Strike up the Celestial swing band and make room on Heaven’s dance floor because Mom's lifelong dance partner is back in her arms.
Dad was the first-born child of Sicilian immigrants who passed through Ellis Island seeking the American dream. Raised in a traditional Brooklyn Italian neighborhood, Dad spent most of his childhood years helping his father, Vito, put food on the table. This included selling eggs in the surrounding neighborhoods and running beer from the grocery store to the bocce players that played in his father's combination bocce court/card room/casual eatery. During his precious free time, Dad and his buddies could be found playing punch ball and stickball (as they could not afford bats, balls or gloves) and did their best to stay out of trouble. He and his friends would hitch a "free" ride on street cars to the local park where they would find cross-town rivals to compete against.
When WWII broke out Dad joined the Army at the age of 19. Boot camp took him out of Brooklyn and for the first time he got a good look at the country he would be fighting to save. After training at Ft. Ord, his company bivouacked at Washington Park in Sunnyvale prior to shipping out. While there, Dad and his buddies could relax and entertain themselves at the USO where local girls were encouraged to volunteer and have a dance or two with the soldiers. Taking the opportunity to show off his dancing skills Dad soon spotted a beautiful young lady with long red hair. She in turn spotted a young Sicilian stallion that she could not take her eyes from. The romance was on. They corresponded all the while that Dad was overseas chasing Nazis through France, Belgium, and Germany with General Patton's 3rd Army.
When the war ended Mom packed a steamer trunk and hopped on a train to Grand Central Station in NYC. There her future in-laws were waiting for her. The Ganci family welcomed her as part of the family, which she became part of in 1946 after marrying her soldier boy.
Dad soon moved to California to be closer to Mom's family and they eventually moved to Merced where Dad joined a printing pressman's union and started work at Bryars Press. Dad would eventually leave the printing business and join the Merced Sun Star where he became one of the paper's top ad salesmen. Dad quickly made a life for himself in Merced, a town that he grew to love. He met many of his lifelong friends by joining the Knights of Columbus, the American Legion and of course the Italo-American Lodge. After his four children arrived, Summers always included these organization's picnics at Henderson Park and Lake Yosemite. Dad involved himself in all his children's activities and rarely missed a play, athletic event, or a school function. He memorized the Little League rule book and promptly coached both his sons and their KofC teammates to numerous Little League championships. He always enjoyed seeing his ball players who in later years still called him Coach.
After years of waiting patiently for his children to produce some grandkids, Mom and Dad were finally rewarded with five beautiful grandchildren. Dad took every opportunity to be around them and to encourage and support them throughout his life. When our dear Mom passed away before he did it shocked him – he always thought that men went before women. However, he bravely carried on and was able to experience joy and make the most of his final years. In the way that Dad lived his everyday life he provided us all a blueprint on how to be parents, make and keep lifelong friends, and that family would always take priority over anything else.
Over the past few years his daughter, Michelle, took up the mantle of primary caregiver and woe be it to the office assistant, doctor, nurse or assisted living personnel that didn't meet the expectations that she had for Dad's quality of care. She became Dad's chief advocate and helped ensure that he was comfortable and well taken care of in the latter chapters of his life. He successfully battled the daily challenges that occur at a certain age without complaints, but instead with the quiet courage, grace, and gratitude for the care and love that he received.
The romance that started at a USO dance years ago between a beautiful local redhead girl and a soldier far from home can now continue, uninterrupted forever.
Dad was preceded in death by his parents Vito and Anna, his wife Rusty, his beloved daughter Sharon, and his sister Anne Battaglino. He is survived by daughter Michelle (Daniel) Archer, granddaughter Elizabeth Archer, grandsons Doug (Jen) Archer and Chris (Candace) Archer great granddaughters Ella and Alle, son Bill (Angela) Ganci, grandchildren Alison and Will Ganci, son Gary (Beth) Ganci, and grandchildren Kelly and Gary Ganci, Jr.
He is also survived by his sister Rose Graziano and brother Tony Ganci, sister-in-law Wilta Benefield, numerous nieces and nephews and many wonderful loving friends of Merced.
Due to the Covid epidemic the funeral service will be held outside on Saturday, Oct. 3rd at 12:30 PM at St. Patrick's Church located at 671 E Yosemite Ave, Merced, CA. Please bring a folding chair to sit on as seats will be limited and spaced appropriately. As stated on the Church website for Outdoor Masses, please be reminded to wear your mask. Interment will immediately follow at Evergreen Cemetery.
Unfortunately, due to the virus there is no reception planned.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of William Joseph Ganci, please visit our floral store.