John George Giumarra Jr
October 13, 1940 – June 30, 2019
JOHN GEORGE GIUMARRA JR October 13, 1940 - June 30, 2019
John George Giumarra, Jr. was born on October 13, 1940 to parents John Sr. and Florence Respoli Giumarra in Los Angeles, Ca. The only child or John and Florence, John Jr. spent each school year in Southern California with his mother and step-father, Dr. Joseph Messina, and summers and Christmas vacations with his father in Bakersfield. At age 11, he began joining his father for summers at the family business, Giumarra Vineyards Corporation, which years later was to become his career focus. John was educated at Reseda High School, UC Berkley (Bachelor of Science), Stanford University (Juris Doctor Degree and Editor of the Stanford Law Review), and the UCLA School of Business. Having first met his wife-to-be Pamela in December of 1956 through their families, they later began dating when they were both studying at Stanford and were married September of 1965. After graduating Stanford and after months of honeymooning through Europe in a Volkswagen camper, he then joined the Orange County law firm of Rutan & Tucker. He was loving his career there when he was called by his father to help with a legal matter in Bakersfield. He took his vacation time away from the firm and headed to Bakersfield. Though he had many amazing career offers through the years, his devotion to his father and family kept him in Bakersfield. Rutan & Tucker left his name on the door for several years in hopes he would return.
An overwhelming flood of wishes from around the world have repeatedly included wonderful descriptive words of admiration, among which are "dynamic", "larger than life", "charismatic", "icon", "iconic", "Joi de Vivre", "leader", "leadership", "dedicated", "role model" and "mentor".
John had such a positive impact on many lives and imparted his beliefs of "treat every human being with an equal level of respect", "appreciate every day as a gift", and "we are so truly blessed in this life". To quote Derrick Jenkins, Director of Produce Wakefern Food Corp, "John's most admirable quality was his ability to make everyone he met feel important, valued and equal. I am indebted to him as a role model and will do my best to pay homage to his legacy by emulating his character in my own life".
Tom Kovacvich stated "... he taught us all how to treat people, with respect and a smile. In his kind and gentlemanly way he uniquely encouraged friendships between his growers and customers."
John had a passion for all things wine related. Having grown up under his father's wing at the Giumarra Vineyards Winery, he became actively involved in the wine-making process as well as sales and marketing of bottled and bulk wine. He came to be known as a wine connoisseur and served on the wine tasting panel of the LA Times newspaper for many years, as well as the LA Times Single Malt Scotch Panel with Charlton Heston. John and his wife Pamela were honored to travel to the finest wineries of France and Italy with Robert Lawrence Balzar, the LA Times Wine Editor. John's love for wine and great food led him to serve as Chairman of the California Wine Institute, and later to serve on the Board of Trustees of The Culinary Institute of America; the premiere culinary teaching institution in the United States. There he served as Finance Committee Chairman for the Culinary Institution.
As Chairman of Giumarra Vineyards, John began a program of vineyard rejuvenation and varietal renewal. He developed the Chile and South America import program for winter fresh fruit and the Company's interest in two coastal marinas. All of these accomplishments culminated in his legacy and the contributions he made to the table grape industry through his role on various industry boards and committees, including Chairman of the Board of Directors of the California Grape and Tree Fruit League, the Board of Directors of the United Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Association, The Produce Marketing Association Board of Directors and the California Table Grape Commission. Kathleen Nave, President and CEO of the Table Grape Commission said "I truly believe that the success the industry has had in exports is due in large part to his leadership." He has served 33 years of leadership with terms as Chairman of Board Directors and Executive Committee Chairman. He also served 23 years as Chairman of the Export Committee, and sat on the Executive Committee for 27 years. In his "spare time" he helped raise millions of dollars as Chairman of the CSUB Spring Athletic Barbeque since its inception in 1972. In addition to his passion for the industry, John loved golf and played in the Bob Hope Classic Golf Tournament for 25 years. He was also a wonderful host and many have quoted that their "dinner parties and celebrations have reached legendary status". He is survived by his wife of 53 years, Pamela Presley Giumarra, his five children and their spouses, John Giumarra III, Randy Giumarra (Bari), Juliana Houchin (Clayton), Joseph Christopher Giumarra, Jillian Houchin (Morgan), and fifteen grandchildren: Johnny IV, Christian, Matthew, Marcella, and Anna Giumarra; Randall, Malia, Sienna, and Graham Giumarra; Gianna Giumarra; Presley and Campbell Houchin; and Hayden, Harlow and Hollis Houchin. Additional survivors include his "Bakersfield siblings", Linda Giumarra, Nancy Scanlan, Giovanna Mueller and Gary Giumarra, and his "Los Angeles siblings" Joseph Messina and Michael Messina. He was surrounded by those who loved him so dearly as he said his final goodbye on the 30th of June. His faith in Jesus Christ has led him to his home in Heaven.
A visitation will take place on Thursday, July 11th from 6:00-8:00 PM, and a funeral mass is scheduled for Friday, July 12th at 10:00 AM - both services will be held at St. Francis of Assisi Parish, 900 H Street, Bakersfield, CA.
In lieu of flowers, please consider donating in memory of John to: Bakersfield Memorial Hospital Foundation, c/o Ken Keller, 420 34th Street, Bakersfield, CA 93301, CSUB Athletic Foundation-Road Runner Scholarship Fund, c/o John Giumarra Athletic Scholarship, 9001 Stockdale Hwy, Bakersfield, CA 93311 or Fans for the Cure, in Memory of John Giumarra.
- Joseph C Giumarra, Pallbearer
- John Giumarra III, Pallbearer
- Randall Giumarra, Pallbearer
- Gary Giumarra, Pallbearer
- Joseph Messina, Pallbearer
- Michael Messina, Pallbearer
- Clayton Houchin, Pallbearer
- Morgan Houchin, Pallbearer
- William Anton, Honorary Pallbearer
- Jack Balfanz, Honorary Pallbearer
- Jim Balmain, Honorary Pallbearer
- Domenick "Cookie" Bianco, Honorary Pallbearer
- Jim Brown, Honorary Pallbearer
- Don Corsaro, Honorary Pallbearer
- John Curci Jr, Honorary Pallbearer
- Felix Del Solar, Honorary Pallbearer
- Charles Fanucchi, Honorary Pallbearer
- Frank Fanucchi, Honorary Pallbearer
- Donald Houchin, Honorary Pallbearer
- Richard Porter, Honorary Pallbearer
- Randall Presley Jr, Honorary Pallbearer
- Terrell Presley, Honorary Pallbearer
- Harold Taber, Honorary Pallbearer
- John Trino, Honorary Pallbearer
- Bill Wonderly, Honorary Pallbearer
- C Larry Carr, In Memorium
- Lt. James Mills, In Memorium
- Visitation Thursday, July 11, 2019
- Funeral Mass Friday, July 12, 2019
IN THE CARE OF