SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. - James "Jim" Gintonio, 65, formerly of Lorain and the son of the late John and MaryAnn (Cherubini) Gintonio, passed away peacefully on Sunday, August 11th at the Hospice of the Valley in Scottsdale, AZ. Born in Lorain on November 15, 1947, Jim had made his home in the Phoenix area for the past 34 years.
Jim spent the last three weeks of his life with his family and friends in Lorain before returning to Scottsdale two days before his death.
His loving partner Joanie Coffenberg was with him upon his return to Arizona.
Jim was diagnosed with lung cancer in November 2012 and fought this battle the way he lived his life-- with courage and self- deprecating humor. A well-known, well respected and much loved sports journalist in the Phoenix area, Jim was honored at the Arizona Diamond Backs game on August 12th with a moment of silence observed in his honor. Jim embraced his Italian heritage, loved all things Ohio and was a lifelong Cleveland Indians fan. Anyone who knew Jim was well aware of his feelings about the trade of Rocky Colavito for whom Jim named his firstborn son. Affectionately known to family and friends as "Jimmy" or "Jimmy G", he was a vegan for most of his adult life and was known for his sense of humor, his kindness and gentle nature, his generosity to others and his love of tofu and stadium mustard.
Jim was involved in a variety of athletics during his school years including baseball, football, basketball and track. His writing career began under the guidance of Hank Kozlowski at the Lorain Journal. At the age of 16, while still attending St. Mary's High School, Jim had his own sports column and his delight in stirring up controversy began. Jim attended Miami University and Lorain Community College but his desire to write led him to leave home at the age of 19 and head out to California where he got a job at a newspaper in Anaheim. Following that, Jim went to Texas where he met and married his former wife Jakey Giddens, the mother of his two sons. He worked for several years in Lubbock and then the family moved to Charleston, W.Va. Following the death of his mother, Jim and his family relocated to Texas and eventually to Phoenix where Jim began a 34 year career with the Phoenix Gazette which later became the Arizona Republic, retiring from there in 2012.
In addition to his life partner, Jim is survived by his two sons James Rocco "Rocky" Gintonio of Omaha, Nebraska; Steve O'Neal (Karina) Gintonio of Boynton Beach, Florida; sister Pamela Gintonio (Gary) Baughman of Dover, Ohio; brother John Gintonio of Lorain; grandchildren Nicholas Gintonio of Omaha; Tyler Gintonio of Texas; Enzo and Zooey Gintonio of Boynton Beach, Florida; nieces Angelina and Maurianna Gintonio of Kentucky and Kathleen Konowal of Lorain; nephew Christopher Konowal of Strongsville and 3 great-nephews. Jim also leaves behind his beloved dog Sonny whom he rescued just days before it was scheduled for euthanasia.
In addition to his parents, Jim was preceded in death by his paternal grandparents Gereminio "Jim" and Palma (Zirolli) DiGiannantonio; and maternal grandparents Emilio and Margaret (Rufo) Cherubini.
A memorial service was held on Friday, August 16th at St. Barnabas on the Desert Episcopal Church in Scottsdale with interment at Paradise Valley Memorial Gardens in Scottsdale.
At Jim's request, memorial contributions may be made in his honor to the Arizona Humane Society or St. Barnabas on the Desert, 6715 N. Mockingbird Lane, Scottsdale, AZ 85253
Published in The Morning Journal on Aug. 17, 2013