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James F. (Jimmy) Paronto, 1943–2023

Thursday, February 22, 2024
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James F. ( Jimmy) Paronto and All Area football of Grand Junction, Colorado, was born April 25, 1943, and departed this life December 11, 2023 at the age of eighty years. Jimmy had tragically lost both of his parents when an infant and was raised by his loving grandparents Tom and Bessie Cooner of Spur, Texas.

Jimmy graduated from Spur High School in 1961 after achieving remarkable success. He was elected student body president for two years, was football captain two years, was a member of numerous school organizations, and was a member of the National Honor Society. He was selected to All District and basketball teams.

It was necessary for Jimmy to have a job from an early age, and beginning in junior high he delivered papers each morning before coming to school. Most importantly Jimmy was a humble servant who was a friend to everyone. Jimmy was highly respected and admired by all those who knew him.

After graduation from Spur High School he went to Pepperdine University in Los Angeles, California, on a football scholarship. After his freshman year, Pepperdine discontinued their football program and he transfered to Adams State College in Alamosa, Colorado, to play football and complete both his undergraduate degree and his masters degree. Here he met Rita, his beloved wife of fifty-nine years. Jimmy completed his education at Brigham Young University, where he received his Doctor of Education degree.

After coaching football at the high school level for several years Jimmy joined the staff at Brigham Young University as an assistant football coach. BYU won the national football championship in 1984 while he was coaching there, and he proudly wore his championship ring. He later coached at Oregon State University. In 1987 he returned to Grand Junction, Colorado, to his first love, that of coaching high school football.

Jimmy was a longtime baseball umpire in the PAC-10 and Mountain West Conferences. He mentored dozens of young men who also became baseball umpires. In 2003 he became the chairman of the NCAA Baseball Rules Committee and served in that office for many years.

Jimmy is survived by his loving wife Rita Garcia-Paronto, daughter Jami, sons Kristian and Michael, and a host of grandchildren.

Services were held at St. Matthews Episcopal Church, Grand Junction, Colorado. Fittingly a celebration of life will be held in April at the baseball field in Grand Junction, Colorado.