Mr F. Ferraro

08 April, 2020

The Hon. J.S. LEE (15:23): Since the World Health Organization officially declared the coronavirus crisis a global pandemic on 12 March 2020, the world has become a totally unrecognisable place. The coronavirus has spread across the world and is now affecting 209 countries and territories. There are over 1.4 million cases and over 82,000 deaths so far.

Yesterday was a very sad day for our state. Our hearts went out to the family when we learned that coronavirus claimed its first life in South Australia. It is with a very heavy heart that I speak in parliament today about the sad passing of Mr Francesco Ferraro.

The late Mr Ferraro's daughter, Enza, is a dear friend of mine. When I learned about the heartbreaking news before the public announcement, I immediately reached out to Enza to offer my heartfelt sympathy and condolences. It was with great humility and compassion that the Premier wrote a letter to the family expressing the state's sincere condolences.

As we know, due to the COVID-19 restrictions, the family will not be able to conduct a normal memorial service and funeral to honour Mr Ferraro's life in front of hundreds of their family, extended family members, friends and the community. Under these unprecedented circumstances, there was no time to bid farewell and a very limited opportunity to pay tribute to someone who has been a pillar of strength to his family and his community.

Yesterday, when I reached out to Enza to offer my deep condolences and words of comfort during this difficult time, I felt compelled to offer as much support as I could because that is what friends are for. With the family's permission and blessing, today I am honoured to pay our collective respects and tribute to Mr Ferraro in a special way that his family would like to remember him and to honour his legacy.

The late Mr Francesco Ferraro was a migrant from San Marco Dei Cavoti, Benevento, Italy. He arrived in Australia in 1968 and got married the same year. He was a loving husband and father to three children and grandfather to eight. He was grateful for what this country had given him and raised his family to be proud Australians, whilst always maintaining his links to his Italian heritage.

His values centred around family, loyalty, dignity, hard work and being respectful. He believed in doing his very best and ensuring life was full of love, life and music. His wife, Elisabetta, was his childhood sweetheart. She said:

“He is the love of my life, we grew up as children, we worked hard together and our joy was seeing our family grow and gather around us.”

His daughters, Enza and Orietta, cherished his guidance and how he empowered them to be strong, independent, resilient women. His eldest granddaughter, Isabella, said:

“He contributed to all his grandchildren's lives in a positive and inspiring way. He taught us the importance of striving to be your best whilst balancing it with your values and aspirations. He showed us that love is unconditional and that life teaches us to be strong and learn from each experience.”

His son, Claudio, said:

“Dad taught me to believe in my dreams and never lose sight of achieving them.”

His grandson posted a moving tribute. Alessio said:

“Nonno, never would I have thought this is how our story ends and so soon, but heaven needs angels and an angel you are. You promised me you would come home and I'm sure it was a promise you fought and tried to keep.

Many of you had the privilege of knowing my Nonno but I had the privilege of calling him my best friend or as he would like to say 'besta man'. Life will never be the same with out your infectious laugh and smile. I will miss all the late night chats about life, all your advice, stories, jokes, the Thursday dinners saving a seat next to you for me when I came back from training and the DIY at home renovations.

You gave me the world and if only we had more time for me to give at least half back, but life isn't fair and sometimes it can really suck. I'm so grateful for all that you did for me Nonno, you really never could say no.

You're a true gentleman to all and have left a legacy behind that no one can forget. You gave everything to this family and we wouldn't be where we are without you. To my number 1 supporter, you may not be on the sideline of every soccer game anymore but I know you will be watching from above. You can Rest In Peace now my best friend. Until we meet again Nonno. So long partner.

PS. Your garden is safe with me, I promise.”