TAMA NEWS-HERALD - The Fontinel family held a reunion on Saturday, August l4, 2010 to celebrate the arrival of their ancestors to this country over 109 years ago. An estimated 82 descendants from 10 different states gathered at the Meskwaki Casino Hotel, Tama, to reconnect and honor the sacrifices made by Gottardo and Giovanna Fontinel who brought the family to America.
Gottardo (John) and Giovanna Fontinel arrived at Ellis Island, New York on June 9, 1901 from the medieval town of Feltre, Italy and made their way to Iowa to settle on a farm near Albia. John was a miner and farmer while Giovanna boarded miners and was a mid-wife in the community of Albia where they raised a family of 10 children.
The last time the family gathered was over 10 years ago, so a special program was created for the evening, starting with a buffet dinner, followed by a family history program and a dance late into the evening. Bryan Banowetz, son of Doug and Janelle Banowetz, Robins, Iowa and a fifth generation Fontinel, provided music on the keyboard during dinner.
Family members attending from the state of Iowa: Doug and Janette Banowetz, Bryan and Nicolas Banowetz of Robins; Frank and Marjorie Fontinel Breja, Toledo; Ron and Ronda Fontinel Burnes, Tama, Brittany Burnes of Iowa City, Cory Burns , Des Moines, Andrew and Angela Fontinel Coe and Dakota, Albia; Ernest and Loretta Corso, Albia; R. Dean and Jean Fontinel, Victor; Dennis and Sheila Fontinel, Toledo; Jerry and Karen Fontinel, Albia; Marilyn Fontinel, Tama; Roger and Cheri Fontinel and daughters Kassidy and Ava Lauren of North Liberty; Tony Fontinel and friend Michelle Price, Lone Tree; Gretta Richardson, Des Moines; Bill Sinclair, Albia; Craig and Vicki Sinclair Buckingham, Albia; Kim and Connie Fontinel, Tama; Gabe Fontinel, Dakota and Novalee, Tama; Tim and Lisa Fontinel, Tabatha Fontinel and friend, Blairstown; Steve and Donna Garwood and Brody Smock, Muscatine, Iowa; Nicholas and Giovanna Fontinel Seitz, Grinnell.
Family members traveling from outside of the state to attend: Betty Fontinel Dawson, Templeton, Calif; Virginia (Ginger) Fontinel Dennis, Glendale, Calif; Rick Dennis and fiancé Tish Sleeper of La Cresento, Calif; Aaron and Cheryl Fontinel, Boca Raton, Fla.; Duane and Paula Fontinel, Benton, Ark; Lauren Fontinel and friend Andy Stegmeyer along with friends Iva Gerber and Megan Knee of Chicago, Ill; Robert and Helen Fontinel, Buford, Ga.; Cathie and Gary Gangwer, Rossville, Ind; Lucia Fontinel Merazka, Malden, Maine; Dorothy Fontinel Mohr, Peoria, Ariz; Cindy Mohr, San Jose, Calif; Mike and Judy Mohr, Shingle Springs, Calif; Joanne Fontinel Reeves, Montrose, Calif; Leon and Giovanna Sinclair Richardson, Mesa, Ariz; Barbara Fontinel Yarar, Esra and Kaan Yarar, all of Wayne, N.J.
Additional friends of the family also attended: Don and Cindy Steuhm, Tama; Jerry and Nova Ebersole and family, Montour; Lola Simmons, Malcom and Don Steuhm Jr. and friend Brenda, Tama.
The DJ music was supplied by “Otto-Tuned” and Don Steuhm Jr., while Aaron Fontinel and Rick Dennis led the evening as emcees.