The Funny Man

John Sanna (Idaho Statesman)Las Vegas Sun columnist John Katsilometes thought of his late grandfather, Johnny Sanna, as “the Funny Man.”

In his tribute to his mother’s father, Katsilometes compared the Funny Man to cartoon characters with bushy mustaches, like Super Mario from the Super Mario Brothers video games.

His grandfather’s corny jokes and comments from a bygone age peppered Katsilometes’s childhood recollections of visiting him in Pocatello, Idaho.

He’d spread manure across the large patch, calling out that he was ‘Victor Manure!’ a reference to a long-ago actor we’d never heard of.

And:

From him, we learned such phrases as, ‘Heeeeeere’s Johnny!’ a play off his ever-playful first name, and, ‘Hommina-hommina-hommina!’ It was not until later that I learned these call-outs were pulled from Johnny Carson and Jackie Gleason. It made no difference.

The Funny Man fought off old age, according to his grandson.

At his 70th birthday, he played volleyball for hours. At his 80th, it was bocci and horseshoes. At age 90, he bowled a 200 game.

At 92, he died.

He’s gone now, John ‘Johnny’ Sanna, having left on the afternoon of Aug. 6. Ninety-two years the Funny Man lived, touching everyone he met. He was not sick when he died. He was just done playing.

Read remembrances and share your condolences in John Sanna’s Guest Book.

***

This post was contributed by Alana Baranick, a freelance obituary writer who lives in Northeast Ohio. She is director of the Society of Professional Obituary Writers and chief author of Life on the Death Beat: A Handbook for Obituary Writers.