Jhun Antonio passed away peacefully in his sleep at his home from prostate cancer on the morning of January 31, 2021, at 76. Born on July 18, 1944, in Mallig, Isabela, Philippines, he grew up and was raised in Manila by a single mother who was a vegetable vendor at the local market. Jhun is the third of six children by Ignacia Layco and is survived by the eldest and only surviving sibling, Elizabeth Santiago.
Jhun attended AFPSEM High School (Batch 64) in Murphy, Quezon City, and enrolled for two years at the University of the East in Manila, majoring in Business Administration. Citing financial hardship, Jhun dropped out of college and enlisted in the United States Navy. Jhun was sworn in at Sangley Point Naval Station in Cavite, Philippines, in 1968 and attended boot camp at the Naval Training Center in San Diego, California. His first duty station was at the Naval Training Station in Miramar, followed by an assignment on the USS Kitty Hawk, The USS Ponchatoula, the USS Wichita, the USS Mars, and the USS Carl Vinson. His final position was as the recruiter in charge of the San Francisco Station. Chief Petty Officer Jhun Antonio's distinguished 25-year military career included four consecutive tours of duty in the Vietnam War, the Falklands War in 1982, and Operation Desert Storm in Iraq. For Jhun's deeds of valor, courage, and heroism, he received the RVN Gallantry Cross Medal with Palm, the National Defense Service Medal, the Vietnam Service Medal with Two Bronze Stars, the Vietnam Campaign Medal with Device, and two Navy Unit Commendation Awards. Jhun also served 12 years in the US Postal Service without once calling in sick, first in the maintenance department and then advancing to the window clerk position.
Jhun leaves behind Lolita Antonio, his high school sweetheart of 53 years, Verna Liza Antonio-Caba, his oldest daughter, Norman Caba, his son-in-law, only son Oliver Antonio and Oli's girlfriend Lynn Hu, and his grandchildren, Sydney and Connor Caba. During the holidays, Jhun loved playing Santa Claus and was a generous, kind, and loving father/grandfather figure to his many nieces and nephews and their children living in the Philippines, Canada, Germany, and throughout the United States. In 1972, Jhun petitioned for his wife and children living in Talavera, Nueva Ecija, Philippines, to join him in Honolulu, Hawaii, where they lived for nine years before transferring to the San Francisco Bay Area.
Upon arrival in California, Jhun and Lolita purchased what would become their first and final home together in the Delta Meadows neighborhood in Vallejo. They were inseparable and enjoyed cruise vacationing along Italy's shores, the Mediterranean Sea, the East and West Coasts of North America, Hong Kong, Seoul, Korea, and even the narrow passageway of the Panama Canal. They also went on a pilgrimage to the Holy Lands and renewed their wedding vows at Cana. Jhun's generosity, commitment to service, and devotion to his Catholic faith were boundless in his retirement years. He helped organize mission trips to deliver books and medical supplies to help his hometown as a member of the Talavera Association of America. He was a member of the Filipino-American Retired United States Armed Forces Association (FARUSAFA) and a eucharistic minister at St. Vincent Ferrer Church for 24 years. He was also a dedicated Fourth Degree Knights of Columbus.
Jhun Antonio will be laid to rest on February 19, 2021, at a private burial service with military honors at Sacramento Valley National Cemetery.