Matteo is our foundation. He was our amazing, wonderful Grandfather. We named our company after him because we knew his name was strong and the word “Matteo” means “A gift from God!”
Our Grandfather Matteo was a bricklayer by trade. He built many buildings out of brick. Brick by brick laying a strong foundation to last through the years.
1904 – May 5th Matteo Summa was born to Colomba Consiglio and
Biaggio Summa in a little village named Ripacandida, Italy.
He would sometime say, “ You know where you were born, but you
don’t know where you will die and be buried.”
1906 – 2 years old or so. He was supposed to die. A new suit and tiny
coffin was made. In those days, one would have a suit for marriage
or to be buried. So, his parents were sure they would lose their little son.
But he lived and it must have been a joyous time.
He would sometimes say, “I don’t believe in Miracles.”
1912 – About 8 years old, His beautiful loving mother died. At that time,
people died in their homes so he was there with her. It was a very sad
1912 – 1920 – He spent part of his days going to school. He achieved a 4th
grade education. In his town it was like finishing high school. He was
great at Math and very smart. He learned a lifelong trade and was a skilled
1920 – When he was 16 years old he left home and came to America with
not much money. He was young and extremely brave. It was an uncertain
time but, he had a trade to rely on and he had much confidence in the skills
his father taught him. He went out everyday looking for work in New York.
He went to the different job sites and asked to be hired. Being only 16
he looked very young. They wanted him to start as an apprentice making
barely any money. He did not give up because he knew he was a skilled
journeyman. After many days, someone hired him and he has always
worked ever since.
1926 – After 6 years in America he returned to Italy.
1927 – He served his country by being in the Calvary Division of the
1929 – He was 25 then, he fell in love and married his beautiful wife
1930 – His first child, Claire was born. His baby daughter was only
6 months old when he came to America the second time because
there wasn’t any work in Italy.
1936 – It would be 6 years before he could send for his wife and child.
There was hardly any work here due to the GREAT depression.
1936 – 1942 – They lived in the Bronx. He worked on the Holland Tunnel,
Empire State Building, and the Waldorf Astoria Building. While they were
living there, they had 2 more children. Geno and Madeline
1942 – They moved to Cleveland, Ohio so Antoinetta could be near her
1944 – 1952 – Two more daughters were born. Angela and Mary. They
bought their first home and raised their family.
Even though it was a great house when he bought it he was always making
improvements. He used all his talents on the house like building a stone
fireplace, and adding glass block windows in the living room. He turned
an old basement into a knotty pine wood paneled rec room. He covered
the plain white house with red brick. He also built a big red brick front
porch and added a red brick wall on the side of the house. He gave his
wife and family a wonderful home to live in. All through the years he
worked very hard never missing a day except for bad weather. He was a
good provider for his family. He had an excellent reputation. He was
always the first to be hired on a building project and the last to be laid off.
During these days he gave more than a few people a helping hand up.
Like his Father, he taught his son his trade, and also his sons-in-law. He
was a faithful union member and attended every union meeting. Little
did he know that his son, Geno, would one day become the president of
the Bricklayers Union and also become a business agent. How proud he
was when this American dream came true.
1952 – The year his first daughter was married. He also went to Italy to
visit with his Father after 28 years.
1965 – 1986 – His last child was married.
Their home was now an empty nest. They moved to the
suburbs. A lot of happy times with new grandbabies almost a yearly
occurrence. There were 17 grandchildren in all, 36 great grandchildren,
and 3 great great grandchildren.
1987 – He lost his beautiful daughter, Madeline.
1988 – Moved down south to Cape Coral, Florida.
1995 – He lost his beautiful wife Antoinetta, after 63 years of marriage.
1997 – Went to Italy to visit his sister who he did not see in 52 years.
2003 – At the age of 99, he bought a brand new car.
2004 – Happy 100th Birthday. There was over one hundred people at
his birthday party. Wow! What a celebration. Also he went to Italy and
celebrated in the mayor’s office as the oldest citizen of his hometown,
Ripacandida. His picture now hangs in the mayor’s office in Italy. He
also had a great honor from the Bricklayer Association “oldest member of
the Bricklayer Union” and his name is listed in Washington, D.C. He
even made it to the Smucker’s Jelly Jar on the Today Show for his 100th
2013 – May 5th Happy 109th Birthday.
The days and years between the dates have been filled with much
happiness, some tears and many memories.
He saw many friends and loved ones die.
He would often say, “God doesn’t want me.”
2013 – July 7th God prepared a place for him. He died peacefully
surrounded by loving family. As he was dying God heard the prayers
of all of us who loved him from Ripacandida and Bari in Italy, Cleveland,
Los Angeles, Las Vegas, South Carolina, New York, Chicago and Florida.