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Chester County Press

Mario Basciani: His Life, Well Lived

09/30/2020 05:26PM ● By Richard L. Gaw, Staff Writer

When Emedio Basciani first arrived in the United States from the province of Abruzzo in Central Italy over a century ago, his welcome into this country was likely one accentuated by the sound of his papers being stamped and the cavernous reverberation of hundreds of other immigrants speaking different languages, all arriving in a new world for the first time.

He arrived in southeastern Pennsylvania in 1915, and began harvesting mushrooms on the Pratt family farm. After establishing his own farm ten years later, he brought his wife Anna to the United States. The absolute and reassuring beauty of their arrival in America was that although the Bascianis were staring into the empty canvas of a wide open new country, they were chisled from the bedrock faith that hard work and love of family would ultimately serve them and the family they would soon have.

To those who knew him, Mario D. Basciani, who died on Sept. 13 at the age of 91, was the living personification of what his parents believed in. As a second-generation mushroom farmer working in the Toughkenamon soil, Mario’s hunger for knowledge about the industry was surpassed only by the passion of his labor.

Together with his sons and grandchildren, he built M.D. Basciani & Sons, Inc. and Basciani Foods into one of the largest mushroom growing conglomerates in North America. Mario didn’t stop there; he and other farmers began Laurel Valley Farms in 1979, and made it the largest commercial mushroom composting facility in North America.

If his success in business became part of the legacy of Mario Basciani, the other half of his life was reserved for his family – his four siblings, his beloved wife Anna of 70 years, their five children, their 18 grandchildren and their 39 great-grandchildren.

It is not known for certain who wrote the poem “A Life Well Lived” but no matter. As we reflect on the life of Mario Basciani, the words of the poem mirror the principles he learned from his parents, and as a guidepost not only to the life he led, but to the lives we should all lead by his example.

A Life Well Lived

One has achieved success who has lived life well, laughed often, and loved much;
Who has gained the respect of intelligent adults and the love of little children;
Who has filled a niche and accomplished a task;
Who left the world better than one found it,
(whether by an improved poppy, a perfect poem, or a rescued soul;)
Who has never lacked appreciation of earth’s beauty or failed to express it;
Who has always looked for the best in others and given the best one had;
Whose life was an inspiration;
Whose memory (is now) a benediction.