Thursday, February 03, 2005

Obituary: Vincent James Valenza

MADISON/ BEAVER DAM - Vincent James Valenza, age 74, of Beaver Dam, died on Tuesday, Feb. 1, 2005, after a long battle with cancer. Vince was born in 1930, to Beneditto and Rosalia Valenza, in Madison. He grew up in Madison's Greenbush neighborhood and was very proud of his Italian heritage. Vince attended St. Joseph Catholic Elementary School and graduated from Central High School. He served in the U.S. Army during the Korean War, where he was a front-line tank mechanic. After returning to Madison, Vince married Jeannine West. They had four sons, Steve, Ron, David and Michael. Later they divorced, and he married Sally Wilcox. Vince was a printer by trade. He retired from the state of Wisconsin in 1995, and moved to a home on Beaver Dam Lake, where he lived until recently. Vince was an avid outdoorsman who loved hunting, fishing, and golfing. He was also a boisterous fan of both the Badgers and Packers. As a hobby, Vince played the guitar and he instilled a love of that instrument in his children. He was a member of V.F.W. Post No. 1163. Vince also enjoyed cooking and he was very good at it. His trademark dish was authentic Italian spaghetti sauce with meatballs made using his mother's recipe. Vince also loved to prepare the wild game he hunted, and he grilled wonderful steaks, chicken, and ribs. In addition to his children, and granddaughters, Chandra, Samantha, Briana and Allyssa, Vince is survived by his brothers, Sam, Tony and Ted; a sister, Vita; as well as numerous nephews and nieces. He was preceded in death by his wife, Sally; his parents; brothers, Joe and John; and a sister, Mary. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at ST. JAMES CATHOLIC CHURCH, 1128 St. James Court, Madison, at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 5, 2005, with Monsignor Thomas Baxter presiding. Burial will be at Roselawn Memorial Park. Visitation will be at the church from 9:30 a.m. until the time of the service on Saturday. During the last year and a half of his life, Vince had a special friend, caregiver and companion in Phyllis Masino of Verona. Phyllis helped to give Vince an incentive to fight for life, and made his final days as comfortable as possible. The family also wishes to thank the staff at Four Winds Nursing Home in Verona for their dedication, and attention to Vince's needs during his final months. Vince's wonderful smile and quick wit will be missed by all he leaves behind. Anytime we gather around the table, we will miss his call to "mangia, mangia." Gunderson East Funeral & Cremation Center 5203 Monona Drive (608) 221-5420.

Originally published in the Wisconsin State Journal on February 3, 2005

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