A Tribute to Vittorio Congi

In April, the MH Vicars School community lost one of our own to COVID-19. Vitto Congi graduated from our Edmonton campus in 2019, and was just beginning to build his new career and new life. Vitto was a kind and caring man who had a bright future ahead of him, and those of us at Vicars who had the pleasure to get to know him are incredibly saddened by this loss. Though no words can do justice to what his friends and family are feeling, we have collected a few of our memories of Vitto here as a small tribute.

I had the pleasure of being one of Vitto’s second-year instructors and I was always amazed at how genuine of a person he was. He always treated everyone with such kindness and respect. He would come to class early to ask questions or to show me some of the beautiful wood paintings he was creating. He was very admired by his classmates and was always working hard to make theme laugh or making sure he was supporting them best he could. Vitto spoke so highly of his family and friends and had great plans to further his education after massage to support troops and service members of the military. I am very grateful to have met him play a small part in his journey and wonderful life story. May he rest in peace.
-Crystal Dunn, Faculty

For almost 4 years I was lucky enough to have Vitto in my life; for 2 of those years sharing weekly morning greetings.

Vitto was a champion. Not in the traditional sense of athleticism, loud and proud, or even the constant winner. No, in the quiet, fierce and steadfast sense – a champion to those he cared for.

Vitto with staff members Katherine Ward and Corrina Cornforth at his graduation in 2019.

A fierce loyalty to his mother and sister and equally fierce determination to overcome any adversity that may present itself. This was how I first defined and knew Vittorio Congi. A young man passionately pursuing his dream to further his ability to help, heal and empower others. Vitto wanted to become a massage therapist and then complete his osteopath studies so he could serve others who suffered with chronic pain and injury as he had. He wanted to ease others, as he had been eased by his dedicated practitioners.
Vitto joined our MH Vicars family and quickly became a confidante, a cheerleader, a comedian, and a friend to his classmates. Vitto had the perfect joke to share on those dull mornings and hands that were continually being offered to assist if needed.
Vitto was an artist. He painted landscapes that had beauty and depth that gave a glimpse of the man within. He not only shared Bob Ross’ style, but his gentle calmness. And Vitto was soon painting any surface he could get his hands on.
Vitto was always looking for ways to give more. He loved those in his life so deeply that he was continually encouraging and supporting his friends anyway he could. That was the beautiful thing about Vitto, once he knew you he loved you like family. I don’t think anyone was really an acquaintance to him. He’d champion you without hesitation.
If life is a classroom and we are all here to learn from each other, to experience love, to give love, to grow in love by helping others grow in love… Vitto excelled. Vitto didn’t need as much time in this classroom to learn this lesson. Vitto was a teacher. He was one of life’s lighthouses. A beacon that would help guide you and protect you from the rocks.
We were so blessed to have had Vitto’s light touch our lives, no matter how briefly. This man was never far from an eye-twinkled grin. I can’t help but smile brightly remembering him. It’s the greatest tribute to his life, his story. Smile big. Love big. Hug big. Dream big. And maybe even show up in a toga.
-Corrina Cornforth, Admissions Advisor

I didn’t have the pleasure of teaching Vitto but I did get to interact with him on campus and at public clinics, and it’s easy to say that he made a difference there. He was the kind of guy that was so intentional about his interactions with people and it was obvious he was about connection before business. He truly cared about people and the environment we all worked in. He created a positive and cooperative atmosphere and had fun doing it. Truly a good man and we were blessed to know him.

-Kerri Wagensveld, Faculty

When I think of Vitto my mind immediately goes to Monday mornings. He did most of his supervised public clinic shifts on Mondays, and his shift was supposed to begin at 11am. But he would get here at 9, every time. I think it was just more convenient for him.

Vitto and one of his instructors, Jaime De Groot, at his graduation in 2019.

He could have spent those two hours studying, playing on his phone, or even napping on the couch. But instead, he would set up the clinic: he’d prepare the schedule, pull all the client files, and make sure that everything was organized and ready for whomever was going to be the receptionist that day.
I’ll always remember this because it seems like a perfect summary of who he was as a student and as a person: hard-working, thoughtful, selfless, and kind. He loved massage therapy, and worked incredibly hard. He had a long and successful career ahead of him, and I’m so sad that we’ve lost him.
-Robin Collum, Edmonton Director

Vitto and Marci Terpsma, one of his instructors.

I will always remember the first day Vitto came to class. He was at first this shy, goofy, quiet, giant of a man who always had a smile on his face. Vitto was an absolute gem of a person. For a man dealing with so much in his life, he always had a positive outlook. He always had some sort of joke to make me and his classmates laugh. He was inquisitive, wanting to know more, always more, or to understand it all better. I was lucky enough to spend extra hours with Vitto before public clinics or after class to facilitate his learning and in that time, he also taught me. He taught me patience and resilience. I learned choosing to have a good day is always the best choice. I gained respect for hardships he endured all the while maintaining grace and good grades. I learned perseverance despite adversity. Vitto, my friend, you along with our weekly banter and texts, will be dearly missed. I hope you are cracking jokes in heaven!
-Marci Terpsma, Faculty

Robin Collum
Author: Robin Collum