James Jerome Bregante
1936 - 2020
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James Jerome Bregante September 23, 1936 - June 1, 2020 San Diego James Bregante passed away from multiple health issues on Monday, June 1, 2020. He was born in San Diego to James and Angelina Bregante on September 23, 1936. Jim grew up in the little yellow cottages on the corner of India and Hawthorn Streets in Little Italy. He attended Washington Elementary, Roosevelt Jr. High and graduated from San Diego High School in 1954, playing varsity baseball for SDHS.Jim was active with Our Lady of the Rosary Catholic Church in Little Italy all his life. He married Jo Ann Bono in 1961 and was blessed with son Michael and daughter Diane. Joann passed in 1990, and he found happiness again when he married Donna Cravens in 1993. Jim's career was in the building material business beginning with Western Lumber Supply and ending with BMC West in Boise, Idaho. Upon returning to San Diego, Jim became a docent for the Maritime Museum, inspired by the fact that his great-grandfather sailed on the Star of India in Alaska from 1904-1906. Jim was encouraged to prepare a presentation for the docents about his experiences of growing up on the waterfront and Little Italy. His talk, entitled "San Diego's Waterfront Through the Eyes of a Child," was first presented in 2007 and he continued to represent the Maritime Museum for 12 years. His audiences included schools, colleges, service clubs, senior groups, women's clubs, Italian groups, historical societies, and more. He gave hundreds of talks, reaching over 15,000 people throughout San Diego County.Jim was passionate about sharing his life as a child in the Italian community. In 2010 he documented his experiences with a book entitled Generations of Memorieson never to be forgotten India Street. He was actively involved with Convivio, an Italian cultural organization, volunteering many hours at Amici House.Jim is preceded in death by his parents and Jo Ann Bregante. He is missed and cherished by his wife Donna, brother Augustine, son Michael Bregante (Kim), daughter Diane Hamilton, step-daughter Michelle Tompkins (Dean), step-sons Michael Cravens (Juanita), Mark Cravens (Alma), grandchildren Brandon Hamilton, Daniel Tompkins, Taylor Tompkins. Maya Cravens, great-grandaughter Hennessy Erwin. Jim was loved and admired by all who knew him.A celebration of this gentle man's life will be held at a later date.

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Published in San Diego Union-Tribune on Jun. 7, 2020.
Memories & Condolences
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7 entries
July 26, 2020
Hi Donna, I just learned of Jim's passing. May the love of friends and family carry you through your grief. May God bless you and your family in this time of sorrow.
Warmly, Denise
Denise Gleavey
June 10, 2020
Dear Donna, remembering you from our work together at Hospice. I saw your husbands obituary in the newspaper. I am so sorry for your loss and remember Jim from his wonderful presentation in about 2010 at the Scripps Ranch Welcome Club. Jim did such a marvelous presentation to our group of about 35 about his life as a child in the Italian community in the 1930s and 1940s. He absolutely charmed us with his insight, humor, and facts that we did not know. I am grateful I got to know Jim briefly. Warmly, Mary Ann Harper
Mary Ann Harper
June 9, 2020
June 8, 2020
I first met Jim at Our Lady of the Rosary Church several years ago.
In 2018 as President of Our Lady of the Rosary Italian Catholic Federation (ICF) Branch 230 along with our Board of Directors, Members and Friends had the honor of having him as a special guest speaker. His talk, entitled "San Diego's Waterfront Through the Eyes of a Child," was wonderful and informative, enjoyed by all in attendance. It was a wonderful evening, and those who missed it were sorry they did. Jim had a beautiful spirit and he will be dearly missed. On behalf of myself, my family and ICF Branch 230 Our Sincere Condolences to his wife and family, may he Rest in Peace. God Bless
Patrizia Vigili ICF President
Patrizia Vigili
June 7, 2020
in 1986 Jim hired me at western lumber. Up to that point in my life I had been kind of a ner do well. He must have seen something in me because he kept promoting me until I became chief dispatcher after about 2 years. This after starting at the very bottom just humping lumber. Well, that really changed my perception of myself. The shipping office was in very close proximity to Jims office and I interacted with him on a daily basis. He was a good guy and I will always be grateful for all that he did for me
David Mason
June 7, 2020
I have fond memories of James and Cookie Bregante playing baseball with me and my brother Tommy on the grass in front of the county building in 1953. We all were a part of the "India Street Gang" that played and hung out together for many years. James was a terrific historian for our little Italian village. Through his book and his many presentations, he educated everyone on who we were and what we did. Thank you to James for telling our story to the world. We will miss your words and cometary of our lives. RIP my good friend. Jimmy Marino
Jimmy Marino
June 7, 2020
To the family: I didnt know your father but just read about him in todays paper. He sounds like a wonderful man who kept the history of San Diego alive in his heart as well as in others. I just went online and purchased his book and look forward to reading it. Thank you for sharing his lifes story with us. Im so sorry for your loss. May he now Rest In Peace in Heaven
Judy Bruce
June 7, 2020
I was sorry to see that Jim has passed away. I feel fortunate to have known Jim and his family since 1952. He played baseball for San Diego High School, which was coached by my dad. His family and mine were good friends, and I remember going to his parents house for a family dinner. It was delicious! When I was in college I got to work with Jim at Western Lumber. He was well respected by all his fellow workers. In 1969 he and his family traveled to Flagstaff and Barb and I got to sightsee with his family. We also had a nice meal at Mormon Lake Lodge. Lately I have enjoyed seeing Jim at the Old Jocks get together. I also really enjoyed reading his book about growing up in San Diego. He will be greatly missed by all.
Tom Cassie
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