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Henry (Hank) Sgheiza Obituary

Henry (Hank) Walter Sgheiza
Henry (Hank) Walter Sgheiza

March 18, 1922 - August 20, 2020
Born in Salinas, California
Resided in Salinas, California
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Hank Sgheiza passed away peacefully in the early morning of Thursday, August 20th, 2020, at the age of 98. He lived an amazing full life with his soul mate, Frances Sbrana Sgheiza. They raised their family in Salinas CA, while making weekend trips to their beloved home at Lake Nacimiento, where they eventually lived full time in retirement.

Hank was the youngest of six Sgheiza siblings and the last to depart. He was the son of Swiss Immigrants from Corippo, Canton Ticino, Switzerland. His father, Emilio (Emil) Bartolomeo Giuseppe Sgheiza, was a farmer, Swiss dairyman and cheese maker. His hardworking mother, Annie Andreotti Sgheiza, was the dairy cook and a Domestic Engineer.

As a kid, Hank was known for being quick witted, and a handful. He attended Sacred Heart Elementary School K-8 and has many stories about those nuns who tried to keep him in line. His 8th grade year, he was the only boy! During grade school he worked for Western Union delivering telegrams on his bike. He was so grateful to spread his wings and attend Salinas High School where he met the love of his life, Frances Sbrana. He was the MVM (Most Valuable Man) on the lightweight football team known as the Cow Babes back then. Hank also enjoyed playing basketball for the Salinas High Cowboys.

Upon graduation in 1940, Hank enlisted in the Navy and attended Del Monte Pre-Flight School in Monterey and the University of Utah as part of his training to become a Navy Pilot. As a US Naval Aviator he mastered flying the F4U Corsair and multi-engine aircraft during WWII.

Hank and Frances married in 1944 while Hank was still in the service. After returning home to Salinas, Hank worked in the agriculture industry before joining forces with his two brothers in 1957 and purchasing Salinas Motor Parts, making it Sgheiza Bro’s Salinas Motor Parts. In 1976, after his brother Emile’s retirement, his son, Tom, bought in and became his partner in Sgheiza’s Salinas Motor Parts. They continued to work together until Hank’s retirement in the early 1990’s and Hank continued as a consultant in his son’s business, Sgheiza’s Machine Shop, specializing in high performance engines.

Hank was active with the youth of Salinas. He coached youth basketball and was on the Salinas Parks and Recreation Board for a number of years. He was also the secretary/treasurer of the Knights of Columbus 4th Degree for over 20 years, as well as a member of the Salinas Elks, where he enjoyed taking his daughter, daughter-in-law and granddaughters to the Father-Daughter Dances each year.

Hank was also very instrumental in developing the Northshore Ski and Boat Club at Nacimiento Lake. Right after the dam was finished he started bringing his family to the lake almost every weekend. He loved the outdoors, fishing, boating and water sports. He was an avid water skier (that’s how he lost 3 of his fingers that still lie on the bottom the lake) and passed his love of the sport down to his children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. He and Frances built their lake house in Bee Rock Cove. Many happy days were spent at “the Lake” with family and friends. Upon retirement they moved there permanently to live full time.

After his wife’s passing Hank returned to Salinas to be closer to his family. Last year Hank was recognized at the 100th Salinas High Football game with the honor of doing the coin toss. His great granddaughter Marley, a current SHS Cowboy, escorted to him to the center of the field. Go Cowboys!

Hank was a friendly and memorable person known for his honesty and candor. His quick wit and humor was enjoyed by all. His main focus was his family and good friends. His stories and lessons on life have been passed down to his children, grandchildren and great grandchildren who were so blessed to have all these years with him. Hank will be greatly missed by all who knew or came in contact with him.

He was preceded in death by his wife of 68 wonderful years, Frances Mary Sgheiza, his parents, Emilio and Annie Sgheiza, his brothers James Sgheiza, Emile Sgheiza and Elmer Sgheiza as well as his sisters, Lucille Pinelli and Doris Vosti. He also lost his son, Jimmy at an early age, his daughter Peggy Sgheiza Rhoten and his grandson, Matthew Rhoten.

He is survived by his son, Tom Sgheiza (Mary) of Trail, Oregon, his grandchildren Jamie Panziera (Matt) of Salinas, Brian Sgheiza of Waxhaw, NC, Daniel Rhoten (Lori) of Fresno, CA, Kelly Rhoten (Bonnie) of Grapevine, Texas and Nicole Rowland (Travis) of Marina, CA. He is also survived by his great-grandchildren Zachary Panziera (Nicolette), Marley and Calleigh Panziera, Austin, Ryder and Westin Sgheiza, Carter and Cade Rhoten, and Henry (Hank) and Lukas Rowland.

The family would like to thank Ron and Diane Vasquez, of Heart of Hollister, for the superb, loving, quality care and friendship that Hank received the last six months of his life. Also, we are very appreciative of the attention, care and comfort that was so faithfully administered by Hospice. And a special “thanks" to Carol Holder from Change of Places, who helped the family navigate through the confusion of getting the right placement and care for Hank and connecting us with Heart of Hollister.

As per the wishes of Hank, no public services will be held. Online condolences can be made at www.struveandlaporte.com
Any remembrances may be sent to Bridge Hospice - Central Coast 6 Quail Run Circle, STE 103 Salinas, CA 93907




Funeral Home
Struve and Laporte Funeral Home
41 West San Luis Street
Salinas, CA US 93901


Bridge Hospice-Central Coast
6 Quail Run Circle STE 103
Salinas, California 93907