Funeral of Filippo Giambanco
Wujek/Calcaterra Funeral Home
It was a warm sunny day in September when we were able to step into the lives of the Giambanco family. Maria Giambanco openly allowed us to go behind the scenes of a traditional Italian funeral of her extremely loved and well respected father, Filippo Giambanco. The sun was shining bright, yet the mood was somber as we followed the mourners into the San Francesco Church in Clinton Township. Mike Calcaterra, director of Wujek/Calcaterra Funeral home, very carefully and passionately led the family through the entire day’s proceedings of their beloved Filippo.
The foyer was crowded with the people grieving over Filippo. We tried to be as sensitive as possible, to capture the feeling of the moment, yet not disturb the mourners. The Catholic mass, presided over by Father Giulio Schiavi, was a beautiful celebration of the long life of this Italian immigrant.
We continued to follow the family through town to Resurrection Cemetery, to Filippo’s final resting place. He would be entombed in one of the facilities brand new crypts, in a double vault, with a space reserved for his wife when she passes away as well. It was a very solemn occasion when Filippo’s casket was finally placed into the tomb. Even though the sunlight was streaming through the skylights, there was not a dry eye present. Once again, we tried to be as unobtrusive as possible, to allow the family to say a final goodbye to their husband, father and friend.
Onto the post-funeral luncheon, Maria Giambanco graciously explained to all the funeral patrons in attendance who we were, and why we were filming this sad day in their lives. She explained that her father “was a ham, and loved getting his picture taken, even at the very end. He would have loved this”. We give great appreciation to the family for letting us step into their lives at this very difficult time, as this will be part of our documentary, Our Italian Story.