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Last member of Woodinville’s early farming families dies

  • Written by Woodinville Weekly Staff

Obit VitulliEmma Migliore Vitulli, the last surviving member of one of Woodinville’s original farming families, died December 31, 2013, just three days short of her 104th birthday.

Emma was born January 3, 1910, in Portland, Ore., where her parents had immigrated from Italy in 1903. She was the fourth of eight children.Her father, Francesco (Frank) Migliore, worked for the railroad.When Emma was six, her family moved to a small farm in Munson Hill, a Portland suburb. By 1917, all eight children were born and busy with household duties, farm chores and school.

In 1925 Emma’s parents sold their Munson Hill farm and purchased a 21-acre farm inWoodinville. She worked on the farm with her seven brothers and sisters: Jessie, Lily, Mike, Leonard, John, Ethel and Katherine.

In 1929 Emma married Tony Vitulli who had immigrated from southern Italy in 1921.

When an opportunity arose, Tony became a partner in the nearby Zanassi Farm, and the young couple settled into the small farmhouse they would live in for the next 34 years.

During the ’40s, ’50s and ’60s, Emma stayed home as most mothers of that era did, raising her two sons, Dick (Domenico) and Frank (Francis).

Tony and Emma were hard workers, but they always had time for fun: dinners, parties, picnics in the summer and card games with friends, neighbors and relatives.

Emma was renowned for her culinary skills, especially her Italian dishes; a week didn’t go by without a sumptuous dinner being served to their many relatives and friends.

In the garden, roses and begonias were two of Emma’s favorite flowers. In addition to the beautiful flora, she also grew vegetables that she turned into healthy and delicious dishes. Corn harvest parties, pea and berry picking, cookie baking, ravioli making for Christmas dinner and canning of antipasto were joys that Emma shared with family and friends.

Tony and Emma spent many happy years in the new home they built in 1969 with time out to visit Hawaii and make trips to sunny California. In 1979, they celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary, renewing their vows at St. James Cathedral and gathering with friends and family for yet another wonderful family party of dinner and dancing.

Emma’s love of reading and learning was with her throughout her life and she became a teacher at heart. She had attended Bothell High School, but she was needed on the farm and was unable to graduate from high school.

However, in February of 2000, Emma received an honorary diploma from Bothell High School.

Following Tony’s death in 1985, Emma continued to live in the dream house the couple had built. In 2000 she moved to Brittany Park, the senior home built on the same property her parents farmed so many years before. In her final years, Emma lived at the Royal Anne senior facility in Bothell. In addition to sons, Dick (Irene) of Kenmore and Frank (Frances) of Sacramento, Emma is survived by six grandchildren: Darrel of Snohomish; Kevin (Jayne) of Wenatchee; Darcy Muzzy (Kirk) of Kirkland; Paul (Jennifer) of Seattle; Elizabeth Weinseimer (Rip) of New Hope, Pa.; and Teresa of Philadelphia, Pa. There are six great-grandchildren: Anthony, Nicholas, Kelley, Jane, Philip and Thomas.

Emma’s energy and enthusiasm for life carried over to her 100th birthday party in 2010 where she danced a brief tarantella with her niece.

Emma always wanted to be a teacher, and even though she never had formaltraining, she indeed became a wonderful educator through a wealth of life experience that she was always eager to share.

She taught her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren important lessons of life that will live on for generations. She encouraged family and friends to cook, bake and garden together. Leading by example, she showed everyone around her how to live a happy and healthy life.

A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated January 11 at Blessed Teresa of Calcutta Church in Woodinville.

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