November 10, 1925 - June 28, 2019
John Gainza, 93, died peacefully on Friday, June 28, 2019 in Yountville, CA. He was surrounded by his family. John, a Stockton, CA native, was born November 10, 1925 to Basque immigrant parents Andres Gainza and Jesusa Uriarte Gainza. He was captain of the Stockton High Tarzans' winning football team of 1943, leading them to a perfect season and a Sac-Joaquin championship. The team was later inducted into the Stockton Athletic Hall of Fame. John joined the army in 1944. Wounded in Okinawa, Japan, he was awarded the Purple Heart and Bronze Star.
Returning to Stockton, John managed and eventually owned Jessie's place, a Basque hotel, bar and restaurant established by his mother. He sold Jessie's and spent his career in the retail food and beverage industry, at one time owning Nor Cal distributing.
John was a passionate sports athlete, fan and promoter. He played city league baseball and basketball into his 40s, then golfed twice per week well into his 80s. He was a founding member of the Jesters' Club, an organization which supports high school athletics with scholarships. He also supported the UOP Tigers basketball team. His community activities included service on the San Joaquin County Grand Jury. Gregarious and fun loving, he cultivated a wide circle of friends in Stockton and Lodi. He and Lois relocated to Yountville in 2013 where they continued to enjoy new friendships.
John is preceded in death by his parents, Andres and Jesusa Gainza and his brother Andy Gainza.
John is survived by his loving wife, Lois, children Linda Lucaccini (Anthony), David Gainza (Kim), and Craig Gainza (Sandy), grandchildren Jennifer McCormick (Aidan), John Gainza, Allison Gainza, Emmy Gainza, and Annie Gainza Longuski (Ben) and great granddaughter Lilly McCormick. He will be fondly remembered by his stepchildren Sharon Welch and Boyd Van Noate, step-grandchildren Lucas Van Noate and Hailey Van Noate, and step-great grandchild Brad Diaz.
A visitation will be held on Wednesday, July 10, 2019 from 2:00pm - 8:00pm at the Cherokee Memorial Funeral Home located at 831 Industrial Way, Lodi, CA 95240
A funeral mass will be held at St. Anne's Catholic Church located at 215 W Walnut St Lodi, CA 95240 on Thursday July 11, 2019 at 11:00a.m. followed by a military graveside service at Cherokee Memorial Park, located off of Highway 99 at Harney Lane, Lodi CA, 95240.
Friends and family are invited to a reception at St. Anne's following the funeral mass.
In lieu of flowers the family asks that donations be made to : CFOSJ Jesters Fund, at 6735 Herndon Place, Suite B, Stockton, Ca 95219.
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Cherokee Memorial is honored to serve the Gainza family.