The Contributors

Stefanie Reggio Fell, granddaughter

Biography: Stephen “Steven” Alphonse Reggio (1887-1941)

He was born in Smyrna, Greece, which at that time, was part of the Ottoman Empire, and is now known as Izmir, Izmir, Turkey.

His parents were Alphonse Reggio and Elena “Helen” Murat, who were both born in Smyrna. Alphonse was of Italian descent and purportedly, a member of the Italian militia in that city. Helen supposedly held dual citizenship (perhaps French and Italian). They had three other children: Joseph; Mario (who married Elena Efstratia “Helen” Vafiadi, born 1884 in Greece to Paraskevi Vafiadi and Jean Kariokopoulo, with whom he had Giuseppe “Joseph,” 1917-1967; Alfonso born 1923; and Diana Elena Ulissi); and Irene “Pauline” who was named for Alphonse’s mother, Irene Veneri Reggio (no information), wife of Stefano “Etienne” Reggio (see below for information). Irene “Pauline” married a Sant D’Andria, and was living in Rome, Italy, at least from 1941-1950.

Steven Alphonse Reggio on his father, Alphonse’ lap. Sister, Irene aka “Pauline” at left, unidentified brother? Maybe 1893 in Smyrna

When Stephen Alphonse was about nine years old, his parents moved their family to Cairo, Egypt, because of the persecution of the Armenians by the Ottomans. The family was Italian, but also Catholic, so may they have been possible targets of discrimination. He attended school at a French Catholic lycee in Cairo, called, “la Congregation des S.S. Anges de St. Pulcherie”. He became proficient in seven languages: Italian, Greek, French, Arabic, Aramaic, Spanish and English. He could play four musical instruments, including piano, guitar and violin, but was unable to read a note of music. He was reputed to be a mathematical genius.

Class photo, possibly 1902, in Cairo. Steven Alphonse Reggio is in third row from the top, below the panama hat and above the bearded Abbot. Looks like he is wearing a bolero-style tie.

Class photo, dated 14 May 1903, in Cairo. I believe Steven Alphonse Reggio, is in second row down from top, third from left, with hand upon his chin.

Stephen Alphonse (“Stefano” on the ship and on his marriage certificate) Reggio immigrated to Boston from Hamburg, after spending some time in Paris, France, exploring the opportunity to act in motion pictures, which did not materialize. He sailed on the German-Hamburg Amerika Line, S.S. “Amerika,” departing 09 Jun 1914, and arriving 19 Jun 1914, one week before WW I broke out in Europe. His occupation was listed on the passenger list as, “buchhalter”, that is, bookkeeper or accountant. He took a train to New York City and met his future wife, Louise Bridget “Lucy” Golden (1891-1975), at the first hotel he stayed in, where she was a switchboard operator, and where her father, Michael John Golden (1862-1928), worked as a waiter from 1892 to after 1920.

Steven Alphonse Reggio in 1915-1916, wearing wire-rimmed glasses.

The first job Stephen had in America was at the Irving National Bank in New York City. He went into the bank to apply for a position, and they told him they had an error on the books for over three years that they had been unable to resolve. He said, “Let me take the books home with me tonight.” (This could never happen today with all the current privacy restrictions in place). He took the books home overnight, solved the problem, returned the next day and was hired as a cashier.

Stephen and Louise were married on 09 Oct 1915 at Saint Agnes Catholic Church in Manhattan, two days after getting their marriage license. They lost five babies, but had three surviving children: Eugene Augustus (1916-1970); Steven Leo (1923-1995); and Lucienne Helen “Lulu” (1928-2005).

On 18 May 1917, Stephen submitted his Declaration of Intent, or “first papers”, to begin his process of Naturalization in Hudson County, New Jersey. His Petition for Naturalization, or “final papers,” was filed 07 May 1924 in Hackensack, Bergen, New Jersey. His older cousin, Abel A. Reggio (1868-19344) was his sponsor.

On his 05 Jun 1917 World War I Draft Registration Card, he reported he was married and supporting a wife and child. He said he had a “weak heart”. He did not see active military service.

From 1918 to 1934, Stephen went into business with his older cousin, Abel A. Reggio, who had been his sponsor for his Naturalization, and who, with his second wife, Gena Whitney Ives, witnessed Stephen’s marriage to Louise. Abel had a food brokerage company at 105 Hudson Street, Manhattan, the Abel A. Reggio Company, Inc. After Abel’s death in 1934, Stephen took over the company, which became the Steve A. Reggio Company, Inc., at the same location until his own death in 1941. This occupation necessitated frequent travel, both foreign and domestic, to keep in contact with clients.

  

Steven Alphonse Reggio in trench coat | Steven Alphonse Reggio in 1938 head shot | Color Portrait of Steven Alphonse Reggio in business suit.

Stephen died at home of a sudden and massive acute dilatation of the left ventricle of the heart on 18 Sep 1941. He was buried in Saint Luke Catholic Cemetery, Ho-Ho-Kus, Bergen, New Jersey on 22 Sep 1941. His wife remained a widow until her own death in 1975. She was buried beside him.

 

Obituary of Steven Alphonse Reggio who died 18 Sep 1941 | Steven Alphonse’ father, Alphonse Reggio. Birth year is estimated to be around 1853.

Alphonse Reggio’ father was called “Etienne” but in his records, he was called “Stefano”. He was born 18 Jul 1812 in Smyrna, and the researcher Marie Anne Marandet also found his baptism record (15 Jun 1813 at Saint Polycarpe in Smyrna). In 1841, he registered with the Kingdom of Sardinia and Savoy, under his father’s name [Andre Reggio (1770-1834), who married Maria Rose Daumas]. In 1874, Stefano / Etienne, registered with his wife, Irene Veneri, at the Italian Consulate. He died 22 Jan 1892 in Smyrna.

 
Submission date May 2021