Norman Peter Tofanelli

January 13, 1929 ~ September 4, 2021 (age 92)


Norman Peter Tofanelli passed away on Saturday, September 4, 2021 after a lengthy illness. He was 92.

Norman was born on January 13, 1929 to Peter and Emily Tofanelli in Oakland, California. He attended local schools and graduated from Vallejo High in 1947. As a young man, he enjoyed duck hunting with his father and his brothers, Elmer and Vernon; pursued art as a possible career path; and was an amateur boxer.

In 1950, he was inducted into the United States Army and served in the Korean War as a mortar operator in the 223rd Regiment, 40th Infantry Division. He was also a member of the Army boxing team.

Upon returning home from Korea, he went to work at Mare Island Naval Shipyard in Vallejo. It was there that he met a secretary who would become his future wife, Mary Rose Matta. They were married in 1954 and made their home in Napa.

Family meant everything to Norman. He enriched the lives of his children by fostering vital connections between them and their grandparents, uncles, aunts and cousins. He was a skilled and imaginative photographer with an uncanny sense of what makes a good picture. The photos that he took remain an ongoing source of enjoyment to his children.

Norman had a strong affection for popular music from the 1920s through the 1950s and he shared this with his children, along with his interest in foreign films. He enjoyed getting involved with his children's activities, among other things, coaching fly league baseball, and traveling to wrestling tournaments. Norman considered the raising of his family to be his finest achievement.

Norman is preceded in death by his beloved wife of 60 years, Mary. He is survived by his children, Tony of Napa, John of New York City, Janeen Hughes of Oak Park, CA, Marc (Anna) of Brentwood, CA, and Mike (Shirley) of Sacramento, CA; his grandchildren Brandon Tofanelli, Amitie (Josh) Weeks, and Madison Hughes; two great-grandchildren Dante and Ava; and many nieces and nephews. He is predeceased by his brothers Vernon and Elmer.

Private services were held by the family.

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