Sam J. Alaimo ’44, ’47, 93, passed away peacefully in his home on April 26, 2015. He was blessed to have celebrated his birthday a week before with his eight children, their spouses, and many of his 17 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.
He was born in San Jose to immigrant parents who arrived from Sicily in 1912 and was the fifth of six children. He attended St. Patrick’s Elementary School, San Jose High School, and Santa Clara University on a hard-arned four-year college scholarship. His SCU Class of ’44 was known as the "Fighting 40s," as most of them had to leave the University their junior year to either enlist or be drafted during WWII. He attended his 70th college reunion last October, when he was honored with this very special group of men.
Sam was trained as an officer after enlisting in the Army. He was a unit commander, field artillery, stationed in the Philippines and Japan. His basketball skills qualified him to both coach and become a key player on the military basketball team which won the Army Olympics in front of 18,000 fans, mostly troops.
After the war he went back to SCU and graduated in 1947. He coached and played semi-pro basketball in Sacramento (Senators) and San Jose. To better provide for his growing family, he started Sam J. Alaimo Insurance Services, which he successfully ran for more than 40 years until he retired. In 1965, Sam was inducted into the Santa Clara University Athletic Hall of Fame for basketball and was active on the SCU Board of Regents for many years.
He was a parishioner at St. Martin of Tours Catholic Church since the early 1950s and he and his wife, Gerry, who predeceased him in 2001, were very active St. Martin’s parents while their 8 children attended the school. They enjoyed traveling to Palm Desert, Hawaii, Mexico, and abroad with their lifelong friends. Sam always looked forward to his annual Christmas luncheons at the San Jose Country Club that he and Gerry had started together. Sam and Gerry created wonderful memories with their family vacationing in Yosemite and at their family beach house in Aptos, and with the many holiday gatherings in their home and graduation parties and family reunions in their backyard. Sam and Gerry are now dancing together again as they loved to do so beautifully.
Sam was an avid Warriors, 49ers, and Giants fan watching the games on TV as a vocal armchair coach. He enjoyed his passion for golf as a member of the San Jose Country Club for 38 years. His interest and commitment to the stock market kept him sharp and he continued making trades online until his last days while daily monitoring the stock ticker display and listening to the financial pundits. Many appreciated his stock tips and investment advice including his golf buddies and his friends, "the boys," who lunched with him monthly.
Sam is survived by his eight children: Kathy Brandi (Ed), Janet Reynolds, Ed Alaimo (Gail), J.G. Alaimo (Anne Monson), Marylou Cardosa ’77, MBA ’81 (Mark A. Cardosa ’73), Mayellen Banister, Yvonne Rosko (George), and Richard Alaimo (Paula), in addition to 16 grandchildren including Eli T. Reynolds ’97 and Kristin M. Cardosa ’06 and six great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his wife Gerry Sabatte Alaimo, granddaughter Erica Reynolds, son-in-law Pat Reynolds, brothers Bill, John, Peter and Carl, and his sister Marie.