RIP: Damian J. Paonessa, ’83

In your prayers, please remember the soul of Damian J. Paonessa, ’83.

Paonessa, Damian J. 

Damian John Paonessa MD of Walnut Creek, CA passed away unexpectedly on December 7, 2020. He is survived by his sons, Sampson, 19 and Vincent, 16. Damian is also survived by his parents, Dr. Thomas and Karen Paonessa of Florida; his mother-in-law, Maureen Paladini of Napa, CA; his brother, Joseph Paonessa and his wife Lynne of Australia; his sister, Maureen and her husband Dr. Michael Cassetta of Connecticut; his sister, Ann Paonessa and her husband Aaron Amore, Esq. of West Virginia; six nieces and one nephew; and his brother-in-law, Mark Paladini of San Francisco, CA. He was preceded in death by his wife, Michelle Paladini.

Paonessa grew up in Rochester, NY where he graduated from McQuaid Jesuit High School. He received a Bachelor of Science from Hofstra University, Long Island, NY. He earned a Doctorate of Medicine from Georgetown Medical School in Washington D.C., and was later board-certified in Obstetrics and Gynecology. He was an officer in the United States Air Force and was proud to provide exceptional medical care to the active-duty women, spouses, and dependents of our military for 20 years. He was stationed in California, Turkey, Italy, Germany, Japan, Washington, and Ohio, and retired from the USAF as a Lieutenant Colonel in 2011. A Fellow of the American Congress of Obstetrics and Gynecology in high-risk and complicated maternal-fetal medicine, he continued his career at Kaiser Permanente in Vallejo and Oakland, CA.

It is with great sorrow we announce Damian’s passing, but it is with joy we remember and celebrate his life and all the qualities that made us love him. Damian was funny, sweet, compassionate, caring, loving, and brilliant. As a doctor, his patience and professionalism stood out. Damian set high standards for himself, but was selfless and accepting of others. He made this world a better place for those around him.

Damian was an excellent and loyal friend and enjoyed relationships that he retained since childhood. He also knew how to have fun. Damian skipped second grade due to his prolific reading and mathematical ability. When he attended McQuaid Jesuit High School, he participated in plays. In addition, Damian competed on McQuaid’s track team as a pole vaulter and on the swim team. At Hofstra University he played rugby. He loved living in and enjoying the night life of Washington, DC as a student at Georgetown University.

Damian was an avid sports fan. As a child, growing up in Rochester, NY, he learned to root for and agonize over the successes and failures of the Buffalo Bills. When it came to basketball, he and his boys, Sam and Vinnie, loved attending games to support the Golden State Warriors. One way he relaxed, with family and friends, was to watch the latest sports event on television.

Damian loved travelling. As a doctor in the USAF, he had the opportunity to live in many places, all of which he greatly enjoyed. He was an excellent host. His home was always open to visits from family and friends. He was always generous and welcoming with friends and strangers alike.

Despite the distance after his move to California, it was important to Damian that Sam and Vinnie knew their cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents. In addition to trips to Florida, New York, and West Virginia, he and his family went on many family reunion vacations, including New Brunswick, Canada, Narragansett, RI, The DC Metro Area, Kitty Hawk, NC, and Williamsburg, VA. Damian’s efforts to make the trips each year helped his sons to bond with their cousins through adventures at amusement parks, escape rooms, museums, and beaches.

His enjoyment of life is reflected in the many vacations he took with his sons, Sam and Vinnie. They enjoyed amusement park rides at Disney Parks and Six Flags, tubing in Lake Tahoe, and camping trips with the Boy Scouts. Damian was a wonderful father and always put his family first. He was very supportive and extremely proud of both his children, and was an excellent role model for them. He volunteered in the community as a Cub Scout Den Leader and a Boy Scout Scoutmaster. He selflessly stepped up to lead his sons’ troop when no one else would in order to provide a life-changing experience for his children, and he stuck with it until the very end. When thinking about family activities, he always asked himself two questions. “Would this be good for the boys? Would the boys enjoy this?”

Part of being a wonderful father was to pass on his Roman Catholic faith to his children. As a former Altar Server, and student of a Catholic education, it was important to him to share the same experiences that he had. He worked hard to give his children the best Catholic school experience they could have just as his father did for him. He was an active volunteer in the St. Perpetua community where his boys attended school, often serving coffee and donuts after mass with his sons. Damian Paonessa was truly a person for others.

Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him.
May his soul and all the souls of the faithful departed, through the Mercy of God, rest in peace.

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