Gregory Phillip Johnson
Gregory Phillip Johnson, age 73, of Goodyear, passed away on April 21. He was born Aug. 4, 1946, in Rockford, IL to Harold and Bonnie Johnson. The world lost an amazing man and we gather to celebrate his life. This loss will take a toll on all his family, but mostly his partner in life and wife of 50 years, Cathy Johnson. They have never spent a day apart. The love they had will last an eternity.
Greg enjoyed many things in life including racing, NASCAR, and football games—especially games in the snow. His passions in life included coffee and Italian food. He was a skilled woodworker and made many beautiful pieces of furniture. Not only was he a family man, but he was also a successful businessman. Everyone will remember him mostly for his sense of humor.
Gregory is survived by his wife, Cathy Johnson; daughter, Brandy Rodriguez; brother, Woody Johnson; four grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.
Carmine Lodico, age 72, of Goodyear, passed away peacefully on April 12, 2020. He was born Aug. 9, 1947 in New York City to Richard and Filomena Lodico, the youngest of two brothers and two sisters. He served in the U.S. Army from Nov. 15, 1966, to Nov. 14, 1972, as a SP4(T)E-4. He was married to his wife Karen for 16 wonderful years. Carmine loved to travel, make his own sausage, play bocce, golf, walk his little dog Scruffy, or just be at home with Karen. A funeral mass will be held at a later date at St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church. In lieu of flowers or plants, make a donation to your favorite charity or Seasons Hospice & Palliative Care, Seasons Hospice Foundation, 8537 Solution Center, Chicago, IL 60677 in memory of Carmine Lodico.
Violet “Vi” Metter
On April 22, our bridge community lost a long-term friend. Violet “Vi” Metter, a regular at the PebbleCreek Bridge Club in Goodyear, passed away in her sleep after a lengthy battle with a blood disorder. She was surrounded by her four remaining children and was both well-loved and cared for until her peaceful passing.
For those of us who ever played with or against Vi, we knew that she was not only a brilliant bridge player, but a fierce competitor who never stopped learning and received her Ruby Life Master in 2019. In addition to family, friends, and bridge, Vi also shared a love of golf with her three boys and will be missed on the course for many Sundays to come.
In the last few years, Vi took the opportunity to travel the globe with her dearest friend and travel partner, Shay Kinney. They went to Europe, Mexico, Hawaii, and Alaska, and they fulfilled one of Vi’s lifetime dreams of taking an African safari. Vi had a passion for reading and watching old movies, and an obsession for national politics—particularly loving a trip to Washington DC where she and Shay happily sported Make America Great Again hats.
She was very proud of her heritage and traced her roots back to multiple patriots of the Revolutionary War, making Vi a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution.
Violet was born in Chicago on Nov. 26, 1931, into a family of two brothers and two sisters. The family moved to Florida before heading west to Oregon.
In 1958, Violet married Larry, a Bronze Star decorated World War II veteran, who served in the South Pacific. Together, they moved to the San Francisco Bay area, where she rose to vice president of Security Pacific National Bank, and they raised four children—three boys, Bob, Larry, Jeff; and daughter, Kim.
When Vi and Larry retired, they moved several times, ending up in Reno, where Vi took up duplicate bridge. That’s where they were living when Larry died in 1996. In 2005, Vi moved to Arizona, where she fell in love with the Arizona desert and the PebbleCreek community.
Vi loved sharing, whether it was a delicious gourmet recipe, bridge advice, or travel tips, and influenced many. She is survived by her four children and five grandchildren (Lauren and Brett, Jessica and Katrina, Elizabeth, and Hayli). She has one great-granddaughter (Hazel Madeline) with another on the way.
Peter Joseph Tarantino
Peter Joseph Tarantino passed away early Sunday morning, Jan. 19. He was at home in PebbleCreek with his wife, Mary; children, Luci and Tony; and grandchildren, Nick and Gia.
He had two long successful business careers, but said he was proudest of his children and grandchildren, and regretted not spending more time with them when they were growing up.
Pete, a street-smart kid from New York City, was raised by hardworking Italian immigrant parents, Lucy, a seamstress, and Tony, a tool and die maker. As a teenager, he delivered Christmas trees and worked at a small grocery store in his rough neighborhood on the West Side of Manhattan, a neighborhood made famous in the 1961 movie, West Side Story. Pete recalled playing stickball on the streets with a rubber ball and broomstick, using manhole covers for bases.
He met the love of his life, Mary Jo Connors, at Marquette University. He managed the kitchen in his fraternity house and volunteered his electrical engineering skills for the University’s varsity shows. His Sigma Phi Delta brothers voted him Man of the Year, a precursor to future achievements.
Mary and Pete married Sept. 26, 1964, in Chicago, Mary’s hometown. Their children were born in the next few years. Pete loved watching cartoons with his young children and took them for donuts after Mass on Sundays.
Following several promotions and relocations, Pete started traveling around the world, ending his 33-year career with the Square D company as vice president and general manager of Square D Asia Pacific. His overseas experiences taught him that, “We are all alike; we are all one people in a small world.”
Pete never retired and started a second career in 1996 with the IDEC Corporation. He developed deep friendships with Toshi Funaki, chairman and CEO IDEC; Mikio Funaki, senior executive vice president IDEC; Tony Funaki (Toshi’s son); and Rajiv Salhotra, with whom he worked many years. Eventually Pete became senior executive officer of global business development, a position he considered a high honor. Tony Funaki wrote a “Remembrance of Pete Tarantino,” a moving tribute in which he said, “I remember Pete as a person who always cared, who always encouraged straight talk, and said don’t forget to laugh, even in difficult times.”
Pete and Mary moved to PebbleCreek in 1997. He was elected to the HOA board in 1998. He and Mary volunteered as guest hosts in PebbleCreek for several years. He spent many happy hours playing golf, and helped found a golf group, the LOFTERS, (an acronym for Lack Of F_____g Talent).
Pete’s diverse interests included, but weren’t limited to, Leonardo da Vinci and his inventions, Carl Sagan, black holes, space travel, the possibility of life on other planets, history, archeology, politics, and cultures around the world. He never stopped learning.
He loved Christmas and collected international Santa Claus figures; “Invictus” was his favorite poem (“I am the Master of my Fate”); Frank Sinatra his favorite singer; and Hawaii was a place he loved. He hoped to reduce his golf handicap, learn to fly a plane, go into outer space, and see his grandchildren graduate.
Pete told his grandchildren to “be yourself. You are special, and there is only one of you.” Pete stayed true to himself, the same unpretentious person Mary met 58 years ago. He was kind-hearted, outspoken, and loud (due to his parents who were Hard of Hearing). He made everyone laugh with his off the cuff remarks and often sarcastic humor.
Though in pain and frequently hospitalized his last few years, Pete never failed to say, “I love you,” to Mary, Luci, Tony, Nick, and Gia. He was blessed to see his first great-grandchild, Courtney Lynn.
A celebration of life was held Feb. 16, in PebbleCreek. Pete’s children and grandchildren delivered touching, often humorous eulogies, while a slide show of his life played.
Pete is also survived and sadly missed by sisters-in-law and brother-in-law Judy Sullivan, Betty and Bernie Phillips, Susan Connors, Sharon Connors, many nieces and nephews and their families, and by his kind neighbors and friends in PebbleCreek and around the world.