Master Sergeant (Ret.), United States Air Force After a long and courageous battle with various health issues, at the young age of 90 James J. Di Napoli took his final journey home and passed away peacefully at the HyLond Health Care Center in Merced, with the help of the Hinds Hospice in his final days. The family wishes to thank all the fine doctors and health care professionals who attended to James during this trying period. James was one of two children born to Joseph R. Di Napoli of San Jose and Leonie Duarte Di Napoli of Monterey California. He was born in 1923 and his sister, Dolores, a few years later. James graduated from...
Master Sergeant (Ret.), United States Air Force
After a long and courageous battle with various health issues, at the young age of 90 James J. Di Napoli took his final journey home and passed away peacefully at the HyLond Health Care Center in Merced, with the help of the Hinds Hospice in his final days. The family wishes to thank all the fine doctors and health care professionals who attended to James during this trying period.
James was one of two children born to Joseph R. Di Napoli of San Jose and Leonie Duarte Di Napoli of Monterey California. He was born in 1923 and his sister, Dolores, a few years later.
James graduated from Salinas High School in 1941. While in High School he realized that he loved expressing himself and found a wonderful outlet called "Drama Class." This early exposure to the Theater Arts stayed with him all his life and he enjoyed being associated with and a founding contributor to Merced's "Playhouse Theater" for the Performing Arts.
James joined the United States Army Air Corp (now the United States Air Force) in 1942. During his career, he traveled around the world and served in many locations, including England, Alaska, and Castle Air Force Base in Atwater, California, Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska (the head of the Strategic Air Command), George Air Force Base in the Mojave Desert, Seoul, Korea, and Hickam Air Force Base in Hawaii. While in the service he rose through the ranks from RCT Mech Gunner to Master Sergeant and excelled in the field of military intelligence. He received an Honorable Discharge from the Air Force in 1966, having served his country for 24 years. He remained in the reserves and formally retired in 1975.
While stationed at Castle Air Force Base in 1950, James met and married his loving wife Ann F. Stefani. They spent the remainder of their lives working and residing in the Merced area.
After military service James worked for Pepsi Cola in Merced and for several years the Merced County Welfare Department from which he retired a second time. He also worked part-time at Stefani's clothing store in downtown Merced for his wife's cousin, Joe Stefani.
Throughout his life, James was very involved in many different associations. He was a life member of the "Italo American Lodge" in Merced and served as its president in 1981. He was also a life member of the" Cryptic Masons of California," Merced Council #47, the Scottish Rite Research Society #32, the American Legion, post #83 (which honored his 50 years of outstanding contributions), and the Merced & Mariposa Shiners of North America.
James was always interested in learning and challenging himself. He had a very sharp mind and quick wit and was quite a story-teller. He loved to meet people and to talk to and engage them in conversation, even though he may not have known them before. James loved to cook and had a wonderful garden where he grew many of the produce and herbs that he used in his daily meal preparations. He also cooked for the Italo lodge for many years and enjoyed his association with his fellow members. He would share many of his recipes and preparation tips with anyone interested in learning them He loved to play card games and the stock market. As young man, James was an avid and skilled hunter. He was also a big fan of any movies in which John Wayne ever appeared. Most of all he enjoyed taking his wife, family and especially his granddaughters on yearly vacation trips to Santa Cruz to go fishing and have summer fun at the beach.
James was preceded in death by his lovely wife Ann Stefani in 2001, his father Joseph R. Di Napoli in 1978, his mother Leonie Duarte DiNapoli Hansen in 1994, and his sister, Dolores, to whom he was very devoted, in 1958.
James is survived in California by his step-sons, John Di Napoli of Los Gatos and William Di Napoli of Berkeley, James' cousin Jean Enfantino and her husband Rocci of San Jose, his granddaughters Rachel Hardyck of Belmont and Teresa Di Napoli of Los Angeles, his grandchildren Chloe and Cooper Hardyck, his niece Loree McCawley Schmidt, his great nephew Andrew McCawley Schmidt, and Laurie's siblings Michele McCawley Rimando and Michael K. McCawley.
James J DiNapoli (Jim to many) was greatly admired and loved by many who knew him and will be greatly missed. May God keep him in his loving arms. He will suffer no more. A Visitation and recitation of the Rosary will be held at 9:00 a.m. Saturday April 26th 2014 at Our Lady of Mercy 435 West .21st Street Merced CA 95341. A Mass of Christian burial will begin at 10:00 a.m. A Graveside will be held at Evergreen Memorial park 1480 B Street Merced CA 95340. A Reception to immediately follow at Italo American Lodge 18th and U street Merced CA 95341.
In lieu of flowers, donations would be greatly appreciated if given to the Merced Playhouse, 452 W. Main St., Merced, CA 95340.