Fortunato “Freddy” Porpiglia passed away Sunday, May 21st, 2023 surrounded by his loving family. Fortunato was born on April 8th, 1935 in the village of San Roberto in Reggio, Calabria Italy. Fortunato was an ambitious soul from a very young age. In his early 20’s, he left his native southern Italian land to work in Northern Italy. in 1965, with the help of his uncles, aunts and cousins, his ambition and optimistic nature led him to immigrate to the United States to pursue the American dream. He worked in various jobs in Pennsylvania and Indiana until he could establish himself in the plaster and drywall business utilizing the craftsmanship he learned in Italy. Once word traveled about “Freddy’s” quality of work and attention to detail, his plaster business flourished, and he was able to achieve one of his life’s goals of going into business for himself by starting F&P Plastering and Drywall. In 1969 he become a US Citizen. In 1972 Fortunato traveled back to Italy for a vacation and met the love of his life, Vincenza “Gina”. He convinced her to marry him and come to the United States with him. His plan was to work and prosper for 10 years then return to Calabria, however the land of opportunity was very good to him, so he stayed in America where his construction business continued to flourish. During this time, he built a home on Indiana Lake in Union, MI which he loved and would entertain many, many friends. He loved Michigan and would fish on the waters and hunt in the woods. Most importantly during this time he became the father of two sons he loved and raised very carefully…Nino and Dominic. Fortunato had an extraordinary work ethic, and valued family and respect over anything else. As skilled and precise as he was, nothing helped him more in his career and relationships than his ability to work with people and follow through on a promise.
In 1993 his love of all people led him to build and start Calabria Restaurant with is beloved wife by his side, which developed into a popular gathering spot. He would often be found in the dining room mingling with old and new friends, offering them his homemade wine afterwards in his wine cellar, and on special nights he would even entertain guests by playing his accordion. In his later years he was able to move back to Indiana Lake where he spent his time on his deck with Gina by his side. More important to him though were his precious relationships with family and friends. He made sure his family and friends were always doing well and gave his sons, grandsons, nieces, nephews and cousins advice that they will cherish forever. He showed and earned respect of all his friends back home in Italy, Canada, and abroad. He had a way with words and made everyone feel special. He never forgot where he came from and left a legacy that will live on for years to come.
Surviving are his wife Vincenza “Gina”, sons Antonino “Nino” (Nici) Porpiglia of Union, MI and Domenico “Dominic” (Rosa) Porpiglia of Goshen, grandsons, Antonino Fortunato Porpiglia and Vincenzo Giuseppe Porpiglia, brothers-in-law, Rocco Corsaro of Italy, Giuseppe Corsaro of Canada, Giovanni Corsaro of Canada, Franco Corsaro of Italy many beloved nieces and nephews in Italy, Canada and Switzerland and a special 1st cousin, Vincenzo Saia of Italy. Freddy was preceded in death by his siblings, Giuseppe Porpiglia, Paola Porpiglia, Filippo Porpiglia, Antonino Porpiglia, Pietro Porpiglia and a twin brother, Vincenzo Porpiglia.
Visitation for Freddy will be from 4 to 8 pm Thursday May 25, 2023 at Stemm-Lawson-Peterson Funeral Home, 1531 Cobblestone Blvd., Elkhart, IN 46514. Mass of Christian Burial will be at 12:00 pm Friday May 26, 2023 at St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church, 1331 N. Main St., Elkhart, IN 46514 where visitation will be from 10am to 11:30 am at the church. Fr. Levi Nkwocha and Fr. John Delaney will be officiating. Entombment will follow at St. Vincent’s Cemetery, Elkhart.
Memorials may be made to St. Thomas Church. Online condolences at www.stemmlawsonpeterson.com
To send flowers to the family, please visit our floral store.
St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church
1405 North Main Street, Elkhart IN 46514