Thomas (Tomasso) Bubba died Tuesday, Aug. 23, 2016 in his 104th year. The Italian immigrant was well known in the Sudbury area for his volunteerism, commitment to the Knights of Columbus, and as owner of the Naughton general store and Esso gas station on Highway 17 for 23 years. Born in Caraffa, in the province of Catanzaro, Italy, in 1911, he came to Canada in 1932. Within two days of his arrival in Sudbury, he found work building the Sudbury Street Railway on Lorne St. During the Depression, he worked at the Penage Hotel, well known for its chicken and spaghetti dinners. He was employed by Inco for 38 years. He was among the earliest residents of Naughton, where he built his first home after marrying Alma Grassi, of North Bay, in 1940. After selling his business in 1963, he built a dream home on Simon Lake Dr. In 2005, he moved into Christ the King Centre in Sudbury, where he lived independently until the fall of 2015, which saw his move into Extendicare Falconbridge. Having completed only the third grade, Bubba placed a high value on education and was a pioneer in promoting the cause of Catholic education. He was a member of the first Roman Catholic School Board in Naughton. He worked tirelessly in the Parent Teacher Associations (PTAs) to raise funds for St. Aloysius Elementary School, and St. Charles and Marymount colleges. As a member of the Knights of Columbus, he served for more than 50 years as a Fourth Degree Knight and then as Faithful Navigator and, finally, as Grand Knight. He received two exemplifications by the Knights in recognition of his lengthy service and devotion. Closer to home, he acted as the unofficial and unpaid custodian of the St. Philip Neri mission church in Naughton. He was a member of the Benevolent Protective Order of Elks in Naughton. In 1998, in recognition of his volunteer service, he was one of the recipients of the first Lieutenant-Governor’s Award for Volunteerism. Bubba was married for 67 years to Alma, who died in 2008. He is survived by his four children: Lydia (Steve Jacobson), Robert, James (Veronika) and Gloria Jean, as well as grandchildren Jason (Kelly) and Derrick, and great-grandchildren Ethan, Gracen and Megan.
Bubba joined the ranks of Canada’s centenarians on Sept.15, 2011.
At his 100th birthday celebration, he received congratulatory scrolls from the City of Sudbury, the Premier and Lieutenant-Governor of Ontario, the Prime Minister and Governor-General of Canada, and Queen Elizabeth II as well as a papal blessing from Pope Benedict XVI.