Friends, family and co-workers said goodbye Wednesday to a woman many will remember as the Queen of the Downtown.
Gina Caputo will also be remembered for her boundless energy, strong will and positive outlook on life, said friend and fellow Can-Ital member Marina Redmile.
“She had such an effect on people. She was just so positive. She was such a wonderful lady. I honestly can’t tell you enough about her,” said Redmile.
Caputo, 56, died Feb. 21. A funeral service was held for her Wednesday at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Church.
Redmile is one of 500 to 600 people who attended the service. The two were members of the Can-Ital Ladies Society, of which Caputo was a past president.
She and Caputo also worked together through the Colombo Lodge. Redmile is the lodge president and Caputo organized countless events there, not only as a Can-Ital, but through her involvement with the former Downtown Business Association, the Kamloops Central Business Improvement Association, the Kamloops Chamber of Commerce and Kamloops West Rotary.
“She just gave 100 per cent to everything she did,” said Redmile. “The events I planned with her at the Colombo Lodge, the work she did with the Can-Ital Ladies, she was such an unbelievable woman.”
Redmile struggled to provide an anecdote about Caputo, saying her friend had such a bubbly, dominant personality that it’s hard to pick just one.
But it was her positive, helpful and intelligent nature, and unyielding appreciation of Kamloops that earned her the title Queen of the Downtown, she said.
For 30 years, Caputo and her sister Anna Harrison operated Genesis Fashion and Beauty Complex on Victoria Street. KCBIA manager Gay Pooler said Caputo was involved with the downtown “forever.”
“She was a really astute business person and very involved in the community,” said Pooler. “She was really passionate about the downtown.”
If there was a KCBIA function or promotion, Caputo and Harrison were the first to get involved. Pooler said they were always willing to help out.
“She was very much a believer in all the businesses working together,” said Pooler. “She will be missed.”
A client of Caputo’s for the last two years, Faye Fransson found her hairdresser to be someone who stood up for what she believed in.
Caputo was also dedicated to family and helped clean her dad’s North Kamloops home, she said.
In lieu of flowers, the family asked people donate to the Canadian Diabetes Association, 1589 Sutherland Ave., Kelowna, B.C., V1Y 5Y7.