AMADEO JOHN (JAKE) JACOBELLI
Nov. 11, 1916 - Apr. 21, 2013
On April 21, 2013 Amadeo John (Jake) Jacobelli died peacefully of natural causes at Valley Convalescent Hospital in El Centro, CA.
Amadeo was born November 11, 1916 in Bradenville Pennsylvania, the fifth child of Peter and Josephine Jacobelli. He left Pennsylvania as a fourteen year-old boy to travel around the country during the Great Depression riding the rails, for the next two years, through all 48 states of the continental United States. He did a wide variety of odd jobs during that time including: boxing, basketball, clerical work and working on the Hoover Dam, and the Golden Gate Bridge.
Jake enlisted in the Army in 1936, being assigned to the 11th Horse Cavalry, the last active cavalry of the twentieth century. Jake trained at Camp Seeley with the 11th Cavalry Division in 1940 where he met Rena Niboli. They were married July 3, 1942 at St. Mary Church in El Centro CA. While in the military Jake served at numerous domestic and foreign posts including, Belgium, Germany, and Japan. He won numerous competitions as a top pistol and rifle marksman, becoming known as "Seldom Miss Jacobelli" because he occasionally fired 299 out of a possible 300. His favorite competition was the Armed Forces European Rifle Championship which tested each marksman at one thousand yards. While stationed in Japan, during the Korean War, he was selected to train with Japanese Master Archer Nasu and competed in the ancient archery competition held at the Kamo Shrine in Kyoto. Up to that time no American had ever been invited to join the ancient archery ceremonial. He shocked the crowd by winning the contest after training for only twelve months against men who had trained their entire lives.
After a distinguished 20 year military career that included service during World War II and the Korean War, Jake retired from the Army in 1956 achieving the rank of Lt. Colonel. Moving to El Centro, in order to be close to Rena's parents, he worked for Dorothy Berg in real estate before starting an equestrian school emphasizing English style riding and jumping. In 1960 he joined Cal-Farm Insurance as a claims adjustor. He transferred to Escondido in 1976 and retired from Cal-Farm in 1983. Throughout his life Jake was active in his community. He was president of the Italian Catholic Federation of the Imperial Valley, organized the Imperial Valley Pony Express Run celebrating the Bicentennial of the United States, president of the Spartan Athletic Club, and president of the Dos Valles Garden Club of Valley Center. Jake loved to garden, earning Master Gardener status from the University of California extension. During the last years of his life Jake lived at Lawrence Welk Champagne Village in Escondido CA. He and Rena made many friends and thoroughly enjoyed the people and activities at the village. Jake loved hard work and enjoyed being outside with his vegetables, flowers and trees.
He was a faithful husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather. He was preceded in death by his son Maj. Terry Allen Jacobelli retired, parents Peter and Josephine and 11 of his 13 brothers and sisters. He is survived by his wife of 70 years Rena, children: Lucia (Michael) Murphy, Dennis (Leslie) Jacobelli, Gail (Mark) Fitzpatrick and Ron (Janne) Jacobelli. Brother Raymond (Ruth) Jacobelli, sister Josephine (Dominic) Tarquinio, 14 grandchildren and 22 great-grand- children as well as numerous nieces and nephews.
Services will be held at 10 a.m. on Friday, May 17, at St. Mary Catholic Church in El Centro. Rosary and eulogy will be followed by a Mass of The Resurrection celebrated by Fr. Ed Horning. A reception will immediately follow the mass at Vincent Memorial Catholic High School in Calexico. Internment, with full military honors, will be at Miramar National Cemetery, San Diego at a later date.