1920 – 2018
Resident of Napa
Born on July 12, 1920, in Salinas, California, to Giuseppi and Pierina Futini, John Joseph Futini passed away at age 98 on September 2, 2018 in Concord, California. He was one of the last remaining World War II Veterans. A graduate of Salinas High in 1939, he was one of only a few to learn to type. As a young man he raised Black Angus steers for 4H. As an early PGE employee, he helped support his family during the Great Depression. He enlisted in the US Army in 1941 where he honorably served as a supply truck driver and his highly sought after typing skills were utilized in communications. As a Corporal he was assigned to a P-38 aircraft squadron in the 13th Army Air Corps Fighter Command from 1943-1945. He used to say when asked if he was a pilot, “I flew a typewriter.” He was awarded numerous military medals and was a designated sharpshooter.
In 1948 he married Melba Lemos of Benicia and they celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary this year. They lived in Vallejo with their three children before moving to Napa in 1965. John supported his family as an 18-wheeler truck driver, but later became a professional landscape architect. He was still landscaping into his 80’s and was hired to design and maintain the grounds of many stately Napa properties. He knew the Latin names of all trees, plants, and flowers. In his 90’s he discovered a new type of rose and received confirmation that this rose was not in the National Registry. He named this pretty pink, fragrant blossom the Melba Lemos rose after his wife.
John had many accomplishments in his lifetime and at his last DMV license renewal at age 95, he had perfect vision and scored 100 on the written test. John was civic-minded, attending many public meetings and running for Napa County Board of Supervisors in 1976. He led the restoration of the historic Old Calvary Cemetery in Salinas, a 10-year project. He traveled with his family to many places in the US and abroad. His favorite place by far was the Grand Canyon. He hiked to the bottom of the canyon with his family twice and once at the age of 67 rim-to-rim by himself. One of his hobbies was photography and his photographs adorn the walls of their home. He was a devoted family man who spent all his time with his family when he wasn’t working. He is survived by his wife Melba, son John S. Futini (Jaime), daughters Norma Saunders (Royce) and Andrea Murphy (Greg), sister Toni Mitchell, grandsons Greg Andrew Murphy and Trevor John Murphy, numerous nephews, nieces, and cousins. He was predeceased by his sisters Elena Bass and Mary Boekenoogen.
Donations in lieu of flowers can be sent to the Old Calvary Cemetery Restoration Fund at PO Box 2048, Monterey, CA 93942. A memorial service celebrating John’s life will be held at Claffey and Rota Funeral Home, 1975 Main St, Napa, on Wednesday September 19th at 1pm with light refreshments from 2pm-3pm. John will be laid to rest with military honors at a private burial at the Sacramento Valley National Veteran’s Cemetery in Dixon, CA. Memories may be shared at claffeyandrota.com.