been such an inspiration to all of his family who love him dearly, and so I and our family would be truly honoured to be able to share some highlights with the community of Stanthorpe.
Angelo was born on November 21, 1916 in Jelsi, Italy.
He is of course already "well-known” to many in Stanthorpe, in the mural by Guido van Helten, and another tribute to Angelo's life is a painting by Jacques van de Merwe, now at the Stanthorpe Regional Art Gallery.
Nonno helped my family on our farm when I was growing up. I remember him helping my mum and dad when the season was on and when things were very busy. He was a hard-working man, strong and healthy.
He always wanted to help, he was always ready to joke and have fun with my sister and I. He always played with us, played tricks on us, always laughing, telling us a story here and there from his past - but sometimes I can't understand (his accent).
I know my nonno has had a hard life growing up and he and his wife went without a lot; they had to work hard to get where they did in life.
He loved being in his garden. Vegies or flowers, it didn't matter - as long as he was working outside, he was always happy. His yard and garden was always immaculate, not a weed in sight. When my family would visit, he would be digging somewhere.
Angelo and his wife would regularly have his family over for dinner. This would normally happen on a Thursday night when we would come to town from the family farm and do grocery shopping.
It was something we did regularly, and I have fond memories of these dinners. I also remember Nonno got us a second-hand trampoline from a friend to have at his house, so my sister and I could play on Thursday afternoons while we were there.
Unfortunately, in 2004 Angelo's wife had to leave the family home and go to a nursing home as he could no longer look after her. Angelo visited his wife every day, fed her dinner and spent the afternoon by her side.
His wife, Rosaria, had dementia and he would sit there every afternoon by her side, not saying anything, but just to be with her. Rosaria spent a long 10 years in the nursing home but Angelo was always right there by her side, including the day she passed away.
I will always remember how much he cared for and loved his wife.
Angelo now lives in Carramar in Stanthorpe. His health and mind are still good. I love being around him, so do my husband and children. The positive energy that surrounds him is amazing. He means so much to all of his family.
Angelo has always loved his glass of red wine with his meal. So I believe this is his "secret” - a glass of wine is the secret to living to 100! I'm pretty sure he would agree, but he has also always said to be active, busy and work hard.
- Rosalie Webb (Mr Valiante's granddaughter)