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‘I thought it was junk’: B.C. woman looking to retrieve family heirloom

When Vernon’s Louise “Thup” Sammartino died, her daughter gave away a special brooch

A local woman is hoping to retrieve a family heirloom she carelessly gave away not knowing its history.

Debi Sammartino Gare was clearing out her mother’s condo after her passing in October 2017.

Louise “Thup” Sammartino lived at Regency Court and had a deep love for her family, her Trinity United family and for her communities of Armstrong and Vernon.

“I had visitors come and go and I always encouraged them to take something of mom’s in her memory as I filled boxes to be donated to different charities,” said Gare. “On one such visit I offered a four leaf clover brooch to someone.”

She remembers the conversation but can’t recall who it was with.

“When the person said they couldn’t take it as it was my mom’s I remember I responded with ‘This is Irish and I am Italian and English so please take it.’”

It turns out, Gare was wrong.

“Little did I know then but through and while going through mom’s many personal boxes I discovered that the brooch was a gift from my grandpa Art Marshall (in Armstrong) to my granny Lillian Cary on the occasion of their wedding in 1916.”

Gare even has the original clipping from the Armstrong paper of the June 10 wedding, which reads: “She wore a brooch of Shamrock design, set solidly with pearls and emeralds which was the gift of her bridegroom.”

Gare is beside herself for giving what she thought was worthless away.

“I thought it was junk,” she admits.

“Needless to say I would love to find the special broach to hand down in our family.

“If anyone remembers this conversation or knows where the brooch is now it would be much appreciated.”

Anyone with information can email

READ MORE: Iva Louise “Thup” Sammartino obituary

READ MORE: Men make space in Vernon wood shop for She Shed

Debi Gare is hoping a family heirloom that was mistakenly given away will be returned. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
Lillian Cary and Art Marshall were married in Armstrong in 1916. Their granddaughter is appealing for a lost brooch from the wedding. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
Louise “Thup” Sammartino

Jennifer Smith

About the Author: Jennifer Smith

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