Silvio Joseph Modena Jr., 78, a lifelong resident of Half Moon Bay, Calif., passed away peacefully on Oct. 16, 2022, at his home. He was surrounded by his family after a long battle with cancer. 

Silvio was born on Aug. 24, 1944, to Norma and Silvio Modena in San Gregorio, Calif., where he grew up on his family’s ranch. He attended Seaside Elementary School, and graduated from Half Moon Bay High School in 1963. Just three days after graduation, he enlisted in the United States Navy with his lifelong friend, John Muller.  Silvio served four years during the Vietnam War and was on the USS Joseph Strauss.

After returning from Vietnam, Silvio worked for the Department of Defense for 33 years as a boiler operator, mechanic, and boiler inspector. One day, while tapping on a cylinder, the tone struck a chord with him. The seed of his future business was born. In 1997, Silvio retired and began his business "I Make Bells." Silvio handcrafted bells made from recycled, high pressure, compressed air cylinders. Each bell has a hand-drawn design inspired by art and nature. Silvio completed his final, and very successful, bell show at the Kings Mountain Art Fair this past September.   

In his free time, Silvio enjoyed farming (artichokes, pump-zinni, beans, and sunflowers), cooking, hunting, fishing, and spending time with his friends and family. Silvio had many dogs and cats throughout the years, but his most recent orange cat, Sammy, became a beloved companion and traveling partner. Silvio’s favorite annual trip was camping at Jackson Meadows Reservoir in the Tahoe National Forest. Every June, his family and friends (and Sammy) would spend a week camping, cooking, and fishing together. He traveled all across the western United States with his longtime girlfriend, Sally Benson, whom he wed after 20 years in July 2022. Sammy accompanied Sally and Silvio on many of their trips. Silvio was also a member of the International Order of Odd Fellows (I.O.O.F Oceanview 143) and helped cook and cater many delicious meals for his fellow Odd Fellows.  

Silvio is survived by his wife, Sally; a sister and her spouse, Gerry (Ronnie Beck); sons and their spouses, Alan, David (Maria Castro), and Silvio (Rachelle Modena); grandsons and their spouses, Antonio, and Gianni (Yulianna Modena); stepgrandchildren Julia, Alexandra, and Luke; and his beloved cat, Sammy. Silvio held his niece, nephew, and many cousins close to his heart.  Silvio was predeceased by his mother, Norma, and father Silvio and he will be greatly missed by his loved ones and many dear friends.

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(2) entries

Jim Giacomino

R.I.P. Silvio!!!! You will be missed, but not forgotten!!!


Your love and bells have touched so many, dear Silvio. Thank you.......

“A bell's not a bell 'til you ring it - A song's not a song 'til you sing it - Love in your heart wasn't put there to stay - Love isn't love 'til you give it away!”

― Oscar Hammerstein

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