Catherine R. Gervasi, age 85, longtime resident of 106 West Ely Street, Ishpeming passed away Tuesday July 31, 2018 at UP Health System Bell. She had been a resident of the Marquette County Medical Care Facility for the past 5 months.
Catherine was born October 3, 1932 in Simbario, Italy to the late Dominic Barbuto and Elizabeth Nardi. At the age of 15, Catherine and her mother traveled by ship to the U.S. and joined her father in Ishpeming. She attended St. John’s Catholic School. Catherine married Ralph Gervasi in 1951. They lived and worked in Chicago for a brief period, and moved back to Ishpeming after the birth of their first child. In downtown Ishpeming they opened their first restaurant, The Coffee Pot, where she served her homemade chili to Jimmy Stewart and Lee Remick during the filming of “Anatomy of a Murder.” She also worked at the Gossard Factory as a seamstress in the early 1960s. During this time she began delivering homemade bread and sausage to her coworkers, who kept their orders chilled on the building’s fire escape. Throughout the years, they successfully owned and operated several other food establishments including the White Cudighi Truck, Ralph’s Pizza on Pearl Street, Ralph’s Italian Delicatessen on Lake Street, The Club Roma, and ultimately the current Ralph’s Deli which is still family-owned and operated.
Catherine was a member of St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church in Ishpeming. She cherished her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, and loved having gatherings at her home and camp. Catherine took great pleasure in cooking for family and friends and always made sure no one went home hungry. She also enjoyed gardening, berry-picking, canning, and baking. Some of her favorite pastimes included playing league cribbage, bingo, and taking the occasional trip to the casino.
Catherine is survived by 5 children- Dominic (Mary) Gervasi of Ishpeming, Bruno Gervasi of Ishpeming, Elizabeth Roberts of Ishpeming, Cathy (Rolfe) Lindberg of Issaquah, WA, Mary Epperson of Ishpeming, 10 grandchildren- Cathy (John) Tornberg, Christina Gervasi, Tony (Brandy) Gervasi, Ralph (Amber) Roberts, Beth (Peter) Martell, Nicolette Lindberg, Bianca Lindberg, Lucas Lindberg, Samantha Steele, Christopher Steele, 9 great-grandchildren- Meghan and Jacob Tornberg, Vincent and Sophia Gervasi, Olivia and Blake Roberts, Ethan, Brandt, and Isabella Martell, 4 step-grandchildren- Nathan (Jennifer) Trudgeon, Amber Tarter, Adam O’Brien, Devin Steele, 7 step great-grandchildren- Rebekah, Tia, Kayla, and Ian Trudgeon, Samuel and Tyler Kutchie, Cadence Kreuger, along with numerous nieces, nephews, and cousins. She was preceded in death by her parents, husband- Ralph Gervasi, mother-in-law- Elizabeth Gervasi, daughter-in- law- Nancy Gervasi, and son-in-law- Larry Roberts, siblings- Anthony Barbuto, Rose Romano, Immacolata Vilone, and a special friend- Vito Vilona.
Catherine’s family will greet relatives and friends at St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church in Ishpeming on Monday August 6, 2018 from 11:00am until the time of her Funeral Mass at 1:00pm. Fr. Ryan Ford will celebrate the Mass of Christian Burial. A luncheon will follow in the K/D Hall. Interment will take place in the Ishpeming Cemetery.
Pallbearers are Dominic Gervasi, Tony Gervasi, Lucas Lindberg, Rolfe Lindberg, Peter Martell, Adam O’Brien, Tony Ombrello, Ralph Roberts, Christopher Steele, and John Tornberg.
The family would like to thank the wonderful staff at Marquette County Medical Care Facility for their kind and compassionate care during her time there.
Catherine’s obituary may also be viewed at bjorkandzhulkie.com where relatives and friends may leave a note of remembrance.
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