Vincent James Fontana, 88, of Endicott, completed his life’s journey on August 17th after a brave fight against dementia. He was welcomed home by his father and mother, Vincent and Mary Fontana; his brother, Ed Fontana; sister, Margaret Fontana; beloved son-in-law, Norman Seastrand; and granddaughter-in-law, Sandy Seastrand. He is survived by his wife, Marie; siblings Leonard, Sam, Carmella and Mary Lou; sons Ken (Barb) and John (Donna); his daughters Debra (Norman), Diane (Steve), and Darlene (Phil); 9 grandsons; 5 granddaughters; and 13 great-grandchildren. Known as “Jimmy”, his friends and family will always remember him as one of the Northside’s best lifelong residents, a man of great faith, a devoted veteran, husband and father, grandpa, employee, and friend.
As a proud Army Combat Engineer from 1952 to 1954, Jimmy built temporary bridges with Company I during the Korean War, important work that protected our troops during the worst of times. Upon returning home, Jimmy and Marie (“Babe”) started raising a family in an apartment building built by Marie’s grandfather. In 1974, the family moved into the house next door where they lived for the next 45 years, cherishing family parties and delicious pasta dinners, with proud Jimmy always seated at the head of the table, grateful for what he and Babe had built.
As a grandfather, Jimmy’s long life allowed him to see his grandchildren and great-grandchildren grow. From the birth of his first grandson, Ian (Seastrand) in 1972, to his 13th great-grandchild, Carter (McKillop) in 2018, Jimmy was a dedicated Pop who would always attend your school concert or sporting event, have no mercy during a game of Checkers, insist WWF wrestling was the real deal, cook the best breakfast in the Southern Tier, pull a silly practical joke, and, of course, give a warm smile and a loving hug.
As an employee, Jimmy brought his devotion and solid work ethic to all of his jobs, whether working at Endicott-Johnson’s shoe factory as a teenager, cleaning UE High School for 25 years, or assisting Endicott’s Auxiliary Police. Jimmy was a reliable and tireless worker happy to have a job, $1.00 in his wallet, and a loving family to support.
As a friend, Jimmy’s bowling buddies shared in one of his life’s happiest achievements when, in March of 1987, he bowled a perfect 300 game. On that night, Jimmy’s talent and skill earned him a plaque, endless pride, and a highly prized 300 Game Award ring (which would eventually be lost down a drain, but replaced as a gift for his 80th birthday).
Finally, as a purely good man, our Jimmy, our Dad, our Pop, is absolutely irreplaceable and will always be missed. With his family, friends, or the doctors and Hospice nurses that aided during his courageous fight, he shared his best self as a beautiful, gentle soul that always lived in the present moment, capable of only loving and being loved by all blessed enough to walk with him in this life.
A Funeral Mass will be celebrated Friday 11:30 am at St. Anthony of Padua Church, 306 Odell Avenue, Endicott. Burial will be in Calvary Cemetery, Johnson City. The family will receive friends at church Friday from 10 am until Mass time at 11:30 am. In lieu of flowers, please direct donations honoring Jimmy’s memory to Hospice and St. Anthony’s Church of Endicott.