More than 300 mourners attended a funeral service to farewll Sil Gava.
More than 300 mourners attended a funeral service to farewll Sil Gava. The Northern Star

'He meant everything to me, to all of us'

SIL Gava's favourite song, sung in Italian of course, was played at his funeral on Tuesday, July 9.

The dulcet tones of Andrea Bocelli's Time to Say Goodbye wafted through St Mary's Catholic Church in Casino. His wife Ann Gava said the Italian version had a different meaning and translated to With You I will Go.

More than 300 hundred mourners gathered to say goodbye to a "man who loved everybody," Mrs Gava said.

The 83-year-old, who passed away peacefully on Tuesday, July 2 in Casino, was a devoted member of the New Italy committee and a life member of Lions Australia.

His grandson Simon Gava said at the funeral, his pop believed in community.

"Silvano Armando Gava, if ever there was a cooler name, suited him, and now he can finally rest. He meant everything to me, to all of us. He was my pop but he was also my teacher, my driving instructor, my life coach, my landscaping supervisor and my gentleman etiquette auditor. He was a man who believed in community, I think he helped build a damn good one too."

Silvano Gava was born in Lismore on June 26 in 1936 to Italian migrants Giuseppe and Augusta Gava. He spent his early years at Fernside near Lismore before the family moved to Naughtons Gap where he worked on the banana farms with the Italian community living there.

He went to Tuncester and Naughtons Gap schools and finished his education at Lismore High School and then lived in Sydney for two years where he worked in his uncle's delicatessen.

On returning to Casino he worked at Jimmy Cole's Garage for four years where he met Ann McKinnon who worked in the office. They married in 1959.

They moved to Sydney in 1961 where Mr Gava bought a delicatessen which he ran successfully for two years.

As they had two young girls by then they decided to return to Casino where Mr Gava worked at various garages until opening his own repair workshop in 1968.

He then went on to build a larger workshop in Walker Street, then built a business at the Industrial Estate in Casino and a farm machinery business in Lismore.

He held the Volkswagen franchise by then and then the Fiat and Subaru franchises for 26 years. He employed more than 20 people in his businesses.

Mr Gava knew everyone and would rattle off what cars he had sold them and their family over the years.

Mrs Gava said her husband was a hard worker.

At one point he worked four jobs - working at Enterprise Auto, managing the Caltex Service Station at weekends and driving to Coffs Harbour to pick up Sunday newspapers from the plane and then drive through the night to deliver them to newsagents as far as the Tweed.

He also helped his father on the banana farm.

Mr Gava loved his dogs. He had one called Cindy, a miniature fox terrier he brought home in his pocket, who then found the best bed was his shoe.

A familiar sight in the evening for the family was Mr Gava asleep in his recliner with Cindy or one of the other dogs curled up on his chest.

Sil always had a strong community spirit. Some of his community involvements included; volunteer fireman 1962-69, and Casino and District Memorial Hospital board director 1985-94.

Sil Gava was a beloved family man - husband of Ann, father and father-in-law of Lisa and Roy, Joanne and Mike, Anthony and Gina, grandfather of Simon, Wade, Liam and Layla and great grandfather of Luca.