A vibrant, spirited, and fun-loving man with a contagious zest for life, it has been said that if you didn’t like Salvatore “Sal” Canzoneri, Jr., then there was something wrong with you. He was an honest and hardworking man who was never one to be still and could find contentment in whatever life brought. Sal was a devoted father if ever there was one, but he just may have argued that nothing was better than becoming a grandfather to the three grandchildren he adored. He accomplished so much of which to be proud, but his shining legacy was truly how he lived to serve and help everyone around him. Sal will be deeply missed, but he leaves behind a priceless collection of memories that will be forever cherished by those too numerous to count.
It seems only fitting that Sal’s story began during a time that was as colorful as he was. It was the 1950s when televisions were becoming part of our homes, Elvis was king, and we celebrated the additions of Alaska and Hawaii as our 49th and 50th states. Amidst this exciting time was the year 1953 when Salvatore “Sam” and Dorothy “Dot” (Kluba) Canzoneri Sr. were pleased to announce the birth of the baby boy they named Salvatore Jr. on January 27th at St. Michael’s Hospital in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He was the third of four children in his family and was raised alongside of his older siblings, George and Lynn, and his younger brother, Dennis. Sal was very close with his sister while he and Dennis were often fighting like brothers so often do. His parents owned and operated Canzoneri Foods at the corner of Buffum and Wright Streets which was a grocery store and supplier of Italian sausage and meats to local restaurants. This store played a vital role in Sal’s life as they grew up around the store, working in the store, and establishing their own work ethic.
In many ways, Sal was a young boy of his generation. He attended Franklin Peirce Graded School and “Boys Tech,” Boys Technical School, studying general studies. In high school, Sal developed a love for the water as he was a swimmer, who also enjoyed boating and waterskiing. He was an all around nice guy who was social, outgoing, and made friends with ease. After high school, Sal continued working in the family grocery store, often delivering the family recipe Italian sausage to local restaurants.
New and exciting changes were in store for Sal when he met Paula Kowalewski while on a double date with his brother, George. That date led to more dates, and they were married in August of 1977. Sal and Paula were blessed with two children, Nicole and Salvatore III. Although their marriage later ended in divorce, Sal was forever grateful for the children they shared.
According to Sal’s kids, he was the best dad on the planet. He was a very loving supportive father who simply enjoyed doing things with his children including everything from wrestling around in the living room to amusement park rides and coaching his son’s baseball team. Sal’s children knew that he would always be there for them, and he could speak volumes without even uttering a word based on the looks he gave his children. Anyone could see just how deeply he loved his children, and later in life, his grandchildren as well.
After the family grocery stored closed, Sal took a position as a union route driver with Spic & Span Uniform Rental. He was a proud member of the Teamster Union. Sal was a dedicated, loyal, and hard worker who never wanted to miss work. In fact, one could probably count on one hand the number of days that he missed work. In 2005, Sal took a position as a manager of customer service with Spic & Span, working with the company until the present day with over 37 years of service.
All who knew him would agree that Sal was very energetic. He could never sit still for a long time as he always had to get up to do something. Sal developed a great interest in woodworking and made things like medicine cabinets, cradles for his daughter’s dolls, and other various crafty things. Sal was a fanatic when it came to his grass, and he went to great lengths to eradicate it of all weeds. He took a class on small engine repair and was an avid motorcycle fan who finally got the Harley of his dreams this past April. Sal enjoyed the water and enjoyed Pike Lake in Washington County where he liked swimming, skiing, boating, and other water fun. Sal was a good bowler and earned a state championship in the senior division in 2012. He was also a sports fan with his favorite teams being the Green Bay Packers, Milwaukee Brewers, and Wisconsin Badgers. You could also find Sal watching professional wrestling at times.
Not to be forgotten during his fun times on the water was the time Sal was visiting one of his favorite spots, the G-Spot at Pike Lake, where he met his true love. Her name was Teri Kelly, and they were introduced by a mutual friend named Pat McCoy. They began dating and soon fell in love. Sal and Teri were later married, and they initially settled in West Bend, later at Pike Lake, and finally in Cedarburg. Sadly, Teri died of cancer in August of 2010.
Described as the nicest guy on the planet, Salvatore “Sal” Canzoneri Jr was honest, loving, and steadfast in his love for others. He was a people person who drew others near with ease, and he made a significant impact in the lives of everyone he met. A loving husband, devoted father, doting grandfather, and loyal friend, he will never be forgotten.
Salvatore “Sal” Canzoneri, Jr. died on September 19, 2015. Sal’s family includes his children, Nicole (Michael) Palmer and Salvatore Canzoneri III; grandchildren, Gina, Gino, and Corinna; siblings, George Canzoneri, Lynn Okopinski, and Dennis Canzoneri; and other relatives and friends as well as his loving companion, Zeus “Meat Head.” Visitation on Thursday, September 24, 2015, at the Funeral Home from 2:00 p.m. until time of Funeral Service at 4 p.m. Arrangements by Suminski LifeStory Funeral Homes, Suminski / Weiss, 1901 N. Farwell Ave (414) 276-5122, www.SuminskiFuneralHome.com.