An enterprising, progressive and successful business man of whom Santa Clara County may well be proud is Gennaro Filice, president and general manager of the Filice & Perrelli Canning Company, Inc., of Gilroy. A native of Italy, he was boom at Cosines, August 7, 1890, the son of Michael and Delfma (Bozzo) Filice, substantial farmer folk and worthy in every way, who had the courage to come out to California in 1906, when they settled in Gilroy. Gennaro received but a limited schooling and at the age of eleven became a wage earner, and at the age of seventeen he struck out for himself and since then has gained a great deal through practical experience, a severe and hard  teacher.

He left his native country in 1906 and landed in New York, going thence to Montreal, Ontario and Winnipeg, then through British Columbia, working as he went along and becoming familiar with the conditions of the New World. He then came into the United States and to California, arriving at Gilroy in December, 1906, where he met his parents, who had arrived here the month previous from their native Italy. Looking about the town and vicinity, Gennaro entered the employ of the Bisceglia Brothers, proprietors of a cannery and owners of a ranch near Holister, and he began work on the ranch and after mastering the details he became their foreman in 1912 and held that position until 1914. During those years he saved his money and he and his father bought six acres near Gilroy and there they erected their first cannery, being associated with John Perrelli and his family, who had arrived here in 1907.

Mr. Perrelli was born in Italy on October 26, 1895, and was only seventeen when he joined with Mr. Filice in the canning business, and they have since been associated together, working under the firm name of Filice and Perrelli Canning Company. The first year, 1914, they put out a pack of 17,000 cases of tomatoes and this was only accomplished by the hardest kind of work, all those interested in the venture working from sixteen to twenty hours a day during the busy season in the little cannery on the six acres owned by Mr. Filice and his father.

So successful was their enterprise that in 1917 they incorporated for $100,000 capital stock, bought four acres in Gilroy at Lewis and Railroad streets and erected a small, but sanitary plant adjoining the Southern Pacific tracks. From that time their patronage warranted the enlargement of the plant each season and the increasing of their capital stock until in 1922 it is $400,000, and they handle over 350,000 cases
of fruit and vegetables each season. Besides their canning and packing plant they own 205 acres of orchard, which they bought as bare land and have set to orchard and now, 1922, is coming into bearing. Their plant in town covers over one and one half acres besides the cottages for their help, the machine shop and boiler plant. During the busy seasons they have in their employ from 400 to 500 persons, and they specialize in packing their especial F. &. P. Brand and ship to all parts of the country. To facilitate shipping they have a siding for their own use. The officers of the corporation are: Gennaro Filice, president and general manager; John Perrelli, vice-president and assistant manager; Frank Filice, second vice-president and assistant manager, and these three make up the board of directors of the corporation.
On July 12, 1914, at Gilroy, Gennaro Filice was united in marriage with Miss Angelina Perrelli, who died on November 27, 1917, leaving two children, Delfina and Michael. On November, 1920, Mr. Filice was again married, Miss Clara Bozzo becoming his wife. In politics he is a Republican and he and his family are members of the Catholic Church. Mr. Perrelli married Miss Mary Filice and they have a son, Philip Perrelli. Both Mr. Filice and Mr. Perrelli hold membership in the Gilroy Chamber of   Commerce and unite in doing all they can to help build up the community in which they have made their success.

Transcribed by cferoben from Eugene T. Sawyers' History of Santa Clara County,California, published by Historic Record Co. , 1922. page 

Title: Marriage License File
Location: San Jose Historical Museum
Call #:
Source: Source Date: 2/12/1903
Page: Volume:

2005 Plans for the Gilroy Cannery site