Obituary: Paletta patriarch who built business empire from nothing dies at 87

The patriarch of the Paletta business family has died.

Pasquale “Pat” Paletta, who built up the family’s empire after emigrating from Italy to Canada in 1949, died Wednesday at 87.

His humble beginnings led to the creation of a multifaceted corporation his “boys” will continue to grow, said son Angelo.

“I think he was Julius Caesar incarnate,” he said. “He never wanted to stop building the empire.”

After first settling in northern Ontario, Paletta came to Hamilton with his family in 1951 and worked in several meat stores. In 1953, he purchased his first animal, and “this was the beginning of the empire,” his obituary reads.

The following year, Paletta, his father and his brothers built their first meat-packing plant in Hannon, and in 1964, they purchased a property in Burlington where they opened a federally inspected meat-packing plant. By 1983, he had built the business up to become the largest private meat packer in Eastern Canada.

Over that time, Paletta also started a beef feedlot and crop production to supply livestock to the plant and fed cattle in Western Canada and the United States.

In Italy, his family had been “very well-off,” but most of that wealth had vanished before he left, Angelo said. It was his drive to rebuild that prosperity when he moved to Canada.

Paletta — a driven, family man — wanted all of his “boys” to work with him at Paletta International.

“To the day he passed, he wanted to be called, asked how things were going, if we needed any help,” said an emotional Angelo.