WARWICK, R.I. (WPRI) — Vincent Confreda drove a tractor until he was 90 years old.
Vincent, owner of the Rhode Island staple Confreda Greenhouses & Farms, died Saturday after battling skin cancer at the age of 93.
“He would be [driving a tractor] now if he could,” his son, Vinny, said.
The Confreda family began farming in Cranston and Warwick in 1922. Vincent and his brother John took over for their parents in 1957. The farm later expanded into a farmer’s market and garden center in 1997.
The Confredas told 12 News they’re grateful for the outpouring of support from the community, other farms, and markets.
Vinny and his wife Lori described the late Vincent as humble, hard-working, and a problem solver. Vincent considered the farm and community his family.
“Makes me so proud that he was my dad,” Vinny said.
The farm sold flowers and started growing produce in the spring. The produce lasted them through the fall, when they would host their Fall Fest.
“He loved watching the joy the farm brought to families,” Lori said of her father-in-law.
Story continues below slideshow.
Despite winter putting a pause on farming each year, Vincent didn’t consider it time for rest. He would plow snow and produce mulch during the cold months.
“He was a workaholic,” Lori said.
The farm celebrated its 100th anniversary last September. Vinny will continue running the farm alongside the fourth generation of the Confreda family.
Vinny said his father asked to be buried with his tractor — and the family is honoring that wish. They’re burying the shift handle of Vincent’s original 1941 tractor with him.
Confreda leaves behind his wife of 67 years, Hermine Confreda; his son Vinny; his sister Marie Andrade; and his grandchildren: Vinny Jr., Corey, Jonathan, and Lucas.
The family said Hermine, who was hospitalized at the time of Vincent’s death, held his hand until the last moment.
According to Vincent’s obituary, the Providence native met Hermine while serving overseas. The pair met at a servicemen’s dance hall in Austria three weeks before he was slated to return to the United States.
“He loved to tell the story,” the obituary read. “He said, ‘I’ll be back to get you.’ She said, ‘I don’t believe you.’ Well, anyone that knew Vincent can vouch that he was a man of his word. Hence, the third- and fourth-generation farmers were born.”
Vincent’s funeral will be held Saturday at 8:45 a.m. and is open to the public, according to his obituary.