John Louis Albanese ’70, June 26, 2014. A resident of Santa Clara, at the tender age of 66, John passed away peacefully surrounded by his family and friends after a 9 week pulmonary illness.
John was born to Joseph Albanese ’40 and Rose Albanese on June 1, 1948, grew up with his sister Mary Jo (Riehl), cousins Tom Albanese ’68 and Bill Albanese, and Joy (Stockton). John attended St. Martin of Tours for grade school, Bellarmine College Preparatory, and ultimately Santa Clara University. Prior to finishing Santa Clara, he valiantly fought for his country in Vietnam for two tours prior to being honorably discharged.
Upon his return from Vietnam, he spent some time working for his Uncle Carmen at Central Concrete Supply before returning to his father’s business, Joseph J. Albanese, Inc. (JJA). John worked at JJA and ultimately succeeded his father in the early 80’s. Under John’s legendary leadership, the organization has grown from a small organization to an iconic enterprise, while retaining the core values his father taught him- integrity, community, and commitment to our employees.
Albanese led the Santa Clara-based company that his father, Joseph, started in 1955 to become the Valley’s 15th largest private company, according to the Business Journal’s 2013 list of Largest Private Employers. It reported more than 800 employees last year.
John Albanese was raised in the industry. He started helping his father when he was just 6 years old, and took over when his father retired in the early 1980s. The company, now in its third generation of family leadership, has worked on some of the biggest jobs in the Bay Area — from Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital in Palo Alto and the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco to Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara. But it also does plenty of smaller jobs as well.
His company also completed work at Bellarmine College Prep and Santa Clara University, both schools from which he graduated.
Gary Filizetti ’67, MBA ’69, president of general contractor Devcon Construction Inc., first met Albanese at Santa Clara University, where they briefly played football together. He said Albanese had a stellar reputation in the industry and was known for his generosity and kindness.
“He was just a very caring guy and had a big heart,” said Filizetti, who has worked professionally with Albanese for years. “He was dedicated to his company and a great subcontractor to work with. When he committed something to get it done, they got it done.”
In fact, “We just get it done” is the company’s motto, inspired by John Albanese’s service in the military during the Vietnam War. Albanese also came up with the company’s bulldog logo and "dogs of war" theme that became a big part of its brand.
“If they made a commitment, they’d keep the commitment,” Filizetti said.
While his business was very important to him, his family always came first. John is survived by loving companion Nora Prentice, devoted children Kevin Albanese ’96, J.D. ’08 (Julie), Chris Albanese, Beth Rogers (Bob) and Phillip Albanese (Lindsey) and grandchildren, Connor and Aiden Albanese and Emily and Madelyn Louise Rogers; all of whom live locally in San Jose.
In his most recent life chapter, John adored spending time with his children and grandchildren. Baseball games for his birthday, dinners on the town, celebrations of his children’s accomplishments, and family dinners would always put a smile on his face. He always let the kids be kids and encouraged their creativity, innocence, and genuineness. He will be sorely missed by the three grandchildren that he knew and the one that was born while he was hospitalized fighting his miserable disease.
Everyone that knew John considered him a friend. He was one of the most caring, compassionate, and generous men God ever created. Without fame or notoriety, he cared for more people in this valley than anyone will ever know. His loving and energetic sprit will be missed by every person who was fortunate to have encountered John.