John F. Aquila Sr., 91, passed away on Oct. 25, 2012, surrounded by his family. He was preceded in death by his wife of 49 years, Angelina Melo Aquila. John was born in Weed, Calif. on Nov. 28, 1920. He was the eldest of four children born to Maria Luisa and Vincenzo Aquila. His brothers, Joe and Louie, and sister Rose, also preceded him in death.
During World War II, he served in the U.S. Army. After his service, he became a lifetime member of the American Legion and served as commander of St. Helena Post #199. For the majority of his working life, he was in the movie theater business, first as manager of the Weed Theater, and then as owner and operator of the Roxy Theatre in St. Helena. After closing the Roxy Theatre in 1976, John became executive director of public relations for Charles Krug Winery, until his retirement.
John was very active in civic affairs in both of the communities in which he lived. He served as a founding committee member for incorporation in Weed. In 1981, he received the Weed Hometown Citizen Award for that service. After moving to St. Helena, he served on the St. Helena Planning Commission, as a City Council member from 1959 to 1976, and served as mayor for nine of those years. In 1988, he was elected to another two years as mayor.
During his tenure on the City Council, he and his wife, Angie, became concerned about the condition of the "electroliers" from the 1915 Exposition that grace Main Street in St. Helena. Their efforts have preserved these St. Helena symbols for future generations. John was also very active in both professional, lodge, and service clubs.
In Weed, he belonged to the Lions Club and Chamber of Commerce. After moving to St. Helena, he became a member of the Rotary Club International and prided himself on being awarded for 35 years of perfect attendance. He received the Paul Harris Fellowship Award from the club. He was also a participating member of the St. Helena Chamber of Commerce, Sons of Italy, and Native Sons of the Golden West.
While on the City Council he was an active member of the League of California Cities, Association of Bay Area Governments and Bay Area Air Pollution Control Board. In 1981, he was the 10th recipient of the St. Helena Citizen of the Year Award.
John will be remembered for his integrity and commitment to public service. He was loved by his family and respected by all who knew him. His presence will be greatly missed.
John is survived by daughter Marilyn and son-in-law Jack Doss; son John, Jr. and daughter-in-law Denise. He had two grandchildren, Lyndie Aquila and Lee Aquila and his wife Carnie. He also leaves behind many nieces and nephews from both the Aquila and Melo families. He is the last family member of his generation.
There will be a celebration of his life on Monday, Nov. 5 at noon in The Native Sons Hall, 1313 Spring St., St. Helena.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Petaluma Hospice, Hanna Boys Center, Sonoma, Calif.; or the charity of your choice.