John Norman Boitano
John Norman Boitano
World War II veteran and hero John Norman Boitano, died in the loving arms of his wife, Mary Lucille (Boyce), at their family home Dec. 17, 2012. He put up a good fight but succumbed at the age of 91.
John was born in Sacramento, on Nov. 18, 1921, to Angelo John Boitano and Mary Elizabeth Norman. During his youth, he attended Christian Brother’s High
School leaving his sophomore year and doggedly returning in 50 years later to receive his diploma.
He enlisted into the Army in 1942. He attended boot camp at Fort Campbell, Ky., and Fort Bragg, N. C. Later, he left to travel to England to specialize as a paratrooper in Company B, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment of the 101st Airborne. During the Normandy Invasion (D-Day), he jumped at 1:08 a.m. into a dark sky filled with enemy flak (antiaircraft fire from the Germans) and landed onto the town of SainteMere-Eglise. During Market Garden, John jumped into Holland. During this battle in Ophesden, he rescued an injured soldier whose leg was torn off by fire from a Tiger tank’s mounted machine. John carried this soldier on his back to the first aid station in a nearby windmill. With quick medical attention, this soldier was saved. Don Patton, the injured soldier, remained a close and loyal friend to John until his death in 1985. While liberating Eindhoven, Holland, John rescued another soldier who was shot in the chest.
John remained good friends with this soldier, Charlie Weise, until his death in 1998. After Holland, John was trucked into Bastogne. During the Battle of the Bulge, the 101st surrounded by the Germans were knee deep in snow during Christmas with very little to eat. Each soldier fought steadily without any rations or ammunition. Patton’s army later rescued his outfit from the horrible and stormy conditions. John earned a silver star, two bronze stars, and a purple heart for his service in World War II.
John Norman met and married the love of his life Mary Lucille on Jan. 28, 1956. The two had been previously married to other people and had children. John had two children, Susan and William and Mary Lucille had four children, Charles, David, Arthur and Melinda. Together, they had three more children, Kenneth, Michael and Mary Etta.
After John’s military service, he opened a machine shop with his partner, Rudy Stadleberger, in the tenderloin of San Francisco. They co-owned Atlas Screw Machine Products. He worked as a machinist doing first operation machine work from 1955 to 1983 and then retired to Sonoma with his wife, Mary Lucille. He was a resident of Sonoma for 29 years.
John, during the late 1960s, took up running in San Francisco. He and the family were instrumental in starting two of the largest running clubs in San Francisco: the Dolphin South End Runners and the Pamakids. Running became a daily occurrence for John and his family. They logged many hours running Noe Valley where they lived, Twin Peaks, Ocean Beach, Lake Merced and Golden Gate Park. He competed in more than 40 marathons with his best time three hours and 26 minutes. He also placed a 35th in the difficult Dipsea Race. He later served his community coaching cross country at Mercy High School and track at Altimira Middle School.
John served his community driving veterans from Sonoma to their appointments at the Fort Miley Facility in San Francisco. He proudly displayed a plaque on the wall of his home for 8,750 hours of dedicated volunteer service to the Veterans Department of Veteran’s Affairs.
John leaves behind many friends and family. He was a loving husband to Mary Lucille for 56 years. He was the adored father of Susan Miller, William Boitano (Roberta), Charles White, David White, Arthur White, Melinda White (Darrell Jeong), Kenneth, Michael (Jovita Ibarra) and Mary Etta (Richard Blanchard). He leaves behind many grandchildren who loved him, Rochelle White, Melissa Pett, Janey Stevens, Karen Bagley, John Miller, John Norman Blanchard, Richard Blanchard III and Angela Boitano. He also leaves behind 12 great-grandchildren. He was the dear brother to the late Frances Roberts (John) of SLC and the late Donald Boitano (Maxine) of Dillion Beach. He was also an uncle to Kathleen Leonard, John Roberts and Thomas Kevin Boitano. John also leaves behind sisters-in-law, Rita Bressum, (Robert) Marianne Campos and Maxine Boitano. He also loved his sister-in-law, Marguerette (Boyce) Weil, who recently died on Nov. 20, 2012, and her husband Raymond Weil. Ray died Nov. 26, 2007.
Raymond and John were big fans of cribbage and would play hours on end at the Weil Cabin at Echo Summit.
We are inviting all who knew John to come to Duggan’s Mission Chapel on Thursday, Dec. 20, at 6 p.m. for a rosary vigil. The address is 525 W. Napa St. Memorial Mass will be said at St. Leo’s at 11 a.m., on Friday, Dec. 21.
The address of the church is 601 W. Agua Caliente Road, Sonoma.
Duggan’s Mission Chapel
Mission Cremation Service
525 W. Napa St.
Sonoma, CA 95476