Reuniting the Changet family


The tradition that the Changets have fostered is long and heartfelt.

For more than half a century, the family has held its annual meeting.

When 125 members of the Changet family gather August 5-7 for a weekend of relatives who are now spread across the country, it will be the 52nd gathering in 53 years for descendants of the Nicoli “Nick” Cianchetta, who has changed his name to Changet when he came to the United States from Italy and his wife, Adeline.

“We’ve had a picnic every year except during COVID. We’ve missed a year with that,” said Terry Changet, who grew up in the Canton area and went to GlenOak High School before serving in the military. and later moving to Los Angeles. “We come from as far away as California, Arizona, Colorado and Illinois.”

Organization of the gathering rotates between family members, said Changet, grandson of the eldest Changets.

“It just so happened that this year it was my turn,” he said.

To build a family

nicole "pseudo" Changet, who came from Italy in his twenties, and his wife, Adeline, raised 12 children in Canton.  Descendants of the Changets still gather in Stark County for family reunions.

Changet recalled for the Repository that his grandfather came from Popoli, Italy, in the central region of the country, just over an hour from Rome, and traveled to the United States when he was in his 20s. .

When descendants gather for reunions, requests are made of family members who have traveled across the ocean and established ties with those of the family who have remained in Italy.

“They ask what the parents are like in Italy,” Changet said.

Cianchetta changed his name to Changet after he arrived, and he traveled to Connecticut first.

“My grandfather’s family and my grandmother’s parents are from the same town in Italy, where they knew each other,” Changet said. “My grandmother was born in New Britain, Connecticut. When my grandfather arrived, he met my grandmother, they got married and then moved to Canton.”

It was in Stark County that Changet found work.

The couple raised 12 children, 11 boys and a girl. Another girl died in infancy.

Changet recalls that “my grandfather started a plastering business, and three or four of the boys worked there.”

The eldest Changets are deceased, but evidence of family presence still exists. Nick Changet Jr. Jewelers continues to operate in North Canton, once owned by one of Terry Changet’s uncles, and now operated by the founder’s son.

Terry Changet’s parents stayed in Stark County. Other branches of the family tree grew at a greater distance, he noted.

“With people spreading out and outnumbered, it becomes increasingly difficult to bring everyone back for a meeting,” Changet said. “But, I think bringing 125 people from all over is pretty amazing.”

Family activities abound

Family photos are taken at each of the meetings organized by the Changet family.  This one was taken in the late 1980s.

The activities of the reunion weekend are recalled by Changet in two categories: current pleasures and things done “old fashioned”.

“We used to picnic at Hoover Park (in the north of the township),” Changet explained. “Before, in the 70s, we used to have a softball game with all the uncles playing.”

For more than 50 years, members of the Changet family have gathered for a reunion picnic, missing only a year due to the Covid 19 pandemic. This year, 125 people are expected to attend the picnic in Louisville , celebrating their patriarch and matriarch, Nicoli and Adeline Changet of Stark County.  In this photo, taken in the early 1960s, Nicoli "pseudo" Changet is in the center of the photo and Adeline is on his right.

In more recent meetings, Saturday is set aside for a golf course, this year at the Tannenhauf Golf Club at Alliance. At the start of a friendly family competition, 36 players, men and women, aged between 20 and 70, are programmed.

Friday and Saturday evenings are open for small, informal family gatherings throughout the Canton area.

Then on Sunday, this year’s picnic will be held at an outdoor area at the VFW in Louisville.

“On Sundays we have lunch, talk and play,” Changet said. “This year I’m asking (30-50) family questions. And later we’ll have a raffle.”

Learn about family

This photograph shows the five Changet brothers who formed a bowling team in the 1950s. Other family members also served as substitutes on the team.

The picnic is also where an abundance of family stories are told. This is one of the reasons for the reunion – to pass on the family knowledge.

Many of the younger members of the family may not have heard certain stories.

“We talk a lot about the old days, about uncles,” recalls Changet.

One of the memories of the Changet family, for example, may be a tale retold in The Canton Repository in the 1950s and retold in the “Moment In Time” series years later.

It was the bowling team that all had the same name – Changet. The bowlers on the team were Nick Changet, Joe Changet, Ray Changet, Al Changet and Richard Changet.

Yes, five of the “uncles” — sons of Nicoli “Nick” Changet Sr. — were on a Catholic Order of Foresters League team at Canton Recreation Lanes, an article published in the Repository in November 1956 explained.

“It’s unique because it’s believed to be the only one in Guangzhou (consisting of one family),” read a printed caption with a photo of the team printed in the newspaper.

The bowlers’ father, Nick Changet Sr., sponsored the team.

The Moment In Time article noted that the family bond was strong – even stronger than the bowlers officially registered on the team.

“What if one of the brothers couldn’t make a game? Would his replacement fit in or feel like an outsider in such a family team?” asked the article. “Well, it turns out the replacements came from within the family, not outside. The Changets had six other brothers in the family and a sister who also played.”

Terry Changet’s grandmother died in 1962 and his grandfather died in 1975. Only three of their children are still alive.

Contact Gary at [email protected] On Twitter: @gbrownREP.

Family photos are taken at each of the meetings organized by the Changet family.  This one was taken about eight years ago.

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