By ZEINAB NAJM
DEARBORN — Virginia Errigo died at the age of 89 on June 14, but her passion for baking will live on for generations to come through Capri Bakery, founded in 1973.
The bakery, at 4832 Greenfield Road, closed its doors on June 18 and 19 to pay respects to Errigo.
“It is with great sadness we announce the passing of Virginia Errigo, the woman who started it all,” a June 16 bakery Facebook post read. “In 1973, she opened Capri Italian Bakery and due to her strong work ethic and savvy business skills it has become the local icon we all know and love. Virginia always greeted her customers with a smile and a warm welcome. She will be greatly missed.”
Visitation was held on June 18 at Stanley Turowski Funeral Home, 25509 W. Warren in Dearborn Heights, and mass took place June 19 at St. Alphonsus-St. Clement Parish Church, 13540 Gould.
Virginia Errigo is survived by her four children, Gary, Greg, John Jr., and Annette Boccarossa; 11 grandchildren; and seven great-grandchildren.
John Errigo Jr. worked part-time to help his parents in the early years of the bakery, and now owns the bakery with his wife, Ronda.
Their son, Caleb, is a fourth generation addition to the bakery, working as a master baker, according to the Capri Bakery website.
The bakery serves some of its classic creations while integrating new items to he menu. Items include cinnamon raisin or garlic cheddar onion speciality breads, cookies, pastries and pies all hand-made and prepared from scratch.
Although Virginia Errigo retired when she was 79, her famous pepperoni rolls and pizza she added to the bakery’s bread making are a staple for customers.
Virginia Errigo opened the bakery with her late husband, John Errigo, and gained experience by working from the age of 10 at Roma Bakery in Detroit, founded by her father Hugo Imperi.
Roma Bakery is where Virginia Errigo met her husband, who worked at Ford Motor Co. and was a regular customer.
“I started helping at the age of 10,” she said in 2016. “I was the ‘jumper’ from the bread truck and delivered bread directly to the doors of customers’ homes. I also learned how to make the dough. Those were the days when we didn’t measure anything. Everything was made in batches.”
Virginia Errigo and her four siblings helped at Roma Bakery where they learned the business, leading to her brother Gino Imperi opening Italia Bakery, 5717 Schaefer Road, six months before Capri Bakery opened.
Hugo Imperi grew up in the small village of Montorio, Italy, near Rome, and immigrated to America at a very young age before serving in the Army, according to the Capri Bakery website.
He went back to Italy, married his wife, Algeria, retuned to the United States, had five children and opened Roma Bakery in 1930. Hugo Imperi sold bread wholesale to local restaurants and markets along with delivery to houses, and expanded by buying bigger buildings and selling retail at the bakery, the Capri Bakery website said.
(Zeinab Najm can be reached at [email protected])