John Baptiste PezzaOctober 11, 1941 ~ August 27, 2017 (age 75)
John and Theo Pezza died in a motorcycle accident in British Columbia, Canada, while riding with friends. They passed as they had lived, together on their Harley, in love and looking forward, as inseparable in death as they had been in life.
John spent his childhood years in Rhode Island. He was a cub scout, a boy scout, and a typical young rabble rouser. After graduating High School, John moved to Anaheim, California, where he eventually met Theo. John was in a hot rod club, and had a passion for dancing that he indulged during the rest of his life. Theo and John were married on May 6, 1967, and were married for 50 years, 3 months, and 21 days.
John started out as a restaurateur but soon discovered that real estate and mortgage banking was his forte. His friendliness, intelligence, business acumen and deep sense of morality enabled him to succeed in a cutthroat world. John never indulged in shoddy deals or nefarious schemes. He was, to quote a phrase, as honest as the day was long. This of course did not preclude telling tall tales to his friends! And John had many friends; the only people he didn’t like were cheats and liars.
Theo grew up in Portland, where she attended St Mary’s Academy and the University of Portland. She moved to Fullerton, California when she was in her early 20’s, and lived with her brother, Richard, until she married John. Theo worked first as a receptionist, and then as an administrative assistant for many companies including Seattle University. Her final employment was working with John in their mortgage business. Throughout her life, Theo was a devout Catholic, active in whatever parish she currently lived. She was a talented pianist and used her skills in worship of the Lord. Her sweet and gentle nature touched everyone she met; Theo was beloved by all.
John and Theo moved from California to Portland, Oregon, to help care for Theo’s mother, Maria Herlein. After Maria’s death in 1972, they moved to Edmonds and then Lynnwood, Washington, where they lived for over 30 years. During their time in Lynnwood, John and Theo had their own successful mortgage business. After they closed the business, Theo retired but John continued to work in mortgage banking. Using his expertise in that field, John developed the 5 acres of property that they had lived on in Lynnwood and sold it for a very nice profit.
During his life, John owned and learned to fly an airplane. He owned and expertly sailed a sailboat. John owned many cameras and was a prolific and talented photographer. He bought and maintained a motor home that they used for many years on a variety of expeditions. John had the ability to learn so many things, and he was dedicated enough to learn them well and competently. John was always willing to share his expertise with others, encouraging them to succeed in their ventures. Theo had recently taken up line drawing, with a thought to watercolor painting in the future. She grew vegetables in her small gardens, and loved flowers, plants, and everything nature, but her passions were music and John.
A few years after John retired, he and Theo moved to Vancouver to be closer to the rest of Theo’s siblings, nieces, and nephews. They joined the congregation at St John the Evangelist, pouring their hearts, souls, and considerable energies into that extensive community. Around 2005, John decided to purchase a Harley motorcycle. Riding the bike became a passion for John, and he and Theo went on many rides alone and with friends. They also traveled to Italy and went on a number of cruises, both solo and with friends. Did I mention they had a lot of friends?
Theo is survived by her brothers, Dick Herlein (Claudia) and Jim Herlein (Tina), and her sister, Julie Reilly (Larry); nieces Jennifer Hughes, Jessica Reilly, and Sarah Lewis; and nephews Peter Herlein, Michael Herlein, Luke Reilly, and Joshua Herlein.
John is survived by his sister, Joyce Antonacci (Peter), and by his nephews John Antonacci and Peter Antonacci, and nieces Cathy Swiderski and Christine Winters (all in Rhode Island).
John was active in the Kiwanis and the Knights of Columbus; Theo and John were both active in St Vincent de Paul. In lieu of flowers, donations to the St John the Evangelist Conference of St Vincent de Paul are suggested in memory of John and Theo’s activities with that organization. Their address is the same as the church – 8701 NE 119th Street, Vancouver, WA 98662