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Celebration of life planned for Sudbury councillor who went missing

A church funeral service for family and friends is to take place March 2, followed by a community celebration of his life March 23
A church funeral service for family and friends of Michael Vagnini is to take place March 2, followed by a community celebration of his life March 23

The family of Michael Vagnini, the late Ward 2 Greater Sudbury city councillor, have announced arrangements for his funeral as well as a community celebration of his life.

His obituary, published Feb. 24, speaks to his love of his family, his devotion to his work as a public servant, and all the life experiences that shaped the man who was known for his flashy jackets and as the “life of the party.”

Vagnini was reported missing on Jan. 27. After searching for more than two weeks, his remains were discovered in the late afternoon on Feb. 13. 

He died at the age of 62. His obituary states his death was from “natural causes.”

Born on Sept. 1, 1961 in the town of Creighton Mine, Ont. to parents Anthony and Patricia (Cayen) Vagnini, he graduated from Laurentian University, where he earned a Bachelor of Honours degree in geography, looking to become a city planner, states his obituary. 

“Instead, he parlayed his education into 40 successful years in the financial sector, after which he decided to follow in his father's footsteps by becoming a public servant,” it reads. 

He served three terms as councillor of Ward 2, having been acclaimed for one of those terms. “Always by his side was his greatest advocate - friend and advisor, Tom Price,” said the obituary.

He was the “beloved father, mentor, and best friend to daughters Alison Vagnini and Erin Vagnini (Michael), and the proud Nonno to his beautiful granddaughter Adora.” He is deeply missed by Leslie Vagnini, with whom he shared these two daughters. 

He is “lovingly missed” by partner Janie Galipeau and her daughters Peyton and Paige, and his canine friends Luna and Winston. 

Vagnini also leaves behind siblings Barbara Vagnini, and Peter Vagnini and many nieces and nephews. He is lovingly remembered by his Aunt Glorianne (Vagnini) and Uncle Willard Burke. 

“Michael had so many wonderful family, friends, and clients with whom he had such meaningful relationships,” states his obituary. “They will all miss him dearly.”

Vagnini served as chair and vice-chair on the Greater Sudbury Police Services Board, and was known for advocating for volunteer firefighter services.

His obituary states that he “championed forcefully for the Maison McCulloch Hospice and was instrumental in the expansion to provide more care to the local community.” 

It states that he “devoted much of his life” to meeting the needs of others, often taking it upon himself to shovel driveways and sidewalks, inspect road concerns, or distribute meals to the vulnerable in downtown Sudbury.

He was the founder of the “No One Eats Alone” community holiday dinner. 

In the obituary, Vagnini’s family speaks of his cottage on Lake Panache, calling it his favourite place to relax and unwind. “There, you would find him enjoying his boat or entertaining the many friends that loved being in his presence,” he said.

His family states he will be deeply missed at family gatherings as he was “always the centre of attention.” 

“His flashy wardrobe was a true depiction of his character and his new set of wings is now his most sparkly jacket,” his obituary reads. 

His family states that although his passing “leaves us with this infinite sorrow, his legacy endures through his generosity, compassion, and the immense impact he had on his community.”

They also state they cannot put into words how grateful they are for all of those that assisted in the days following his disappearance. 

“The prayers and outpouring of support from across the province were a comforting force during a difficult time,” reads his obituary. “To the volunteers, the search and rescue teams,Greater Sudbury Police, and the OPP, the family cannot thank you enough for your incredible efforts.” 

Family and friends are invited to Michael’s funeral service which will be held on Saturday, March 2 at 11 a.m. at St. Pius X Parish in Lively.

A celebration of Vagnini’s life will be held in the upper hall of the Walden Arena (325 Anderson Dr., Lively) on Saturday, March 23, at 2 p.m.

The City of Greater Sudbury is hosting a book of condolences for Ward 2 Coun. Michael Vagnini, which is available at four locations throughout the municipality until March 15.

  • Tom Davies Square – One Stop Services (200 Brady St., Sudbury)
  • McClelland Community Centre and Arena (37 Veterans Rd., Copper Cliff)
  • Lively Library and Citizen Service Centre (15 Kin Dr., Lively)
  • T.M. Davies Community Centre and Arena (325 Anderson Dr., Lively)