may 9, 1930 - sept. 7, 2019
Bart Bartoni, the only child of Americo and Gemma Bartoni was born in Escalon, Ca. They moved to Modesto when he was 14. Dad attended River School in Escalon, Roosevelt Junior High and Modesto High School. During those years he did the very minimal of his school work as he spent most of his time drawing cars on his assignment papers. He always dreamed of being an artist which he definitely had a talent for. When he wasn't drawing cars he was sitting on 10th St watching all the guys cruise by. As soon as he had a car, he could be found cruising on 10th. Little did he know 10th St. would be his hang out for the next 60 years to come. Dad and his friends loved to reminisce about their cruising days. Not just about the cars and street racing but about the girls too!
After high school, Dad enlisted in the Navy. When he returned to Modesto he worked at several jobs, all being on 10th St, including working as a salesman in men's fine clothing . He loved clothes. His mother, Gemma, was in the jewelry business and mentioned to him to come help them one Christmas season. His path was found as he realized he could start using his artistic ability to design custom jewelry. He managed several jewelry stores and then decided it was time to open his own store in 1962, of course on 10th street! He forever became known as "Bart the Jeweler with a Heart". Dad won several jewelry competitions across the nation. Some of his proudest moments were when three of his four diamond ring creations won first place in Beverly Hills. Then he won first, second and third place in New York. In 1969 Dad had the vision of building the first arcade in Modesto, connecting 9th St and 10th St. located at 919 Bartoni Ln.
There he had Bartoni Jewelers and in 1975 he opened up The Godfather's bar and restaurant.
Throughout his life his love of cars continued to grow. Along with designing jewelry, he also had the love of designing custom cars. I guess all those years of drawing cars on his school assignments paid off. He has won numerous car shows, more than I can even begin to count, including top 10 at the 50th Anniversary Hot August Nights, honorary award at the Vegas Sema Show, with his last custom car, a 1938 Alfa Romeo. In 2018 he was awarded the Bart Bartoni Lifetime Achievement award, presented by Del Rio. He was extremely honored. He was thrilled that this year, he was able to present this award to one of his best buddies, Don Monaco.
Dad loved life and lived it to the fullest. He's always said don't be sad when I'm gone, I've had 100 times more fun than a person is supposed to have in life. And he wasn't kidding.
Bart is survived by his loving companion Lisa Lodi of 33 years. His daughter Vicki Whited (Rick), grandsons Jeff Whited (Jamie), Chad Whited (Kylie) and his newest love of his life, great granddaughter Gianna.
A private mass be held with the family.
We will be honoring Dad with his last cruise down 10th street on September 22nd at 1:30. Custom cars to stage at the parking lots on the corner of K and 11th streets at 1:00
Following the cruise, a Celebration of his great life and his final car show will be held at 2:30 outdoors at the Fruit Yard, 7948 Yosemite Blvd. All custom cars please use the entrance off Geer Road. There will be parking attendants to assist line up. All personal cars please enter off Yosemite Ave.
In lieu of flowers, please donate to Community Hospice, American Heart Assoc. or St. Jude.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Bart Mervin Bartoni, please visit our floral store.