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Barbara Cassani Closs

February 19, 1943 ~ February 2, 2024 (age 80) 80 Years Old
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Barbara Closs Obituary

Barbara Cassani Closs, age 80, passed away peacefully in her sleep on February 2, 2024, following a lengthy illness. She was born in Napa on February 19, 1943, at Parks Victory Memorial Hospital to John and Shirley Cassani.

Her maternal great great great grandfather, Captain John Grigsby, came to the Napa Valley by wagon train from Missouri in the 1840’s. Captain Grigsby was a member of the famous Bear Flag Party with his wife giving a portion of her petticoat to form part of the original Bear Party Flag.  Her paternal grandfather, John J. Cassani, immigrated from Italy in the late 1800’s to Santa Rosa.

She attended Shearer Elementary, Ridgeview, Napa Junior High and graduated from Napa High School in 1961 as a proud Napa Indian. Go Indians!   A social and outgoing individual, Barbara was heavily involved in high school activities. In addition, she was active with Jobs Daughters where she became Honored Queen in 1959.  One spring day during archery class, she caught the eye of Gerry Closs, whose family owned and operated Butter Cream Bakery.  It didn’t take long before they became high school sweethearts and later married on February 18, 1962, just one day shy of her 19th birthday. They enjoyed 62 years of marriage and raised three beautiful daughters.

In her early years she worked at Basalt Rock Company and Crocker Bank; however, she spent most of her life as a homemaker and mother.  She and Gerry shared ownership of the Riverside Lounge, Napa Valley RV Resort on Lincoln, and reopened Butter Cream Bakery and Diner in 2002. They enjoyed over 20 years of festivities with the Napa Active 20-30 Club where Barbara frequently entertained in their home. A creative and generous entertainer, many of those parties will go down in history. To those friends who shared in these memory making adventures (you know who you are) …your secret is safe with us!

Barbara had a great fondness for animals, homing over 20 dogs throughout her life.  She enjoyed tennis, gardening and boating but her true joy was Tahoe. She was an avid snow skier and took pride in welcoming friends and family to their Truckee home.  If you were looking for Barbara, you could find her in the red Hummer somewhere on i-80 headed to Truckee. Her favorite Tahoe story was the morning she awoke to discover a bear sitting on the kitchen counter.  An opened pink box beside him, and a maple bar in his paw, she was horrified!  In addition to her many hobbies, she enjoyed extensive domestic and international travel with Gerry.

She was predeceased by her parents, John and Shirley Cassani, her brother Nathan and sister Paula. She is survived by her husband Gerry; daughters Alexis, Nicole, and Tasha; brother Dr. John Cassani (sister-in- law Starla Cassani) and sister-in-law Kathleen Closs as well as numerous grandchildren, great grandchildren, nieces and nephews.

In her last year of life, when Gerry could no longer be her primary care giver, she was provided outstanding care by Alice, Carina, and Rose.

To describe Barbara in a word is impossible. She was a force… and those who knew her would tell you as much. Charismatic, energetic, fun loving, hardworking, welcoming, stubborn, heartfelt, bossy, devoted, controlling, sentimental, adventurous, thoughtful, Italian loud and generous beyond words. 

A private family graveside service will be held at Tulocay Cemetery on February 20, 2024.  A celebration of life will be held at a future time.

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