The twenty five year old economics and commerce graduate began his first journey to Medford on July 20, 1963. Upon his arrival in Washington, D.C., he had the auspicious and unforgettable experience of meeting Robert Kennedy. Enrico arrived in Medford on August 5, 1963 after a five day bus trip across the United States and immediately began a mission of friendship that lives on today. He stayed with several Medford families during his stay including the Orr family, the Skyrman family and Lloyd and Ann Bishop. The Bishops lived across the street from former Medford Mayor, John Snider who had played a key role in bringing Medford and Alba together in 1960. From this fortuitous beginning, neither Enrico nor John Snider could have imagined the lasting friendship that was born and the very special relationship between the Demaria and Snider families that endures today.
Enrico’s charm, his winning smile and flawless command of English allowed him to readily make new friends and build enthusiasm for Medford’s link with Alba. Thanks to Enrico’s three week stay in Medford, the activity between Medford and Alba gained momentum. Shortly after meeting Enrico, John Snider made his first trip to Alba accompanied by his wife Elsie and daughter Mary Ann. Looking through the Snider family photos of this trip it is hard to miss the ever present smiling face of Enrico.
Enrico’s visit paved the way for a delegation of eleven Alba citizens who visited Medford the following year. Among the group was Enrico’s brother, architect Valerio Demaria who was later to have another special connection with the Snider family. In 1997 Enrico’s brother Enzo Demaria led a delegation to Medford as Alba’s mayor. Enzo returned in 2010 to join the celebration of the fiftieth anniversary of Medford and Alba joining as sister cities.
The many friends that Enrico enticed to visit Alba were rewarded by his hospitality and the unique pleasure of experiencing Alba and the Langhe in his company. Seeing the beauty and rich history of Alba through Enrico’s eyes was an unforgettable experience for many fortunate pilgrims from Medford. Hearing Enrico’s tales of growing up in Alba and sharing his delightful pride in his birthplace was a special perquisite for Enrico’s friends from Medford.
In 1965 Enrico and Biancarosa welcomed their first child, Nicoletta and in 1971 their son Paolo was born. Enrico’s love of Medford and his friends in Oregon became a part of his children’s lives as well. Nicoletta joined a group of students traveling to Medford in 1984 and took part in the ceremony dedicating the tree in Alba Park to her father’s memory. Biancarosa, Paolo and her nephew Giulio joined them in Medford. Paolo spent several weeks in Medford with Doug and Carol Snider in 1997 and visited John Snider’s daughter Mary Ann Edelstein in Vancouver, Washington. Doug Snider had first met Paolo during an extended stay in Alba in 1972. At that time the precocious one year old had already earned the nickname “Terremoto” (Earthquake) for his high energy ramblings through the Demaria household.
The connection between Medford and Alba has always been about people and no one has made that more evident than Enrico Demaria. It has also been very much about families and, thanks to Enrico, the Snider family has been especially privileged. In 1972 Doug Snider had the great honor of working as an intern in Valerio Demaria’s architecture studio in Alba. Forty years later, Doug’s son Sean spent six months teaching in Alba. For one special month, he was hosted by Biancarosa Demaria and welcomed into the Demaria family.
Next year will mark the fiftieth anniversary of Enrico’s first stay in Medford and a time to reflect on how dear he stays in our hearts. Sadly, no one on Medford’s current sister city board had the pleasure of knowing Enrico. This would be a great opportunity to honor his memory and introduce those who never met Enrico to the remarkable young man who gave us the joy of being his friend. The delegation of Medford students visiting Alba next spring should know something of the man in whose shoes they will travel.
In 2000, Alba’s beloved pastor, Don Valentino, who died just a few months ago, wrote in the Gazzetta d’Alba about the significance of All Saints Day. He said it was a time to reflect on the beautiful memories that are the legacy of departed family and friends. He said that his visits to the cemetery on this solemn occasion recall the wonderful times he shared with very special people. He listed a few colleagues in the clergy but made special mention of Enrico Demaria, this from a priest who certainly knew something about saints.
At the dedication of the tree in Alba Park in Enrico’s memory, Doug Snider said, “I was probably the person who benefitted the most from the kindness and generosity of the Demaria family and I am honored to have the opportunity to speak of a dear friend. Enrico was the second ambassador from Alba to Medford, and contributed to forge our relationship as sister cities. He returned to Alba with the hearts of the people of Medford. On the occasions that we had to visit Alba, his enchanting smile and his captivating enthusiasm reminded us that we were always welcome in the city that, once again, was our second home. Our relationship has been marked by moments of joy but also of deep sadness, none sadder that the loss of Enrico, far too soon. Today we are enjoying the presence of many of Enrico’s family and friends and together we dedicate this tree to his memory”.