Retired District Court Judge Michael E. Fondi passed away at home in Carson City on January 22, 2016 after a long and courageous battle with cancer.
Mike was born in Ely, Nevada on April 4, 1937 to Clara Orueta Fondi, who was a Spanish Basque immigrant, and Mike Fondi whose parents were Italian immigrants. He grew up with the heavy influence of his heritage and the belief that hard work, commitment and persistence would make you successful in life. He was proud to be a Nevadan, proud of his heritage and especially proud to be from White Pine.
Through his hard work and persistence he was able to attend Stanford University for his undergraduate work then Hastings for law school. When he finished law school he began his distinguished career in law finding his way back to Nevada and Carson City by going to work for Governor Grant Sawyer. He also worked in the Attorney General’s Office, as the Carson City District Attorney and ultimately retired as a District Court Judge. He had extensive involvement in several professional organizations. He was an idealist and believed it was important to express yourself, be involved, and exercise your right to vote to make changes you wanted or preserve the things you hold dear.
Mike was an avid duck and chukar hunter and especially enjoyed taking his sons hunting in remote parts of the state where he knew the names of every mountain range, landmark, canyon, dry creek or river bed. Despite being an avid hunter his home was a wildlife sanctuary. It gave him great joy to watch the deer and quail in his yard, the early evening flights of mallards and even the occasional bear, bobcat or mountain lion that seemed to know they had a friend that lived at his house. He was constantly watching what was happening outside and always seemed to see things that most people didn’t notice. He loved good food and good drink and sharing those with friends and family. He was an avid reader of anything and everything and had an incredible knowledge of many different subjects that he shared when someone was interested. Mike loved the gorgeous Nevada sunsets and the endless beauty of this state as viewed from atop a chukar mountain. He loved to be outside, whether it was in a cold, snowy duck blind or working in his yard on a beautiful summer weekend. More than anything he loved to hike the mountains above Carson City with his Black Labs who were constant companions throughout his life.
Mike had an appreciation and enthusiasm for this gift of life that did not fade. His strength and tenacity throughout his professional and personal life will be felt by those who knew him for the rest of their lives. His physical presence will surely be missed but his sprit will live on in all those whose lives he touched.
Mike is survived by his wife Valerie Cooney, her son Anthony Owens (Karen) and his three sons, Michael David, Anthony Paul (Connie) and Jonathan Mitchell (Carrie), and six grandchildren. Services will be held at St. Teresa of Avila Catholic Church, Carson City, at 11:00 a.m. on February 1, 2016. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the American Cancer Society.