Stephen Joseph BardessonoDecember 30, 1933 ~ August 15, 2017 (age 83)
Stephen Joseph Bardessono was born December 30, 1933 at Parks Victory Hospital in Napa, California. He was the youngest child of Lucy and John Bardessono of Yountville, and he had a happy childhood, growing up on the family property at 6526 Yount Street in Yountville. Steve attended Yountville Elementary School and graduated from Napa High School in 1951. His father died when Steve was just a baby, so he grew up under the guidance of his mother, Lucy, his Uncle Martin Zucco, his older brother Peter, and his sisters Katherine Mitchell, Peirina Patron, Antoinette Patron, Rose Castellano, and Mary Mulholland.
Steve met Pat, the love of his life, at the Napa Fair in 1952 and they were later married in 1955. Steve worked as a Certificated Machinist at the Mare Island Naval Shipyard until going to work for the County of Napa. He soon found himself in White Sands, New Mexico, after being drafted by the Army. Pat joined him as soon as she could, and they lived in El Paso, Texas where their daughter, Cindy, was born. After being honorably discharged in 1958, Steve and Pat moved back to the Napa Valley. In 1959, their son Stephen was born and in 1961 their daughter, Gina, was born.
When Steve and Pat moved back to Napa, Steve returned to work for the County of Napa Department of Agriculture. He could also be found, on any given weekend, working on the family property in Yountville, helping maintain the orchards and vineyards. In 1974, Steve and Pat moved back to the family property and fulfilled one of his lifelong goals, to move back home to Yountville.
In 1975, Steve was appointed Chief Deputy Agricultural Commissioner and, in 1980, was appointed Agricultural Commissioner/Sealer of Weights and Measures. During his career, he was elected and served as President of the California Agricultural Commissioners and Sealers Association 1987-88. Steve believed in supporting the agricultural industry as well as preserving the beauty of the Napa Valley. He worked extensively with others in the agricultural industry to establish the Napa County Agricultural Preserve. In 1993, Steve retired from his job as Napa County Agricultural Commissioner after 38 years of public service.
Steve had a strong commitment to public service, his community and the schools, to which he dedicated much of his life. Steve served on the County Committee on School District Organization that recommended unifying the small school districts into the Napa Valley Unified School District in 1965. In the 1970s, Steve was President of the Yountville Improvement Club, the citizen group helping transform his beloved community into the Town of Yountville. He was Chairman of the Citizens’ Committee that was instrumental in writing the first Yountville General Plan. In 1976, Steve was elected to the Yountville Town Council, was re-elected in 1978, and was a Council Member until 1982. Always willing to serve others, Steve was president of the Rotary Club of Napa, he was president of the Yountville FOCUS organization, and he was a member of the Napa Valley Community Housing Board. No matter the committee, association or group, Steve was always an active member with a clear, consistent voice for community service.
Always the visionary, Steve looked for ways to preserve the family land while the town and the times were changing. The Bardessono Brothers, Steve and Pete, with their wives, Pat and Maxine, began the long process of change and development. The family property ultimately transformed into what is seen today: bardessono inn, restaurant and spa, Arroyo Grande Villas affordable housing development, and a community park. Steve was incredibly proud of this transformation as well as what it provided for his family and his Town. Steve often said, “If it is good for our Town, it will be good for our family.”
In the words of one of his many friends, “Steve was just a good man. He had an unflinching dedication to doing the right thing, to taking the high road, and to insuring that his integrity was never compromised.” Steve may not have seen himself in that way, but that is how he was regarded and will be remembered. Steve had the ability to make you feel important, that you were heard, that you mattered to him. Throughout the years, Steve talked about his many blessings. He knew he was loved. He wished for more time, but he said he had a good life and 83 was a good number. He was a humble, grateful man.
Steve found peace and grace his final days with his family by his side and the support of his friends and his community. He died peacefully and quietly on Tuesday, August 15, 2017 with his wife of 63 years, Pat by his side. He is survived by his wife, Patricia, and his children, Gina Bardessono, Stephen M. Bardessono (whose life partner of 31 years, Brent Christensen, passed in 2015), and Cindy and Margis Malisauskas; his grandchildren, Brianna Dunlap, Anthony Malisauskas, and Chris and Amberly Pettigrew; and his great-grandchildren, Colby and Gracie Pettigrew. He is also survived by his extended family, including his sister-in-law and longtime business partner, Maxine Bardessono, her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, as well as numerous beloved nieces and nephews, their children and grandchildren. The Bardessono family is large, and even if you weren’t related, you always felt you were family when you were with Steve.
The Bardessono family would like to sincerely thank the many health professionals who took care of Steve. Dr. Thomas Suard, our family physician, took such good care of Steve over the years; Steve considered him his friend as well as his doctor. Thank you to Dr. Ari Umutyan, Dr. Sergio Manubens, and Dr. Christian Anderson for your heartfelt compassion and care. We can’t thank the Queen of the Valley staff enough, with special thank you to the nurses and health care professionals, housekeeping, food service and maintenance staff of the 2nd and 3rd floors as well as the emergency room. The love, concern and attention to Steve and our entire family was comforting and reassuring during his final weeks. Steve was able to spend his last few days peacefully, attended by his family with the help of Collabria Hospice and a caring staff at the Meadows for which we are extremely grateful.
A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, August 26, 2017 at Tulocay Cemetery and Funeral Home at 411 Coombsville Road, Napa, CA 94558. This will be followed by a reception at the Napa Valley Country Club, 3385 Hagen Road, Napa, CA 94558. In lieu of flowers, Steve’s family has requested any donations in his name be made to Napa Valley Community Housing, 150 Camino Dorado, Napa, CA 94558, nvch.org, or Collabria Care, 414 South Jefferson Street, Napa, CA 94559, collabriacare.org.