Jim De Martini’s Life Consistent With Bequest

The life of Jim De Martini ’27 was utterly consistent with his bequest to SI’s scholarship fund.

As a young man in the 1930s, he paid part of the tuition for his younger brother, Burton ’35.

“There were five boys and one girl in our family,” Burton De Martini recalled. “We grew up in San Francisco’s North Beach. Our father passed away when I was six. It got pretty rough on our mother. Jim helped pay my way through SI and USF.”

The prominent Stockton attorney, who at one time was head counsel to the president of the Bank of America, Mario Giannini, got through USF “on the honor system,” according to his widow, Eleanor. “He promised he would pay his tuition in the future, and they took him at his word,” she said.

As he prospered, De Martini never forgot the financial struggles of students. William Wallace, De Martini’s law partner of many years at Mazzera Snyder & De Martini in Stockton, first heard from De Martini during his senior year at Stockton’s St. Mary’s High School.

“I had no idea who he was.” Wallace said. “He called me out of the blue and said he wanted to talk to me about my future education. My mother told me to meet with him.”

After the meeting, De Martini called Wallace again, offering the startled teenager a full scholarship at USF.

“My dad died when I was eight months old,” Wallace said. “We could never have afforded USF on our own.”

Wallace, a math major, kept in touch with his benefactor during college. “After I decided to go to law school, he called and asked me to meet him at his mother’s house in San Francisco. He offered me a job at his firm after law school. He was a very generous man.”

In 1947 Harry Mazzera, a member of the board of directors of Bank of America, invited De Martini to Stockton where they became founding members and partners of Mazzera Snyder & De Martini. Stockton was familiar territory to De Martini. His uncle, a Stockton pharmacist, had helped support the North Beach De Martinis after they lost their father.

“When we first moved here, Jim anticipated going back to San Francisco," Mrs. De Martini recalled. “But he fell in love with the area.”

She added that he had a lively interest in agriculture, using his Saturdays to visit orchards and vineyards he purchased over the years, selling them only a few years before his death last year.

From their earliest years in Stockton her husband took an interest in high school students wanting to go to college. “He said many times that he had received a wonderful education. He was a kind, generous, charitable person who was very concerned about others.”

Mr. De Martini passed away at home in Stockton on Nov. 5, 2002, leaving behind his wife, Eleanor, his daughters Mary Anne Mejia and Janet Williams, six grandchildren and many nieces and nephews.

In appreciation of his bequest to the school, SI is honored to enroll the late James De Martini as a posthumous member of its Carlin Society.

For information on the Carlin Society, call Vice President for Development Joe Vollert at 731-7500, ext. 214.

AMDG
St. Ignatius College Preparatory

Courage to Lead; Passion to Serve

2001 37th Avenue San Francisco, CA 94116
(415) 731-7500
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