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.
Published in San Diego Union-Tribune on Jun. 7, 2020.