January 19, 1935 - October 17, 2021
George Victor Del Vigna (86) of Leesburg, Florida passed away October 17, 2021. George's story began in downtown Chicago, on January 19, 1935. The first in his family to be born in America, he only spoke Italian when he entered kindergarten. The language barrier didn't slow down his education though because once the teacher contacted his mom, he miraculously learned English! George made it to high school where he joined the baseball and basketball teams. The boys he played with became some of his closest lifelong friends. They still visit and often talk. They shared his love of the game and his love of the prank. George loved to tell the story of his friend Kuna threatening to jump out of a second-story window at school after failing a test. When the teacher was called out, Kuna ran down the stairs to lay below the open window. George and his buddies were quick to inform the teacher upon her return of Kuna's plunge. Down to the principal they went, of course! As graduation approached George decided he'd like to continue his baseball career. A very different process from college recruiting today, George sent letters to tons of colleges, listing his statistics and asking to be part of the team. When he heard back from the University of Denver, he packed his bags and left Chicago. George earned his bachelor's degree on a full-ride baseball scholarship. After being named NCAA batting champion two years in a row, George was offered a roster spot on Detroit's minor-league team. Unfortunately, baseball was not the lucrative career it is today, so he left his bat behind and joined the US Army. Stationed in Germany, George's platoon was known as the Remington Raiders. He loved to joke about his typing brigade, but we know under his humor, he was as proud of his bravery as we are! This was very clear when he attended his grandson Lucas' graduation from Western Michigan University. Lucas graduated from the Army's ROTC program there. George's other grandson, Vinnie, also served in the US Army and was there to celebrate. Once George completed his service, squeezed in some travel, and finished a few German beers he returned to the USA to start his career. He was offered a job in Detroit selling drapery materials. This would be the first of many carloads of samples George would drive around and he would never have trunk space available again! In addition, he learned every road in the city and sampled every restaurant along the way. He moved job-to-job between Detroit and Chicago, bettering himself, until finally settling down in the Detroit suburbs. George joined Graber interiors, selling window blinds and drapery rods. We had the most perfectly hung valences on the block! George often won their Salesman of The Year award. He joked about those pointy glass trophies, but again, we know deep down he was proud of himself. In his free time, George loved to take part in sports: playing watching, and coaching. He never missed tennis league, had season Detroit Lions tickets, and taught all of his children and grandchildren a thing or two or maybe 12 about baseball, basketball, or whatever they were interested in. When he met Yvonne, sports were an instant connection. Then, they realized they both loved family, travel and politics and they had a lot of fun. George will always be remembered as a great Dad. For one, we were never late! A few times he even backed out of the driveway with our feet hanging out of the car, door still open. At least once, he left without us - a University of Michigan football game in 2005." Is that Grampy leaving the garage?!?". But we were also never alone. He came to all of our events: Jeanine's softball, my piano recitals and horse shows, and of course Doug's countless hours of travel hockey. He let us keep pets that rifled through the garbage, ate the wallpaper paper right off the wall, and marked the carpet in the living room. He read us the paper every morning, Garfield and Snoopy with voices and, of course, the Daily Quiz. There always had to be a bit of competition! He taught us how to drive, sorry about the dirt road spin-outs Dad! He made sure dinner was on the table when mom came home late, even barbecuing in the rain which was often! The list goes on and on! George had the same love for his grandchildren. He enjoyed attending their events and activities, playing games with them, talking and laughing, or just relaxing and watching TV. He loved to decorate Christmas cookies and paint Easter eggs. He taught them the same "dad art" that he taught us; the swan, the owl on a branch, and of course the correct-a-mundo chicken! In his later years, he became heavily involved in the communities that he lived in. He served on the City Council in Oxford, Michigan and was a Past President of Kiwanis Clubs in both Michigan and Florida, where he moved to be closer to Michelle and her family. He became a Knight of Columbus of the Fourth Degree. He volunteered for the church, his granddaughters' school, and the Leesburg community. In his quieter days, he became an avid golfer and began reading mystery novels. Most would remember George for his infectious smile and his joy and humor. He loved getting together with friends, especially if they were going out for Italian! He was often found cooking, sharing, and eating Italian food. He'd drive a long way for gnocchi and was never afraid to ask the server if it was homemade. George loved his family, his many wonderful friends and he will be deeply missed. We are thankful for the wonderful memories he left behind and are confident that he will be on our shoulders as we make new ones. George is survived by his beloved wife of 41 years, Yvonne (Drummond) Del Vigna; his children, Jeanine Von Lau (Geoff) of Central Lake, MI, Dr. Michelle Wood (Chris) of Leesburg, FL and Douglas Del Vigna of Columbus, OH. He was also blessed with grandchildren, Vincent Von Lau (Chelsea), Lucas Von Lau, Macy Wood and Sally Wood. He is also survived by his brother, Nick Del Vigna and dogs, Rigby and Ollie. He was preceded in death by his parents, Adolph and Mary (Contino) Del Vigna. A mass of Christian burial is scheduled to be given at the St. Paul Catholic Church in Leesburg, FL on Saturday, November 6th at 8:30 am. The public is invited to join the family in the Holy Family Room adjacent to the church immediately after the mass for a brunch. George will be buried with honors at the Florida National Cemetery Monday November 8th, 2021. If you would like to be in the procession, it will leave from Beyers Funeral Home, Leesburg, FL at 9:15 a.m., otherwise the interment will be at the cemetery at 10:30 a.m. In lieu of flowers, donations made to Leesburg Yellow Jacket Booster, Baseball. Donations will go towards getting a covered batting Cage at Pat Thomas field which will benefit all of Leesburg. Checks can be made out to Leesburg Yellow Jacket Booster, Baseball Address is PO Box 492325, Leesburg, FL 34749 Electronic donations can use Venmo, @LeesburgYellowJacketBooster, please leave a note for baseball batting cage. Online condolences may be left at www.beyersfuneralhome.com Arrangements entrusted to Beyers Funeral Home and Crematory, Leesburg, FL.
George Victor Del Vigna (86) of Leesburg, Florida passed away October 17, 2021. George's story began in downtown Chicago, on January 19, 1935. The first in his family to be born in America, he only spoke Italian when he entered kindergarten.... View Obituary & Service Information
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