Joe Priamo was the kind of guy who could fry 14 eggs in one pan and not break a single yolk. 

Every other Saturday, Joe, his sister Carol Priamo and her husband Chris Motherwell would stop by their mother’s place in Toronto and spend the day. They always began the same way: with Joe wearing his red apron and cooking up way too much breakfast. One loaf of light rye, one pound of bacon and more than a dozen eggs. All cooked to perfection. All for only five people. She describes Joe’s breakfast as a process to be learned and honed.

Died on April 20, 2020
Kitchener, ON

Age 71

“I was the toast person and that was an important job because it had to go with Joe’s eggs and Joe’s breakfast,” Carol says. Her brother was a creature of routine, she says.

“He wasn’t a perfectionist,” she says. “But he aimed at excellence in everything.”

Joe excelled in his 20-plus-year career as a real estate appraiser, and had a renaissance man’s slew of interests: cooking, gardening, golfing and fitness. He went to the gym every day, never missing a workout, and could make even a golf shirt look dressed up. Carol likens him to an Italian Kevin Costner. He never looked close to his age. 

He loved his friends and family most of all, and one way he showed that love was by feeding them. On their Saturday dinners, everyone looked forward to Joe’s roast chicken and potatoes—way too much, cooked to perfection. Joe and Carol would laugh and move through the kitchen in sync. After so many years of the same routine, they had it down pat.

This story was first published in MacLean’s as part of a collaborative project with Canadian journalism schools to document the lives of people who have died from COVID-19. To learn more about the project and to read the other obituaries, click here.