A tribute to...

Giuseppe (Joe) Menechella

Published: 19/6/2023

Joe (Giuseppe) Menechella lived the kind of life that his parents, Michele and Marianna, dreamed of when they emigrated to Australia from Naples. Joe was the youngest of seven and life was tough for the big family in post-war Italy.

In 1954, Michele set out alone to make a new start for his family in Adelaide, beginning a six-year separation. He worked at General Motors Holdens, buying his first family home in Black Forest before bringing his family to Australia.

Giuseppe, soon known as "Joe," was the only one of his family to have schooling in Australia.

He joined brother John and brother-in-law Nick in building a successful family business, Menechella Joinery and Construction. While John and Nick worked as cabinet makers and carpenters, Joe took to managing projects, organising tradesmen and finances. He gained his builders licence, allowing Menechella to construct its own developments.

The company was more than generous in helping out family and friends' projects. In 1970, Joe met his future love, Silvana Vanni, at a cousin's wedding - best man meets maid of honour. The two married in 1975 and a long honeymoon included Joe's only return to Molinara.

As their children were born Joe treated his family home like his fondly remembered Molinara hometown, his little village in Wattle Park, with his children, nieces and nephews learning at his side, whether in his garden or out on worksites.

He became one of the original members of the executive committee of the Molinara Community Club, serving as its treasurer for many years.

Rather than relaxing at the club, Joe worked to improve the facilities and finances to be fit for the future Molinarese community in Adelaide. He organised events and fundraisers helped by volunteers from the paese. One of Joe's proudest moments was recently when he received an honorary life membership to the Molinara Club.

In later life Joe faced many health challenges and was gifted with a kidney transplant that greatly extended his life. He is survived by Silvana, children Sonia, Riccardo and Roberto, and eight grandchildren. In his family's grand tradition, he taught them how to value their heritage and traditions.

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