Vale - Guelfo Marcucci – Father of Italian fractionation
11 February 1928 Castelvecchio Pascoli - 12 December 2015 Castelvecchio Pascoli
The world of international plasma fractionation has lost one its most significant figures, with the passing of Guelfo Marcucci at his residence in Castelvecchio Pascoli, in the province of Lucca, in Tuscany, in the early hours of Saturday 12 December 2015.
Guelfo was one of Italy’s foremost entrepreneurs who built a considerable business empire from relatively humble beginnings. His father, Luigi Marcucci, emigrated from the stunningly beautiful but economically depressed Serchio valley to the United States like thousands of his fellow compatriots early in the last century. There he joined the bakery business established by his brother in law in Chicago and prospered greatly. His heart remained in his homeland and over the course of several return visits he married locally and fathered two sons, Guelfo and Leopiero, who were raised by their mother while Luigi continued to prosper in the United States. He returned finally in 1949, sadly to die after two years. His sons drew on their father’s inheritance to initiate their own business career through the acquisition of a pharmacy. Guelfo’s business acumen was clearly another inheritance, as, over the succeeding decades, he initiated many forays, the most important of which were pharmaceutical companies, television networks, and tourism. His ventures in tourism included, most notably, the development of the hill in Castelvecchio Pascoli known as Il Ciocco, which, through a succession of substantial investments, evolved into the internationally recognized five star resort of that name.
However, for us in this industry, it is for his initiatives in plasma fractionation in Italy that we mostly recognize Guelfo’s achievements. In this context, he was the first fractionator in Italy’s history, with a company that started fractionating in 1973. In 2000, his efforts were crowned with the founding of Kedrion, which has its main plant at Bolognana, close to the beloved Castelvecchio Pascoli. Guelfo’s commitment to his region, again inherited from his father, is evident through the constant improvements and investments put into the plasma business in the region, where Kedrion is now the single most important employer. Kedrion has continued to grow in leaps and bounds after his retirement. Guelfo lived to see his company with five licensed manufacturing plants, approaching a capacity of four million liters of plasma, and with established markets around the globe...with no end in sight.
We attended Guelfo’s funeral the day before writing these words. So did over one thousand people who packed the little churchyard in the cemetery of Castelvecchio Pascoli where he was laid to rest. The occasion was very emotional as many people broke down paying tribute to this man who had touched so many lives. Yet this was not an occasion marked by pomp and ceremony; rather it was a simple and dignified service for a father by his three children. Although Guelfo was a rich and important man, he was also embedded in the region and the community he loved, and, as his daughter Marialina said in her address at his funeral, for him money was simply the means to an end, that of serving his community.
Guelfo is survived by his three children, Marialina, well known for her success within the family’s enterprises but also through her activities in community affairs and politics, Paolo, who has headed Kedrion as Chief Executive Office since his father’s retirement, and Andrea, a Senator in the Italian Parliament and one of the leaders of the current governing party. A man who dies in the knowledge that his children have succeeded to these heights is fortunate indeed.
The Bible tells us “The days of our years are three score years and ten”[i]. Insofar as he outlived this allowance by 17 years, Guelfo may be viewed, again, as having been fortunate. But his last years were marred by severe illness, which he bore with courage and stoicism. His inheritance is around us for all to see, and, as was said of another great man, many years ago:
“His name will endure through the ages, and so also will his work”[ii]
[i] Psalms 90:10
[ii]Address by Fredrich Engels at the funeral of Karl Marx, 17 March 1883.
Albert Farrugia and Fabrizio Fabbrizzi