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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