LeRoy Joseph Giovannoni, 94, of Oakdale, California passed away peacefully in his home on May 2, 2023. He lived in Oakdale his entire life.
LeRoy was born on July 21, 1928 to an Italian immigrant family. At Oakdale High School, he achieved nine varsity letters (football, basketball, and track). After graduating, he attended Delta College where he participated in football. He then received a full-ride scholarship to play football at Saint Mary’s College, and after attending school there for one year, he joined the Navy. During his two year stint there, he served as a Radio Intelligence Officer and competed in the US Naval Boxing Club. Upon receiving an honorable discharge, he attended University of the Pacific with the intent to play football and complete his education. After sustaining a knee injury, he joined the Diving Team, and in 1952, he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree.
In 1954, LeRoy married the love of his life, Norma Lea Russell, also of Oakdale. They attended CSU Stanislaus together, and in 1966, they were the first married couple to graduate together: he with his Master’s Degree and she with her Bachelor of Arts.
LeRoy lived a life of adventure and discovery. He was a pilot at the age of 15, tried out for the U.S. Olympic Diving Team, and is in the movie All the King’s Men. His master’s degree thesis was published and can be found in the Library of Congress. He was also an avid hunter, fisherman, artist, snow skier, water skier, scuba diver, trap shooter, pilot, and world traveler. Additionally, he enjoyed automobiles, aircrafts, reading, and sports. He rebuilt airplanes, automobiles, boats, and houseboats. He was a member of E-Clampus Vitus, Elks Lodge, Old Farts, and Quarterback Club. He held leadership positions in National Ski Patrol, Oakdale Boat Club, Oakdale Sportsmens’ Club, and Dinner Club. He, his brother, and both of his sons were inducted into the Oakdale Sports Hall of Fame.
LeRoy is perhaps most fondly remembered for being the life of most every party he attended. He never turned down a drink or an adventure. Until his last days, he remained physically and mentally strong, young at heart, and full of life. In recent years, he zip lined in Honduras and remodeled a houseboat. He planned on snow skiing at Dodge Ridge later this year. He lived the equivalent of many lives in his 94 years.
LeRoy was a devoted family man, who was preceded in death by his parents, Geno and Dena; his wife, Norma; and his son, Ross. He is survived by his brother, Gary; his son, Kirt; his daughter-in-law, Lindy; his grandson, Casey; his granddaughter, Katey Choate; Katey’s husband, Bryan Choate; his great grandchildren, Max and Miles Choate; many more family members and friends; his dog, Rosie; and his cat, Charlie.
Family and friends are invited to attend LeRoy’s funeral on Monday, May 22 at 11 a.m. at Saint Mary’s Catholic Church in Oakdale. A Celebration of Life will follow.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Oakdale High School Sports Booster Club (P.O. Box 1353) or OakdaleArts (P.O. Box 1903).
The Oakdale (Calif.) Leader
The Riverbank (Calif.) News
May 17, 2023