Carmela Lina Carruba-Toscano Anselmo

“Big Mama”

big-mamaAugust 26, 1896 – March 24, 1988
Carmela was our paternal mother, grandmother, and family matriarch. She was born in Sutera, Sicily in 1896. She lived a very full life. She and her younger sister Norina, left Sicily November 19, 1919, and arrived in Birmingham, Alabama February 2, 1920. She and Norina were not allowed to enter through Ellis Island due a diphtheria outbreak there.


She married Joseph (“Papa Joe”) Anselmo December 6, 1925. They have three children, Nicolina, Pauline, and Cesare.

Eleven (11) Grand children
Twenty-one (21) Great Grand Children

Carmela’s son Cesare (Chez-a-rey), a.k.a. “Andy”, has two sons, Joseph and Paul. These three are Carmela Winery. Mother Dorothy was paralyzed in an automobile accident in 1963, requiring an extended hospital stay. Joseph and Paul lived with Carmela during this time, and she became a tremendous influence on their lives.

Carmela was known as “The Teacher”. She worked for THE Works Progress Administration (WPA) teaching English, Citizenship, and the process to naturalization to citizenship to the Italian and Greek Immigrants.

During World War II she worked for Bechtel-McComb modifying electrical parts for the US Air Force B-19 Bombers.