Guido Porciani, fish fryer, community activist, social historian. Born: 13 March, 1931 in Dumbarton. Died: September 13, 2019 at Vale of Leven, aged 88
Guido Porciani, fish fryer in the old Italian immigrant tradition, mature university student, and "Son of the Rock" has died. Hey was aged 88.
His grandfather, Alfredo Porciani, settled in Dumbarton in 1905 and established a business as a fish fryer. His son Peter and wife followed in 1907 and continued with the well-known family business. Peter sold fish and chips around Dumbarton from a horse-drawn cart and the family later graduated to shops at Poindfauld Terrace, College Street (The Vennel) and Hawthornhill Road in Castlehill.
Renata, his mother was the youngest daughter of the Zambonini clan who had settled in Lanarkshire and who came from the Barga area of Tuscany. Guido was the first born of five children, Rafaello (Ralph), Gina, Maria and Carla. They grew up in a traditional Italian family with his cousins, the Dimanna family.
His childhood was not entirely happy. Just after Italy entered the Guido came home from the Cinema one evening with his mother and brother to find his father and grandfather being taken home to the Isle of Man. Dumbarton, this is a restricted military zone.
Guido and his younger brother Ralph. An anecdote from this time. They were talking about their "nonna" who could only speak Italian. In fact one day after calling for them to come home – "vieni su" for hours, a neighbor has appeared, grabbed them both and said "right two, vieni su right the noo". Guido often joked that by the end of the story helped the Vennel could speak Italian.
He attended both St. Patrick's Primary and Secondary Schools and the Outstanding Scholars in the Dux of the School when the Unfortunate Early Death of his father was curtailed at the age of 16 manage the family business. One day Guido appeared home at lunchtime declaring that he was not going back to school. Not for the first time in his life he made a tremendous sacrifice and gave his upbringing to help bring his own siblings.
Guido what an accomplished accordion player. Guido and his brother, who appeared together at a St Patrick's Boys Guild talent show in the Burgh Hall. Unfortunately, Guido started shouting in Italian and fighting with each other. The audience burst out laughing as they thought it was a comedy act, and both brothers were asked to come back and perform their act.
Passionate about opera and a keen member of Dumbarton operatic society, Guido often performs in many of their productions. Dumbarton hitchhiked to Milan to hear their old neighbor, David Ward, now a famous opera singer, singing at the Scala in Milan. Davey was amazed to see them when they are surprised at the stage.
Guido aka Charlie Casci, dumbarton owner of a coffee shop, gigli, when he performs in Glasgow.
Charlie was an old Italian exile, whom many considered the quietest man on earth. He so seldom spoke a word that he did not. Charlie became so impassioned though by what happened on stage that he stood up and broke into song during the performance.
A favorite story involves his friend, Alastair Wright. As a bet they tried to hitchhike to Paris in just two days. Stopping off at a roadside cafe, when some shady looking characters came in and started eyeing up their back packs … and their wallets.
A large, Russian-looking Englishman helpfully advised them to get out of the place quickly as the group was plotting to rob them – and they did so smartly by a rear window. Guido and Alastair were forever grateful.
Guido completed his National Service and Served in the Intelligence Corps and later life proudly blamed the regimental badge on it.
Monica MacLean married Monica MacLean in 1960 and together they have six children. They are in Castlehill, in the west end of Dumbarton, where the entire community benefits from its commitment to the local area.
Guido encouraged youth football in Dumbarton, Bogots ground, and he was instrumental in setting up the amateur Sunday Football League and in the Porciani Cup, which he sponsored for about 20 years.
Guido's son, Mark said: "What a shining example of what happens when you build a housing estate without proper amenities. His shop was a community hub. "
Guido's good work was recounted by Dumbarton Town Council when the shop closed in 1990 and a civic reception was given in his honor. That civic reception was a Porcianis, who had many family gatherings and parties during the 30 years of his retirement.
The Catholic faith played in Guido's life. For over five decades he is a Minister of Welcome to St Patrick's in Dumbarton and a representative on the Archdiocesan Committee. So what about ecumenist who was a member of Churches Together.
Son Mark said: "Thanks to Dad we are very good at repairing hymn books. The church was struggling to afford new books in the early 2000s, so Dad would bring the damaged ones home and repair them. "
He contributed to the community of Dumbarton playing active role in many local committees. He was Chairman of Willox Park. Ben View in Strathleven Place as a community resource.
However, Dumbarton Common Constitution, as a leading member of "Common Cause"
Guido's education at the university of life had never satisfied him, and gave him the opportunity to realize his life-long dream to study at a real university, the University of Strathclyde. He chose Italian and Scottish History and made a lasting impression on his lecturers, gaining a BA in Social Sciences.
Guido Porciani, who died peacefully at Balquidder nursing home in Alexandria, is survived by his wife, Monica and children, Monica, Ralph, Rhona, Clare, Nicola and Mark; and 13 grandchildren.