News Archives of the Italian Missionary Association
This information was last updated September 21, 2003

A Family History Moment in Italy, from The Deseret News

Recent Deaths of Missionary colleagues:

President Leavitt Christensen
President Samuel Boren
President Nick Mascaro
Sister Merlene Colarusso
Sister Violet Coletti

President Leavitt Chrisensen dies on April 29, 2001

KANOSH- Leavitt Christensen, born at Kanosh, Utah on April 11, 1915 to James Frank Christensen and Alice Nadauld. He died April 29, 2001 at LDS Hospital in Salt Lake City following an illness and brief confinement. He is survived by his wife, Rula Christensen, and a son, Steven Christensen, both of Kanosh, Utah; his daughters, Meridene Grant of Tempe, Arizona and Janet Watson of Glendale, Arizona; sisters Jessie Taylor, Ethelyn Grane and Dora Gene Bushnell of Salt Lake City; and many grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Leavitt was a faithful and devoted member of the LDS Church in which he served in many capacities, including Bishop, Mission President, and Area Representative.

His funeral will be Saturday, May 5, 2001, at the Kanosh Ward Chapel, Kanosh, Utah at 1 p.m., with a viewing from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the church prior to services. Burial in the Kanosh Cemetery under the direction of Olpin Mortuary of Fillmore

President Samuel Boren passes away on April 8, 2001

SPOKANE, WA- Samuel Boren, a beloved father, grandfather, greatgrandfather, friend, servant and leader, passed away peacefully April 8, 2001, in Spokane, WA. He was born on February 26, 1916, in Buenos Aires, Argentina, to Mariano and Angela Boren, the youngest of three sons. His parents were the source of strength and direction which would influence him for the rest of his life. As a young man, Samuel was an exceptional athlete and played professional soccer before joining The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He served as one of the first missionaries from that continent.

In 1941, he married Clara Angela Lorenzi whom he loved dearly throughout his life. He had a successful accounting practice. In 1952 he and his family moved to the United States. He eventually continued accounting work in Mesa, Arizona, where he raised his family of two sons and two daughters. In 1960 he was asked to be the treasurer of the Church Building Committee in South America. On his return to Arizona, he served as a regional representative for the church. In 1969 he was called to be the president of the Southeast Mexican Mission. Later he was called to preside over the Italy Milan Mission, then was asked to return to Italy and preside over the Italy Catania Mission, calls he deeply enjoyed. His missionary service was followed shortly after his return by a call as the president of the Lima Peru temple. Through these experiences he became a positive and encouraging influence to many. Until her passing in 1999, he was constantly sustained, loved and supported in these endeavors by his beloved Clara. Samuel remained faithful to his convictions and to his family and friends to the end. He is loved dearly by all who knew this gentle, loving and kind man. He is survived by his children Hugo (Camille) Boren, Provo, Utah; Sylvia (Scott) Wallin, Spokane, Washington; Lilian (Joseph) DeLong, South Africa; Nelson (Jeanne) Boren, Sandpoint, Idaho; 26 grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren. Memorial services will be held at 11 a.m., Saturday, April 14, 2001, at the Sandpoint Idaho Stake Center, 602 Schweitzer Cut-off Road, Sandpoint, Idaho. Interment will be that afternoon in Spokane, WA.

President Nick Mascaro passes away on March 8, 2001

Nick Marion Mascaro returned to the waiting arms of his wife and eternal companion, and his loving Father in Heaven on March 8, 2001. His passing was quiet and peacful.

Dad was born in Helper UT, May 25, 1923. Two years later he moved to Copperfield, Bingham Canyon until he was 15 years old. He then moved to Union, UT where he met Raeola Brady and fell instantly in love. They were married Jun 22, 1943 in the Salt Lake LDS Temple. Mom passed away May 8, 2000. They had four children: Steve (Marilynn) Mascaro, West Jordan; Marc (deceased) (Linda) Mascaro, Union; Marion (Ron) Peery, Union; and Susan (Ray) Pasillas, Alliso Viejo, CA. Dad and Mom had 14 grandkids and 14 (one on the way) great-grandkids. Dad's life was one of commitment and dedication to his Father in Heaven, his family, and his country. He and Mom served two missions for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, in Italy. Dad was a dedicated servant of his Heavenly Father. His unconditional love for his family began with Mom and extended to all. He dearly loved his brothers and sisters and cherished his grand and great-grandkids. He served in the Marine Corps in World War II in the South Pacific and Japan. He posted the flag on his front porch at all national holidays including the Marine Corps birthday. He was a lifelong Boy Scout, receiving the Silver Beaver award, and was a baseball coach to hundreds of kids. He will be dearly missed.

Services will be at the Union LDS 1st Ward chapel, 7400 S. 1000 E., Midvale UT. at 1 p.m. Monday March 12, 2001 where friends and family may call 11 a.m to 12:45 p.m. to pay respects. In lieu of flowers, we requrest that a donation to the Missionary Fund of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints be made by those who wish to do so.

Sister Merlene Colarusso passes away, Funeral Services on Friday Oct. 15, 1999

On Tuesday, October 12, 1999, Merlene Tew Colarusso died at 8:25 a.m. of cancer. She was 85 years old, having been born in Provo, Utah on April 24, 1914, to William Thomas Tew, Jr. and Jennie Houtz Tew.

Merlene attended various schools, including Utah State Agricultural College in Logan, and Brigham Young University in Provo, where she graduated in 1935. After teaching school for four years Merlene studied at Walter Reed General Hospital in Washington D.C., and graduated as a hospital dietitian. She was assigned as head dietitian at Bushnell General Hospital in Brigham City, Utah. It was there that she meet and married Thomas Gabriel Colarusso, a pharmacist from Mt. Vernon, New York. Both held the rank of First Lieutenant in the Army at that time. Tom was transferred to California, where Merlene joined him and they lived in the San Fernando Valley for almost thirty years.

In her youth Merlene served as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, in the East Central States Mission, where her father was Mission President. While in California she acted in many capacities in ward and stake Relief Society organizations, and in 1972 she and her husband accepted a call to serve in the Italy South Mission. Upon their return in 1974, they settled in Orem, Utah and became temple ordinance workers, serving together until January 22, 1982 when Tom died suddenly. Merlene continued at the Provo Temple for a total of 21 years, and also spent a year at the Mt. Timpanogos Temple. She also worked in the Italian Name Extraction Program from 1982 to 1998. She loved the Church and enjoyed her many years of service.

Tom and Merlene became the parents of three children, Paul Colarusso, Starla Spears, and Sondra Latham, all of whom survive her, and live in Salt Lake City. She has ten grandchildren and two great grandchildren. She is also survived by one sister and four brothers: Helen Stirland, Thirl, Roy, Dean, and Ronald K. Tew, all Utah residences. She was preceded in death by her husband, her parents, and one sister, Naoma T. Rowan.

Funeral services will be held Friday, October 15, 1999 at 2 p.m. in the Lakeview 3rd Ward Chapel, 155 West 1600 South, Orem, Utah. Friends may call Thursday evening from 7 to 9 p.m. at Sundberg-Olpin Mortuary, 495 South State, Orem, and also 12:45 p.m. to 1:45 p.m. prior to the services at the chapel. Interment will be in the Springville Evergreen Cemetery.

From the LDS Church News Archives,
Saturday, June 12, 1999, Copyright The Deseret News.

Family history moments: 'Come right away'

Several years ago, while conducting family history research, Scott and Laurel Timmins McCagno found themselves in Bene Vagienna, a little town in northern Italy. They had traced Brother McCagno's family line to the town and were hoping to find information on his father's family -- which they knew very little about. All they had was the name and last-known address of his great uncle, Stefano, who had left the United States years earlier and returned to Italy with his young daughter.

The McCagno's -- members of the Jordan River 16th Ward, South Jordan Utah River Stake -- were behind schedule and frustrated because they had only one day to conduct family history research in the little town.

"We went straight to the municipal building, but were nothing short of horrified to find it shut up and locked," recalled Sister McCagno. "The government offices were closed up for the day for elections, and they would not admit us."

Frustrated, they turned next door to a local church. "We were told that the priest was busy with some youth for several hours and was unavailable."

As a last resort, the McCagnos decided to find the last-known residence of their great uncle Stefano. They asked an elderly man riding by on a bicycle to help them locate the address. To their surprise, he knew Stafano, who had died a few years earlier.

"The gentleman told us several stories about the family and then directed us to the local cemetery where we found the family crypt, names, and birth and death dates," Sister McCagno recalled. "While we stood marveling, crying and taking pictures, the gentleman peddled up to us and told us to come right away."

He had found information that would help them contact their great uncle's daughter.

Early the next morning, Brother and Sister McCagno met their Italian cousin. They spent time together, eating a wonderful meal and listening to translated stories of their family. She also gave the couple stacks of photos and many more names and dates.

"A collection of coincidences? I know it was not. . . . It was a string of purposeful events leading to a final and joyful conclusion," said Sister McCagno. "After much follow-up work, we submitted 166 names and three marriages for temple work." -- Sarah Jane Weaver

Wife of Pres. Coletti Passes Away, Funeral Services on Thurs. May 27, 1999

[Provo Daily Herald, 5/26/99] Orem, UT - Violet Selina Barker Coletti, 86, of Orem, died Sunday May 23, 1999, at Utah Valley Regional Medical Center in Provo following a brief illness. She was born Feb. 18, 1913, in Pleasant View, the youngest of 11 children, to LeRoy and Mary Ann Cragun Barker. She married Joseph Coletti Sept.. 5, 1933, in Bountiful. The marriage was solemnized Apr. 27, 1934, in the Salt Lake Temple. She was raised in Pleasant View and attended and graduated from Weber High School. An excellent seamstress and cook, she enjoyed being a homemaker and raising her family. Crocheting beautiful doilies, bedspreads, and tablecloths brought her much happiness as she gave many of them away as gifts to friends and relatives throughout the years. In 1953, she moved with her family to Gulfport, Miss., where her husband worked as a Naval civil servant. In 1960, she and her family moved again to Alexandria, Va., where her husband continued working for the federal government until his retirement in 1977.

She was an active member of the LDS Church, having served for many years as a Primary teacher and visiting teacher. She served as counselor in several Relief Society presidencies, secretary of the Sunday School and Primary presidents in two different wards, and served five stake missions. From 1974 to 1977 she served as a temple ordinance worker in the Washington, D.C., Temple and again from 1981 to 1992 in the Provo Temple. She loved to sing. She shared her talent often and had happy memories of singing with the Singing Mothers at the 1964 New York World's Fair. She also was a member of the Daughters of the Utah Pioneers. She served alongside her husband as Italy Rome Mission President from 1977 to 1980. Upon their return, they made their home in Orem.

She is survived by five sons and two daughters: Joseph C. Coletti and Richard C. Coletti of Provo, Mrs. Lawrence (Debra) Dunning of Orem; Robert T. Coletti of Virginia; Mrs. Kenneth (Patricia) Oliver of Pleasant View; Daniel B. Coletti of Texas; and Jeffrey L. Coletti of Idaho; 23 grandchildren, 17 great grandchildren; one brother: Peary Barker of Pleasant View. Her husband Joseph and a son Joseph G. Coletti preceded her in death.

Funeral services will be held Thursday, May 27, 1999, at 10 a.m. in the Orem 1st Ward LDS Chapel, 80 S. 280 East, Orem. Friends may call Wednesday from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Sundberg-Olpin Mortuary, 495 S. State St. in Orem and also Thursday morning from 9 to 9:45 a.m. at the ward chapel. Interment will be in the North Ogden Ben Lomond Cemetery.