Obituary | John Constantine, 1951 – 2023

John Constantine – a larger-than-life personality to friends everywhere – was born in Flushing, Queens, in New York on March 10, 1951. He was the eldest child of Constantine “Gus” Constantine and Sophie Klarides Constantine, shared his name with a famous Hellblazer comic and many other Greek men, and was one of a kind. He genuinely loved people and always saw the best in them. He was a great conversationalist, networker/connector, and enjoyed talking with anyone and everyone. He could “work a room” with ease.

The Constantine family moved all around the East Coast during John’s childhood, including stops in Port Washington and Smithtown in Long Island, New York as well as Great Barrington, Massachusetts. There, John made great, life-long friends and learned about business and hard work thanks to time spent in the family’s delicatessen and bowling alley/restaurant endeavors.

John’s interest in business led him to Villanova University to get his degree from the Villanova School of Business, where he became a loyal Wildcat and member of both the school band – playing clarinet – and Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity. Everyone he spent time with at Villanova remained a cherished friend throughout his life. March became John’s favorite month to show his admiration and support for his alma mater – clad in blue and white to cheer on his “Cats” during March Madness.

John began his career in finance at Hertz on the East Coast. When his family moved to San Diego, he decided to also move West and continued working in finance at Warner. When Warner acquired Atari, it paved the way for the “golden days” of his career. At Atari, he helped globalize operations for the iconic video game brand while living abroad in Hong Kong and London. His time in China led him to take on roles as president of the Americas at Bondwell, General Electronics, and Elite Industrial Group and drove him to share his knowledge and expertise while on the board of the Hong Kong Association of Northern California.

John fell madly in love with his wife – Debra Anne Cardella Constantine – when they were both living in San Francisco and met at a Bay Club party in 1984. They were engaged and married in 1985. Family and friends who came from near and far for their wedding now note that it was the beginning of their tradition of hosting visitors in the Bay Area. Many more memories were made as John and Debra moved to Piedmont and joined various organizations together – including Piedmont Newcomers and Neighbors and Claremont Country Club – that helped start and foster their loving community of friends.

John and Debra welcomed twin girls – Alexandra Patrina Constantine and Jonna Michelle Constantine – in January 1987. John was an active cheerleader in the early extracurricular activities of “The Girls” and grew into their trusted confidant in financial, business, and life advice. John enjoyed being a fellow Wildcat with Alexandra. He was endlessly proud of his daughters’ professional and personal accomplishments – big and small. They inherited his laughter – even in life’s most challenging moments – as well as keeping in touch with friends all over the country and world.

While John always had an appreciation for the finer things in life, he was deemed a “poster child” for retirement and enjoyed dedicating time to the things he already loved as well as trying out new activities. As a long-time member of the East Bay Wine Group, he also tasted wines with the Friends of the Grape (FOG) in San Francisco. He learned new games – especially bridge and golf – that kept him challenged and social. Serving the community allowed him to spend time with wonderful friends, new and old. He held many committee positions at Claremont Country Club and as a volunteer with the Ascension Cathedral’s annual Golf Tournament and Greek Festival. John also continued his love of playing the clarinet in Urquhart Concert Band and in the Piedmont 4th of July Parade. He was committed to Mended Hearts – an organization that gives hope to heart disease patients, their families, and caregivers. John also continued his college-era connections in the Bay Area with the Villanova NorCal Alumni community, where he served as president for many years, as well as advising the Lambda Chi Alpha chapter at UC Berkeley.

For an endlessly optimistic and easy-going guy, John encountered many difficult health issues recently that he could not overcome. He left this life on January 28, 2023, which was way too soon. John is survived by his heartbroken wife, Debra, and daughters Alexandra and Jonna.

Private funeral services were held Wednesday February 1, 2023 at 1:30pm at the Alameda Funeral and Cremation Services Chapel, 1415 Oak Street, Alameda. A celebration of his life will be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers his family prefers that memorial contributions be made to  The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (

This obituary ran in the SF Chronicle on Feb. 1-2, 2023 and has been reprinted with permission of the family.

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