Gasper Cardinale HONOREE 2020
Gasper Vincent Cardinale was born in Palermo to Vincenzo and Nellina Cardinale on February 14, 1935. At the age of 3 Gasper traveled to America with his Mother and maternal grandfather Guiseppe Cardinale. Waiting for them in Monterey was Gasper's father extended family.
Gasper attended Thomas O Larkin School, Walter Colton and Monterey High School. (Gasper's wife Carmela and their 4 children attend the same schools). At the age of 1 O Gasper's first job was delivering newspaper from Alvarado Street to the Naval Postgraduate School. At the age 14 Gasper began his career in shoes where he apprenticed for Ragghianti Shoe Repair on Alvarado Street. At 15 years old Gasper's next job was at Troria's Market. He worked there for over three years beginning as a stock and delivery boy and finally graduating to the Deli department where he made Italian Sausage.
In 1947 though he did not realize it at the time Gasper met the love of his life Carmela DiMaggio when she arrived from Trapani Sicily with her family. Gasper and Carmela's fathers were both local fisherman and the families were very close. In 1955 Gasper and Carmela began their courtship and since Carmela's father knew Gasper, he allowed his daughter to date without a chaperone. On October 6, 1957 Gasper and Carmela were married at San Carlos Cathedral. The following year they welcomed their first son Vincenzo.
In 1955 what began as a summer job Gasper began his tenure on Ocean Ave. in Carmel when he was employed by James Rowe at the Village Shoe Tree. Gaining a reputation as a seller of Fine Shoes Gasper clientele varied from locals, visitors from around the world and celebrities. After managing The Village Shoe Tree for over 12 years Gasper and Carmela bought the store from Mr. Rowe. In 1977 they opened Cardinale Fine Shoes and Carmel Plaza Men's Bootery in the Carmel· Plaza. Over the years three of Gasper and Carmela's children helped make the stores a success.
As a member of The Carmel Business Association Gasper held several offices, Secretary, Vice President and President. He held the office of President of the Carmel Business Association for 12years. He also was a member of Carmel by the Sea Kiwanis where he held several offices ending with a term as President. Often delivering shoes to under privileged children in Salinas. During the holiday season Gasper was a bell ringer for the Salvation Army. His bell ringing skills and friendly demeanor won him top producer several years running.
Gasper contribution to charities continued with his time at American Cancer Society where he was a board member for 5 years. During his time with the American Cancer Society Gasper and the other board members were instrumental in helping to create the Cancer Center at Community Hospital. A few years later he was tapped on the shoulder by Superior Court Judge Harpjoon Paik as a member of the Grand Jury for Monterey County.
In the early 90's along with their sons, Vincenzo and Rocco, Gasper and Carmela opened Cardinale Coffee Roasting Company in the courtyard behind The Village Shoe Tree on Ocean Avenue in Carmel. Wanting to expand their business to include soup and sandwiches Gasper and his sons were grateful to the Carmel residents and customers for their support against an opposing city council. After nearly a decade and approaching retirement the Coffee House was sold.
After retirement Gasper joined the Italian Catholic Federation as a Board Member rising to the office of Vice President. During his time on the ICF Gasper was a greeter at the Lenten Dinner. While San Carlos Cathedral was being renovated, he reached out to the community at the Portuguese Hall and asked if the Lenten Dinners could be held there. Knowing the Lenten Dinners is gathering for the community as well as the primary fundraiser for the ICF he wanted to make sure this tradition continued while the church hall was being used as the Cathedral. He and Carmela also opened up their home for ICF monthly meeting during this time.
Another charity that Gasper has been very involved with is the Monterey Elks where he was elected to the Board of Trustees. Along with his fellow board members Gasper has been instrumental in updating the Elks recreational area, security system and parking lot.
One of Gasper's greatest challenges was making Monterey and Isola delle Femmine sister cities. Along with Peter Conigilo, Peter Davi, Sal Ferrante, Mayor Clyde Roberson
and the Monterey City Council Gasper's hard work and dedication was full filled in September of 2017 when a delegation from Isola delle Femmine signed a proclamation making the two cities sisters.
On Saturday afternoons Gasper can be found at San Carlos Cathedral as he performs the duties of usher and Eucharistic minister at the 4pm Mass. This is where Gasper's gives thanks to God for the many blessing he has been given. Starting with his wife Carmela, his four wonderful children and 6 grandchildren. Gasper is forever grateful to his parents for leaving a place that they loved in search of a better life in Monterey.
Gasper wants to thank the Italian Heritage Society for this Honor.