Antonica Usina Fairbanks
See the family tree for Antonica
Also known as Toni
Was born on 22 MAR 1915 in West Springfield, Mass.
Died on 26 FEB 2015 in At 5:04PM in Fremont, California, USA.
Antonica Fairbanks Canova was known as Toni to her friends and "Aunt
Dolly" to her immediate family. There are several "Antonicas" in the
family, so this helped identify her.
** From a verbal accounting by Antonica as recorded by her son Frank J.
Canova, Jr at the Merrill Gardens retirement community on June 6, 2010 **
o I graduated from a private high school. My school was called Saint
Joseph High School in Emmetsburg, MD June 3, 1932. Their slogan was "To
know - To love - To serve"
o I played the piano from 6 years old
o When I graduated I tried to get into Peabody Conservatory of Music
and had to audition. I had lots of anticipation.
o At my graduation Miguel, Ed, Noel (2 of Grandma Toni's 4 brothers &
her sister) and 'Mother' attended.
o There were about 35 graduates.
o HS was run by nuns with a big coronet (head dress). They were nice
and not too strict.
o Music was a favorite subject
o Graduated as "Antonica Cecilia Fairbanks". Cecilia was my
o I loved music - but didn't have a particular career goal when I
o Mother ran things
o Noel loved swimming
o There was not as high an expectation for me because I was a woman.
o Joined Peabody School of Music
o It was enjoyable
o Met new friends from other places - one girl in particular I met ran
a horse ranch - Her parents owned the stables. I kept up with them for
over 10 years following my graduation.
o I took 3 years at the school of music
o At school you offered your talent - but after my time there, my
skills were greatly improved.
o I commuted to the school from home. My mother was alone. My 4
brothers were already off working.
o My brothers (Miguel, Neligan, Ed, and Anthony) had 4 years of
o They were excited about what they were doing and came home and
talked about their work.
o Neligan went to GA tech. He had asthma and was going to school off
and on, but still graduated in spite of it.
o Miguel became an engineer after attending Swarthmore College.
o Ed graduated the following year and picked up Electrical
Engineering. He joined United Airlines.
o Charles was a mechanical engineer.
o In those days, you picked a job and kept it.
o Anthony was a dreamer and took off 3 years to do photography.
o Noel also went to Peabody School of Music and studied organ, however
never completed her degree because she got married to Bill King.
" She used that skill to become one of the first people at RCA victor
and cataloged records.
" She was always disappointed she didn't complete her degree and spoke
about it many times.
Doing what you need to do
o When WWII came, the government ran classified ads. I learned
drafting in night school in Swarthmore College and got a job at GE, the
same place as Neligan.
o The treasurer paid people at the office. I made $35 per week. Prices
were lower so this went very far.
o After a short career with a piano orchestra, I met Frank Canova
(Sr.) and we got married.
** From a verbal accounting by Antonica as recorded by Margaret Kingery
in 2008 at the Merrill Gardens retirement community **
ANTONICA FAIRBANKS CANOVA. Antonica Canova, better known as Toni, lived
her entire life on the east coast of the United States until August of
2007 when she moved to California to be near her son and his family in
Toni was born in Springfield, Massachusetts in 1915. She attended high
school in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania. Her family was very talented in music
and she with her brother and sister were students in the 1920s in the
Swarthmore school of Music that was operated from the family home of
Margaret Hill Walker and Ruth Hill Muncie. After high school Toni won a
3-year scholarship to the Peabody Conservatory of Music in Baltimore, MD
and later she studied at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.
There she earned a Bachelor of Music degree in 1935. She attended
Juilliard School of Music in New York City in the summer of 1935 and
returned to the family home in Swarthmore to join the Philadelphia Piano
Orchestra (6 pianos plus 12 girls) as a concert pianist. She traveled
with this group for one or two years during WWII which was quite a feat
to move 6 grand pianos to different venues. She found it very stressful
experiencing the life of traveling musicians. She played for the USO
She purchased the Swarthmore School of Music about 1940 and for the next
15 years she would teach piano from the family home on Park Avenue in
Swarthmore. The school officially closed in November 1955 with the
marriage of Toni to Frank Canova. Frank was a widower who already had a
son Jude. Frankie, their son was born the first year of their marriage in
Wilmington, Delaware. He worked in advertising for Hercules Company. They
lived there until Frank retired in 1957 then all the family moved to the
northern part of Florida. Toni continued to share her talent by being a
church organist in Green Cove Springs, Florida. When Frank died she moved
to a smaller home in Orange Park, Florida and ultimately to Merrill
Gardens in Fremont, CA.
**From the Delaware School of Music Catalog - listed under Faculty -
ANTONICA FAIRBANKS is a resident of Swarthmore, Pa., where she has been
teaching piano since 1936. She is a graduatet of the Peabody Conservatory
of Music where she held the 3-year Colston Piano Scholarship, majoring in
Piano and Pedagogy with Eliza Woods and Harmony with Gustav Strube. Later
she attended the University of Pennsylvania, majoring in (actually just
studied) Composition under Harl MacDonald and was graduated from there
with a Bachelor of Music degree. While continuing her teaching she
studied Piano with Gordon Stanley and Ernest Hutcheson at the Julliard
Institute and at Chautauqua, N.Y. At present Miss Fairbanks is
accompanist for the Delaware Saengerbund and the Arden singers.
**The following is the wedding announcement in the Delaware "Journal"
Nov. 19, 1955.**
"Miss Antonica Fairbanks Bride of Frank J. Canova"
Well known musician and advertising man to live in Woodcrest after
In our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Church, Morton, Pa., at 9am today
Miss Antonica Fairbanks, daughter of Mrs. A. U. Fairbanks of Swarthmore,
Pa., became the bride of Mr. Frank J. Canova of Wilmington. The nuptial
mass was celebrated by the Rev. Peter J. Cruise. Altar boys were Paul C.
Tigue, Jr. of Wilmington and Michael Fairbanks of Swarthmore, a nephew
of the bride.
Mrs. William H. King of Glenn Falls, N.Y. was matron of honor for her
sister. Mr. Canova's son, Mr. Jude T. Canova was best man. Ushers were
Mr. Anthony M. Fairbanks, brother of the bride, of Swarthmore, and Mr.
James Durbrow of Wilmington.
Mr. Charles M. Fairbanks of Havertown, Pa., escorted his sister. She wore
a street length dress of Dior blue satin with matching hat and carried a
prayer book with white camelias and streamers.
Mrs. King was dressed in lavender taffeta with matching feathered hat and
corsage of white camellias.
Solos were given by Mr. William Killhour of Devon, Pa.
A wedding breakfast for relatives and out-of-town guests followed at the
Ingleneuk, Swarthmore. The couple will reside at 607 Curtis Avenue,
Woodcrest, after a wedding trip to Virginia.
Mrs. Canova is well known in music circles both in this city and
Swarthmore. She teaches piano at Delaware School of Music and conducts a
studio in Swarthmore. Mr. Canova is the advertising department manager at
Hercules Powder Company.
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