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Nicholas John Venuto


1970 – 2011 - Obituary Condolences
Nicholas John Venuto Obituary
Nicholas (Nick) John Venuto of Poway, California, avid cyclist and loving father and husband, was killed in a tragic accident on May 31, 2011, while commuting home from work on his bicycle. He was 40 years old.
Nick was born in Pomona, California, on June 10, 1970, to Nicholas Michael Venuto and Judith Bernadette Venuto. He grew up in Atascadero, California, where he attended Santa Rosa Elementary, Atascadero Junior High, and Atascadero High School. In elementary and junior high, Nick played clarinet and tuba, and as a member of 4H, raised prize-winning sheep that were shown in the San Luis Obispo County Fair. In high school, Nick was a gifted athlete across a wide variety of sports-he ran cross country, played soccer, competed on the swim team, and won the "Little Big Man" award for the heaviest bench press in his weight category.
Nick attended college at the University of San Diego, where he received his Bachelor of Accountancy in 1992. In 1995 he earned his CPA. After college, Nick worked for seven years at the San Diego office of accounting firm Ernst & Young. Nick spent the next 11 years developing an expertise in the financial side of high-tech companies. At Graviton, a company in the wireless industry, he began as Corporate Controller, became Vice President of Finance and acting CFO, and then President. At the biotech firm Nanogen, after four years of a position as Corporate Controller, he again was promoted to CFO. He then moved to a position as Interim Vice President of Finance at Ambit Biosciences. Most recently, in February 2011 he joined the bioenergy firm Sapphire Technology as Corporate Controller.
Nick married Deborah Geidner in 1995 at the Founders Chapel on the campus of the University of San Diego. They had a mutual love of sailing and the ocean, and frequently sailed to Catalina together. Nick and Deborah both earned SCUBA certification and loved diving in exotic coral reefs, as well as locally. Their wedding reception, fittingly, was aboard a boat at sunset. Their two children, Nicholas, born in 1998, and Marisa, born in 2002, were a joy to him, and he was never happier than when he was spending time with them, riding bikes, encouraging and helping them with schoolwork, or just being together.
A masterful and experienced cyclist, Nick earned a place in the prestigious California Triple Crown, an organization for elite long-distance cyclists in California. Membership is awarded to those cyclists who complete at least three "double centuries" (200 mile rides) in one calendar year. He joined the San Diego Descenders Cycling Club this year, and rode with them in the ShadowTour Stagecoach Century in January. He won the 40 plus division and placed 5th overall in the Palomar Challenge Hill Climb in 2010. On a recent trip to Hawaii, he cycled up and down Haleakala, the 10,000-foot volcano that makes up the eastern half of Maui, and on a trip to Europe rode several mountain stages of the Tour de France, including the arduous Alpe d'Huez.
In addition, he loved cycling with his family. He and his son Nicholas, then in fifth grade, rode together in the Ride Across California, a 280-mile bike ride from Yuma, Arizona, where they dipped their back tires in the Colorado River, to Carlsbad, California, where they dipped their front tires into the Pacific Ocean. Deborah and Marisa rode along in a motor home, to camp with them along the way and to cheer them on. Nick shared his love of cycling with his father, with whom he rode his very first century ride, the Tour of Palm Springs.
Nick loved spending time with his family, and he enjoyed adventures and travel, so he found many ways to combine the two. On a recent vacation, he and his family rode the rapids of the Grand Canyon on a raft, and learned to ride ATCs and horses. They found delight in the outdoors, whether kayaking or cliff-jumping, and spent many weekends camping or skiing.
Nick is survived by his wife, Deborah; his children, Nicholas and Marisa; his parents, Nick and Judi Venuto of Austin; his sister, Rochelle Venuto and brother-in-law Rafael Sabelli of Oakland and their daughters, Olivia and Alessandra; his sister, Debra Little of Chicago; and his brother, Tony Venuto and sister-in-law Julie Venuto of Oakland.
A memorial website, www.nickvenuto.com, has been established to provide further information including an online guest book, and photos of Nick's life.
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