Sunday, August 24, 2014


Stephen "Johnnie" Ghio

1924 - 2014 | Obituary  Condolences
Stephen "Johnnie" Ghio Obituary
Stephen "Johnnie" Ghio
Feb. 7, 1924-Aug. 18, 2014
Resident of Santa Cruz
Stephen John Ghio, Sr., affectionately known by all who knew him as "Johnnie". He was the second child born to Cottardo Peter ("Trub") and Chiara Angela (Loero) Ghio. Chiara (known as Clara) gave birth to Johnnie at the family home on 309 Bay Street. He spent his childhood, adolescence and early adulthood living near and close to his extended family on the Westside of Santa Cruz. 
Johnnie had two sisters, Victoria (Torchio) and Stella (Kachel), whom he loved very much. Stella still remembers how Johnnie always tried to make her laugh – and regularly succeeded. He had a rich and animated sense of humor. Johnnie was especially close, in age and in companionship, to his first cousin Gilda Stagnaro, who was one month younger that he. Johnnie and Gilda grew up
together in the Italian "barranca" and, despite their busy lives as adults, spoke with each other every day. Gilda's restaurant on the wharf was a place of comfort, laughter, hard work and camaraderie for Johnnie and his future family.
Johnnie grew up in the Italian fishing community, working with his father part-time at a young age. After graduating from Santa Cruz High School in 1942, Johnnie went to work full time on his father's boat, the "Sonny Boy." Johnnie shared many colorful stories about fishing with his father. 
In 1957, Johnnie started a new career as a car salesman working for Don
Starr Oldsmobile. He often said, "When the sardines quit, I quit." In 1959, Johnnie met and married his beautiful wife, Kathleen Layne. Johnnie and Kathleen were married on November 10,1959, and celebrated 54 years of marriage together. They raised three children, Debra Ghio (White), Stephen John Ghio, Jr. and Donald Ghio. Johnnie was very proud of his children and their many accomplishments. 
In 1960, Johnnie went to work for Maycrink Pontiac Cadillac, later known as Marina Motors, where he worked as a Master Salesman until his retirement in 2001. Johnnie loved selling cars and, even in his final days, would tell you that he'd still be selling cars if he could—no one who knew him will doubt this! He
was well liked, respected and won many awards over his 44 year career as a
salesman. If you lived in Santa Cruz anytime between 1960 and 2000, you
either purchased a car from Johnnie Ghio or knew someone who purchased a car from Johnnie Ghio.
Johnnie was an avid sports fan and loved the Los Angeles Dodgers (dating back to the Brooklyn Dodgers of his childhood) and the Notre Dame Fighting Irish collegiate football team. He loved to bowl and spent many years bowling on leagues with family and friends at the Surf Bowl. Johnnie was a lifelong member of the Elks Club and a parishioner of Holy Cross Catholic Church. 
He is survived by his wife, Kathleen; his children and their spouses Debra &
Michael White, Stephen & Joseph Fendrick-Ghio and Donald & Jennifer Ghio;
grandchildren Victoria Ghio, Stefano Ghio, Christopher White, Francesca
Ghio, Dennis White and Anthony Ghio; sister Stella Kachel; nephews Donald
Torchio & Michael Kachel and niece Korrin Kachel (Wade). He was preceded in
death by his parents Cottardo and Chiara; sister Victoria Ghio (Torchio) and
nephew Dennis Torchio. 
Services will be held at Benito & Azzaro Pacific Gardens Chapel, 1050 Cayuga St., Santa Cruz, CA on Tuesday, August 26th at 11:00 a.m. Flowers can be sent c/o Pacific Gardens Chapel to 1050 Cayuga St, Santa Cruz, CA 95062. (831) 423-5721. Please visit to share a memory or express your sympathy to Johnnie's family.

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Tuesday, June 03, 2014


A SECRET HISTORY/ The harassment of Italians during World War II has particular relevance today and serves as a warning of what could happen today. Photo from the February 23, 1942 San Jose News of John Perata, 42, third from left in plaid jacket, and Felix Bersano, 44, center in trench coat and hat, both from the San Jose/Campbell area, being led to the county jail. Perata and Bersano are the father and uncle, respectively, of Don Perata of Saratoga. Handout photo. Photo: Jeff Chiu. Al Bronzini's father lost his business and his mother lost her mind. Rose Scudero and her mother were exiled. Doris Giuliotti's father ended up in an internment camp. And Anita Perata's husband was held in a detention center and her house ransacked by the FBI.They don't want reparations, apologies or pity. They simply want the history books rewritten to say that, 60 years ago, it was a crime to be Italian. During World War II, 600,000 undocumented Italian immigrants in the United States were deemed "enemy aliens" and detained, relocated, stripped of their property or placed under curfew. A couple hundred were even locked in internment camps. It's not something most people know about. What happened to the Italians was based on wartime hysteria.Trying to educate people so it won't happen again.The story needs to be told. The current investigation was ordered by President Bill Clinton when he signed the Wartime Violation of Italian American Civil Liberties Act. Finally, the government has admitted something went on. And, finally, too, people are ready to talk about it. Some Italians call this chapter of U.S. history "Una Storia Segreta," which means both a secret story and a secret history.
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Wednesday, May 07, 2014


Marvin A. Ameil

1924 - 2014 | Obituary  Condolences
Marvin A. Ameil Obituary
Marvin A. Ameil
Sept. 9, 1924 – April 8, 2014
Resident of Santa Cruz
Passed away April 8, Sacramento. 7th generation Californian born September 9, 1924, Santa Cruz to Joseph and Mable Ameil. Married Patricia Ann Beard October 20, 1946, Garfield Park Christian Church. Longtime employee of H.H. Ledyard & Company and Santa Cruz Police Reserve. WWII veteran, U.S. Army, wounded and decorated in Pacific Theater of Operations, Northern Solomons, Bougainville. Numerous awards and citations including Purple HeartBronze Star Medal, WWII Victory Medal.
Preceded by wife, Patricia and sister, Verna Ameil Whitaker. Survived by son, Richard Ameil (Dean); daughters, Janet (George) Arnott and Judi (Tom) Vlassis; grandchildren, Melanie (Mike) O'Connor, Jamie (Lannis) Pope, George (Abby) Arnott, Jr., and Ashley (Curtis) Knight; and nine great grandchildren.
Memorial service May 8, 2:00 p.m. Santa Cruz Memorial Mission Chapel.

Ivano says (Cont'd): Pictured below is Marvin Ameil as a Santa Cruz Police Reserve working the Santa Cruz Boardwalk.      
 And pictured below, (center, on the drums) is Marvin's father, Figlio della Costa (Son of the Coast), Joseph "Black Joe" Ameil with his band, performing on a Santa Cruz North Coast Ranch.  The occasion was my father's (Gervasio "Bronco" Comelli) going away party in 1931.  My father was returning to Italy to find hinself a bride (my mother Valentina Bressani). My father is the fellow center left, front row, with bow tie.

Addio Marvin Ameil. Until we all meet again, "Across il Ultimo Ponte" (The last Bridge).

Sunday, February 23, 2014


IVANO SAYS: Appearing below is a REMEMBRANCE  of  KAREN SUE MARCUM as it appeared in the Santa Cruz Sentinel :  .  Karen was the beloved daughter of Sandi (Moro) and Dave Stoltenkamp.  Sandi is Donna (Moro) Comelli's (my brother John's wife) sister.

Karen Sue Marcum
August 21, 1961 - February 16, 2014
Resident of Capitola
A celebration for the life of Karen Marcum is planned for March 8th in Santa Cruz. Karen passed away on February 16, 2014 at the Capitola home she shared with Fiance Olaf Geffken. Born in San Diego County she was age 13 when she moved to Santa Cruz and became a beloved member of the Stoltenkamp Moro family.
Karen was a dedicated and industrious worker, with her first job at her Aunt Alta's and Uncle Emo's fish and chip's restaurant on Mission Street. She also worked as a fill-in Hostess at Tiny's restaurant in Capitola were she was affectionally known as "Boom Boom" by the regular customers. 
Karen was a familiar face in the Santa Cruz Banking Community, with her career spanning over 36 years. At the age of 16, and still attending Harbor High School, she started her career with County Bank of Santa Cruz filing checks at the Watsonville Branch. Her first promotion was opening new accounts at the Eastside Branch on Soquel Avenue. In 1987 she started her long association with Bank of The West working at the downtown Santa Cruz branch as a Financial Services Representative. In 1991 she was promoted to Financial Service Officer and in 1995 she was promoted to branch Sales Manager.
In 2005, Karen joined a new banking team at Santa Cruz County Bank as Vice President Relationship Manager. Although the bank was new many of her fellow employees had known or worked with her before. In 2007 with a group of amazing employees she opened the Capitola office known as "Karen's Branch". In 2013 her title changed to Vice President Regional Relationship Manager.
Karen loved her work and brought with her a joyfulness which attracted employees and customers alike. 
Karen served as chairperson for numerous charity golf tournaments ranging from the March of Dimes, to needs for the homeless community. 
Well know to Santa Cruz merchants, Karen possessed the unique ability to convince merchants to donate goods or services for her popular golf tournaments, sometimes refusing to leave a store without a donation. Her enthusiastic spirit and compassionate nature got all of her friends to open their wallets. In 2001, her first golf tournament was an instant success and raised over $20,000.
Karen was very active in the community, she was a member of Kiwanis – Capitola and the Santa Cruz Chamber of Commerce as well as the Santa Cruz Downtown Association.
In her 20's and 30's Karen played in co-ed soccer and softball leagues. Watching some big guy fall to his knees after colliding with her was always the highlight of every soccer game. She loved to play golf and when her health was good she was a fixture at DeLavega Golf course, always walking the course never riding in the cart. She had a sweet swing and could smack that little white ball down the fairway for yards and yards. 
She will be remembered for her love of life and people, always looking to see the good in others and never judging. Her life was a gift to many, and she was especially an inspiration to those that personally walked with her in this life journey. Once you met Karen you had an instant connection and became a friend forever. As family members, we quickly learned that any excursion with her would take longer than expected. As an accomplished sales person she seemed to personally know everyone in the community and could not resist working a room for potential customers. We will miss her warmth, contagious smile and humor which brighten all of our lives. In case Karen forgot to tell you, she danced with Tom Cruise at a New Years Eve party at Pebble Beach. 
Karen is preceded in death by her grandparents, Louie and Enes Moro. She leaves behind the love of her life Fiance Olaf Geffken of Capitola, her mother and father Sandi Jo and Dave Stoltenkamp; her sister Stacie and brother in law Jeff Wenger, and her brother Scott, and sister in law Sarah Stoltenkamp. Nephews Ian, Dylan and Xander. Brother in law Sven Geffken and his children Michael and Kristen. Aunt and Uncle Donna and John Comelli and their children Denise Reid and Crissy Roubal; and numerous loving cousins and extended family. 
As most of you know the last two years of Karen's life were sadly filled with pain due to severe nerve damage after leg surgery. Her babies, cats Peaches and Kimba, comforted her and never left her side as she convalesced. Karen's family wishes to acknowledge the personal and loving care that was provided to her from Dr. Bernard Hilberman, who was Karen's physician all of her life. 
Throughout her ordeal Olaf never waivered in his love and support. 
A Hawaiian themed farewell is planned for our beloved Karen. Please wear your favorite "tropical beach attire" and join her family and friends at the Santa Cruz Elks Lodge on March 8th. 2014 at 3:00 p.m. A private family ceremony and committal will take place prior to the ceremony in March. You may light a candle for Karen and share your reflections and payer with her family at Any kind acts of charity can be made in Karen's memory to The Bay School, Educating Children with Autism, 1026 Capitola Road, Capitola, California 95062, on behalf of Karen's nephew Dylan Wenger.f

IVANO SAYS (CONT'D):  Una vita troppa corta, pero molta ben fatta. (I life too short, but very well done). Addio Karen. Until we meet again across "Il Ultimo Ponte" (The Last Bridge). 

Tuesday, February 11, 2014


John Peter Mondo
May 6, 1937-Feb. 8, 2014
Resident of Santa Cruz
John Mondo passed away on February 8, 2014 after a lengthy illness. He was 76.
John was born in Santa Cruz on May 6, 1937, the son of Mario and Antonietta (Orecchia) Mondo. He grew up in Santa Cruz where he attended local schools and was a graduate of Santa Cruz High School. He later attended Hartnell Junior College. John served in the U.S. Naval Reserves for eight years. John was a life time resident of Santa Cruz. He owned and operated the Coors Beer Distributor with his brother, Herman for over 20 years. He also farmed on the north coast for many years.
He was a member of Holy Cross Catholic Church, the Santa Cruz 
Elks Lodge and the Marconi Club. John enjoyed life and enjoyed spending time with his family and friends. He liked gardening and fishing especially in Truckee. He also enjoyed mushroom hunting and watching football.
He is survived by his wife of 47 years, Nadia Mondo; son, Ron Mondo and his wife, Sandi and his daughter, Michelle Mondo. He is survived by four grandchildren; Anthony, Sophie, Mason and Nico and by three step granddaughters, Katie, Alyssa and Jilli. He was preceded in death by his brother, Herman Mondo on January 14, 2013 and his parents, Mario and Antonietta Mondo.
Services will be held at Benito & Azzaro Pacific Gardens Chapel, 1050 Cayuga St., Santa Cruz, CA on Friday February 14, 2014 at 10:30 am. A visitation will be held at Benito & Azzaro Pacific Gardens Chapel on Thursday from 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm. Entombment will take place in Holy Cross Cemetery, 2271 7th Ave., Santa Cruz, CA. Please visit to light a candle or express your condolences to John's family.
The family wishes to express their deepest appreciation and thanks to Jackie Tucker and her staff from Care from the Heart Home Service and to all of the doctors and nurses for the loving and compassionate care they provided John during his illness. 
In lieu of flowers contributions are preferred to Shriners Hospital for Children, 2425 Stockton Blvd., Sacramento, CA 95817, or to the American Cancer Society , for Lung Cancer Research, 945 S. Main St., Ste. 201, Salinas, CA 93901,

IVANO SAYS;  It seems like only yesterday that John and I graduated together with the Santa Cruz High School Class of 1955.  Addio Johnny, until we meet again "Across Il Ultimo Ponte" (Across the last Bridge.

Thursday, January 30, 2014


IVANO SAYS:  The following Remembrance of Norman Benito was first published in the Santa Cruz Sentinel:

Norman J. Benito May 29, 1931 - January 27, 2014Resident of Santa CruzNorman Joseph Benito, passed away peacefully on January 27, 2014 at Stanford University Medical Center surrounded by his loving family. He was 82.Norman was born in Santa Cruz at Sister's Hospital on May 29, 1931. He grew up in Santa Cruz and was a graduate of Holy Cross High School where he lettered in football, baseball, and basketball. When he was sixteen he got a part time job at Brenkwitz Mortuary (then located on Laurel St.), there he developed an interest in helping people during their time of loss. Following his high school graduation he enrolled at San Francisco College of Mortuary Science, where he graduated with a degree in mortuary science. He served for four years in the U.S. Navy during the Korean War as a Corpsman. First stationed at Oakland Naval Hospital, and then overseas on the USS James E. Kyes. During his military service, Norman received numerous decorations.In 1948 he met the love of his life, the neighbor girl from across the street, Maureen Bregante. It was a love affair that lasted 65 years. In 1953, Norman and Maureen were married in Holy Cross Catholic Church. They lived for a short time in Long Beach until his discharge from the Navy, they then returned to Santa Cruz County where he worked at Mehl's Mortuary in Watsonville. He later returned to Santa Cruz where he worked for over twenty years at White's Mortuary. In 1976, he ventured into business starting his own funeral home, Norman's Family Chapel. Truly a family enterprise he worked with his wife, son, father, father in law and mother in law. In 1993, he sold the business upon retirement.Norman was member of Holy Cross Church his entire life. He was also active in countless organizations many of which he served as an officer or president. He was a fifty year member of the Santa Cruz Elks Lodge, Marconi Club where he served two terms as club president, Knights of Columbus, CPDES, Italian Catholic Federation and the Sons of Italy where he was named "Man of the Year". He also served on the boards of Dominican Hospital Foundation, Santa Clara University, the Boys and Girls Club of Santa Cruz and the California Funeral Directors Association. He was formerly a member of the Surf City Kiwanis Club where he served as club president, the Junior Chamber of Commerce and the Druids.He was a generous man with a big heart and had a deep caring for children. In his life he contributed generously to under privileged children and to Saint Jude's. He was also very active in youth sports including Santa Cruz Little League, where he and others started the T-Ball League for younger children. He also served as league president and coached for many years. He was an active supporter and fund raiser for Marello Prep High School. He was an avid sports fan and loved the Forty Niners and the Giants. In his younger years, Norman enjoyed deep sea fishing with his wife and son on the Stagnaro family fishing charters. He also enjoyed vacations to Clear Lake with his cousins Ervin and Anita Pate and their children. Following his retirement, Norman enjoyed playing golf having participated in countless golf tournaments including many of the Italian Opens held in Reno and the Frank Sinatra Invitational Golf Tournaments in Palm Springs. He also enjoyed spending time on his boat and at his vacation home in Lake Tahoe. He was an avid card player and was a regular at the Poker tables at Bay 101 in San Jose. He also enjoyed many trips and cruises, having traveled to Alaska, the Orient, Europe, South Africa and Hawaii. He also played the trumpet, the accordion and the organ.He is survived by his wife of 60 years, Maureen Benito of Santa Cruz; his son, Gary Benito and his wife Valerie of Santa Cruz; his granddaughter, Emily Benito. He is also survived by Corinne Niven and her daughter Camille Niven, who he loved as a daughter and granddaughter and several other loving nieces and nephews. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at Holy Cross Catholic Church, 126 High St., Santa Cruz, CA on Tuesday, February 4 at 10:00 am. A vigil service will be held at Benito & Azzaro Pacific Gardens Chapel, 1050 Cayuga St., Santa Cruz, CA on Monday, February 3 at 7:00 pm. Visitation will be at the chapel on Monday from 3:00pm until service time. A private entombment will take place at Santa Cruz Memorial Park.

IVANO SAYS (CONT'D)  Una vita molto ben fatta. (A life very well done (lived).  Addio Norman. Until we meet again across "Il Ultimo Ponte".  (The Last Bridge)