John Paul Grandi
passed away Monday, Sept. 3, 2012, in the Bear Valley Community Hospital, Big Bear Lake, Calif., after having a day full of friends coming to say goodbye. That night he passed peacefully with his dog Holly in his lap, and his wife Julie at his side holding his hand.
John was born in Corning, N.Y., on July 27, 1924, the son of Nathan and Mary Grandi. They, and a son Thomas Paul, predeceased him.
John was educated in Corning schools. He was well known for his trumpet playing in the high school band. During high school, John directed his dance band, John Grandi and his Dixie Land Band. After graduation, John joined the Army, one year following Pearl Harbor. He soon became the company bugler, and shortly thereafter was recruited for the Army Ground Forces Band, which enabled him to travel playing his trumpet for four years.
Following the service, John spent a brief time in Corning, N.Y., and then set off for New York City, where he played with hotel bands. He also acted and toured with theater companies. When the Big Band era ended, John moved to California. It was there that he met the love of his life, Julie. John always referred to her as my Leading Lady. John and Julie lived in Tarzana, and after a career in sales, marketing and auto dealership management, he retired to Big Bear in 1998. John began writing a bi-weekly column for The Grizzly called Stay Tuned. He also appeared in over 15 productions at the Performing Arts Center. With his baritone voice and indelible stage presence, he became a fixture at what he lovingly called Broadway in the Pines. John was active in the Community Arts Theater Society, Rotary and the Hospital Foundation, including a year serving as its president. In 2009, the Big Bear Lake International Film Festival honored him with the Community Appreciation Award, calling him one of Big Bear's living legends. In 2011, the Rotary Club honored him with the Eagles of Excellence Award.
John is survived by his wife, Julie, and popular dog, Holly, in Big Bear City. Back east are his sister, Mary Cameron of Corning, N.Y., two nephews, Leon (& wife Laura), David (& wife Terri) Cameron and his beloved six great nieces, Caitlyn, Sarah, Rachel, Anna, Rebecca and Chloe Cameron of the Washington, D.C., area. He is also survived by an uncle and several cousins in Corning, N.Y., and Rome, Italy. He will be greatly missed by his wife, doggie, family and many, many friends.
A memorial service will be held Saturday, Sept. 29, at 2 p.m. at the Performing Arts Center. Food will be served following the service.
"Big Bear Grizzly" Posted: Wednesday, September 26, 2012 10:44 am | Updated: 10:45 am, Wed Sep 26, 2012.