James Bazzetta

PEORIA - James "Jim" "Bazz" Bazzetta, 93, of Chula Vista, Calif., formerly of Peoria, Ill., passed away peacefully on Saturday, Oct. 5, 2013, at his home.

Jim was born in Morenci, Ariz., to Giacomo "James" Bazzetta and Annunciata "Nancy" Calcaterra on Feb. 6, 1920. He graduated from Morenci High and earned his agricultural engineering degree from the University of Arizona at Tucson. Upon graduation, he enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps and rose to the rank of sergeant. He served from 1942 to 1945. After World War II, he attended California Polytechnic State University and was then hired as a ranch manager in Santa Maria, Calif. In 1948, Jim married his sweetheart, Mary Rietz, also of Morenci.

Soon he embarked on a 34-year career with Caterpillar Tractor Company. Through those years, he held various international assignments, including Rome, Italy and San Juan, Puerto Rico. He rose through the ranks of sales management, capping his career at Caterpillar headquarters in Peoria and subsequently retiring from the CAT Americas division. He was a CAT man, through-and-through, always saluting the CAT equipment as we drove by job sites along the highway.

Jim held a life-long passion for volunteering and sports, especially tennis. For many years after retirement, one could find Jim on the court, using his wicked slice shots to frustrate many an opponent. Jim was a dedicated volunteer with Knights of Columbus in Puerto Rico, Boy Scouts of America, St. Philomena Parish, Peoria Area Religious Vocations Support Group and Peoria Area Friends of International Students.

Jim is survived by his wife of 65 years, Mary (Rietz) of Peoria, Ill.; children, James of Cardiff by the Sea, Calif., Robert (Mary Jean) of Naperville, Ill., Paul of Delafield, Wis., Nancy of San Diego, Calif., and Mark of Chicago, Ill.; and niece, Lucila of Mexico City. Jim has seven grandchildren, Sarah, Kathleen Passananti (Mike), Leanne, Elizabeth, Laura, Julie and John; and one great-grandchild, Mona Marie Passananti, who loved to Skype with her great-grandpa B.

Jim was preceded in death by his parents; brothers, John, George, Louis and Carlo; sisters, Mary and Adelaida; and nephew, Armando.

A memorial Mass at St. Philomena Catholic Church in Peoria, Ill., is scheduled for 10 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 9.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to The Boy Scouts of America, The or St. Philomena Parish in Peoria, Ill.

The family thanks you for your generosity in remembering Jim.

Published in Peoria Journal Star on Nov. 3, 2013