James L Gunby
Krystah Carlisle

James L. Gunby


James L. Gunby, 93, of Napa entered into eternal rest on October 6, 2017.

Born January 10, 1924 to James T. and Edna Gunby in Clovis, NM where he was raised and educated. He was a veteran of WW-2 (Army Air Corp.). A resident of Vallejo and Napa since May 1942. Employed at the Mare Island Naval Shipyard for 36 years, he was a crane operator 14 years and 22 years in supervision and management. Retired July 1978.

Dad was active in many organizations (a member or past member of the following): President of Local 731 of the Operating Engineers, President of the Federal Managers Association at the Mare Island Naval Shipyard, Big Sir of Branch 80 of the Sons In Retirement, co-founder of the Napa Ballroom Dancers, Loyal Order of the Moose #468, Elks Lodge #559, Sons of Italy, President of the Napa Valley Organ Club, member of the Local 3 of the Operating Engineers, National Association of Federal Employees (NARFE), Italian Catholic Federation and St. Thomas Aquinas Church.

Dad was a meticulous cabinet maker and spent many hours giving the wood the finish that he wanted, Dad was also a “handy man” and was proud of the many different projects that he did. Dad always said “I will try to do the job before calling someone that knows what he’s doing.”

In the 1960s Dad took up another hobby – he bought parts from Heath Kit to build two color TV’s, an amplifier, tuner and speakers.

At age 50, Dad decided that he wanted to learn to play the organ and took lessons for five years. He had to stop playing due to painful arthritis in his hands.

Dad always had a camera with him, lots of picture albums and home movies. Dad belonged to a poker club for over 30 years, was a very competitive domino player, and avid golfer, loved playing billiards twice a week with his friends, played league bocce ball, competed in many horseshoe tournaments, loved the 49er’s, Raiders, S.F. Giants, Oakland A’s and the Warriors basketball team.

Dad always had a dog and taught his dogs to do many tricks. When dad was 14, his Dad and he entertained the audience during half time at a high school basketball game with their dog.

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Mom and Dad met at a ballroom dance in 1957 and had to stop dancing in 2013 due to medical problems. Mom & Dad shared many wonderful trips throughout the world – they visited 24 nations, 40 states and took 10 cruises.

Dad informed us that he wants everyone to know that he had a good and long life and the love of two wonderful wives- Becky 11 years and Sally 58 years.

We would like to acknowledge the love and caring provided by our angel caregivers Ramona Brennan and Katie Eneix. Thank you to wonderful neighbors, the Pogues, the Schmidts, and Rothwells.

He is survived by his wife Sally and three daughters, Cathy Hart and her husband Daryl (Chewelah, WA), Tomie Gunby (Spokane, WA) and Kim Sylvester (Albuquerque, NM), four grandchildren Lauren Kerri (Spokane, WA), Jake Wines (Spring Creek, NV), Andy Wines and wife Kathi (Lamoille, NV), Kiley Sylvester (Albuquerque, NM), Six great grandchildren Zachary and Hannah Morsell, Jack, Wyatt, Willie and Waylon Wines, three sister-in-laws Norma Gunby (Napa), Nickie Soans (Vallejo), Yvonne Ryan and brother-in-law Tom (Sacramento), many nieces and nephews. Jim was preceded in death by his brother Bob in February of 2008.

The family welcomes friends to join them at a celebration of the funeral mass at St. Thomas Aquinas Church on Thursday, October 12, 2017 at 11am.

Memories and notes of sympathy may be shared at claffeyandrota.com. Donations in his memory may be made to the Humane Society of Napa.


the life of: James L. Gunby
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