John Joseph “Jack” Gardella Jr., 76, of Jamestown, died Jan. 2, 2018, of lung cancer. Jack was born April 26, 1941, in Sonora.
Jack was a fourth-generation descendant of the Sanguinetti family who settled in Tuolumne County in the late 1800s, establishing their gardens where the Crossroads Shopping Center is today. His main passions were family and ranching, which he saw as going hand in hand. He graduated from Sonora Elementary and Sonora High schools, where he played football and baseball. One of his proudest accomplishments came in 1952 when he became bat boy for the award-winning Sonora Quarterback All Stars (picture in The Union Democrat Aug. 16, 1952). He went on to coach his own winning Little League teams, then again as assistant for his son John. In high school he was very active in FFA and continued to support the program his entire life. Jack believed strongly in the importance of agriculture and saw ranchers as stewards of the earth. He read, attended conferences, and put into practice the ways various ranching methods might help the environment. In the past 15 years he worked hard to find ways to get locally grown meats from producer to consumer, becoming a developer and partner in Rawhide Meats and then opening a restaurant called “The Homeplace” with his children in his childhood home. He continued thinking “outside the box” until his unexpected death.
Jack was preceded in death by his parents, Jack (2007) and Gloria (2009) Gardella; his brother, David (2003); sister, Linda Cassinetto (2011); and daughter, Gina (1970).
He leaves behind his wife of 54 years, Tricia, of Jamestown; daughters, Michelle Keefe and Jodi Richey, and son, John, all of Jamestown; seven grandchildren (his Magnificent Seven), CJ Richey, of Dutch Flat, Jack Gardella IV, of Rohnert Park, Jimmy Keefe, of Jamestown, Garret Richey, of Jamestown, Angela Gardella, of Jamestown, Riley Richey, of Denver, and Joe Keefe, of Jamestown; one great-grandson, Brody; and granddaughter-in-law, Jessica Richey, of Dutch Flat; plus daughter-in-law, Sarah Gardella, and son-in-law, Craig Richey, both of Jamestown.
A mass will celebrated at 11 a.m. Friday, Jan. 12, 2018, at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Sonora. A celebration of his life will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 13, 2018, at the arena on his beloved Montezuma Ranch. Dress warm.
Donations may be made to The Jack and Gina Marie Gardella Memorial Fund at The Sonora Area Foundation. Please make checks payable to Sonora Area Foundation with “Jack and Gina Marie Gardella Memorial Fund” in the memo line.