Lifelong Sonoma resident, Jack Montaldo, passed away peacefully with family by his side at the age of 64 after a long illness on February 28, 2019. Jack was a very generous and kind person, always helping others. Throughout his life, Jack enjoyed many hobbies including wood working, hunting, cycling and photography. He graduated from Sonoma Valley High and attended Napa Junior College. He started out his career following in the footsteps of his father, longtime former Assistant Postmaster Charles Montaldo, by working at the Sonoma Post Office. However, after a few years he decided to try something new.
Family friends, Gratien and Lili Guerra who owned the Sonoma French Bakery, offered Jack a baking apprenticeship, and he decided to throw himself into it. Jack loved working with his hands and being able to see a task completed. Prior to working at the bakery, this happened through his wood working and cabinet making skills. But at the bakery, he found something else he enjoyed. Jack worked at Sonoma French Bakery from about 1977 until 1993, when he left in preparation for opening his own bakery with two friends, Lili and Gratien’s daughter and son-in-law, Francoise and Ron Hodges. The three partners opened the Basque Boulangerie Café in Sonoma in February of 1994. Jack enjoyed growing their business from seven employees to 60 at the end of 2012 when they sold the bakery and retired. The Basque specialized in hearth baked, naturally fermented sourdough breads, Danish pastries, delicious cookies, and a café menu. The Basque Boulangerie competed for and won many Harvest Fair Sweepstakes gold medals and awards for their breads and pastries throughout the years, and was featured on the Food Network’s Rachel Ray show. Over their nearly 20 years in business in Sonoma Valley, the Basque Boulangerie reciprocated the community’s generosity in supporting them, by donating to many local associations and fund raisers. For several years Jack also sponsored a group of bike riders in the Tour de Cure fundraising bicycle ride for Diabetes research. Fittingly, his team was called “The Breadheads”. Many of the bakers hired and trained by Jack continue to work at the Basque today, and others were able to discover a trade they have grown to enjoy.
Jack is survived by his mother, Evelyn Montaldo of Sonoma, his sisters Nancy Hogberg (Bill) of Napa, Linda Sullivan (Mark) of Sonoma, Joan Cantrell (Alan) of Prescott Valley, AZ and Cece Schoen (Dan) of Windsor. He was the uncle of David and Doug Hogberg, Jeff, Scott and Mike Sullivan and Tyler and Ryan Schoen, in addition to four great nieces and nephews. Jack also leaves behind his beloved dog, Sadie. He was preceded in death by his father, Charles Montaldo and his brother, Robert Montaldo. A Celebration of Life will be held on Friday, March 8th, 2019 at 12:00, noon, at the Sonoma Veterans Memorial Building, 126 First St. West, Sonoma. Private interment at Mountain Cemetery in Sonoma. Donations may be made to Hospice of Petaluma, the American Parkinson Disease Association or an organization of your choice.