JAMES COSTELLO Jimmie Costello was born in 1923 in Los Angeles, the son of an executive with the Weber Baking and Interstate Bakeries. He was the eldest of four boys who all attended Black Foxe Military Institute, where he was an honors student. He attended UCLA
and came to Las Vegas in 1942 with his father to open a bakery downtown living in the El Cortez. In 1943, he joined the U.S. Army
serving in World War II
in the 12th Armored Division as a sergeant in command of his Shanty Irish tank in Gen. Patton's Hellcats Mystery Division, which was frequently behind German lines. His entire tank crew survived the conflict and became life-long friends. His memoirs told about Christmas Eve 1944 when his tank crew was in the German town of Aachen just north of the site of the Battle of the Bulge. They took shelter in a church and were befriended by a German family, including a young daughter. They traveled to harvest a Christmas tree for the family later learning it was in a mine field. They surrounded it with cakes, cookies and gifts sent to them by relatives. Sixty years after these events, he wrote it was an emotional experience that still brings tears to my eyes. God looked after us he wrote; we made that little girl and ourselves happy at Christmas. She did not know how five lost soldiers felt rewarded. He loved learning and during the war he completed business courses which he returned by mail. He attended Biarritz American University awaiting return transport to the U.S. In 1946, he rejoined his father in Las Vegas, purchasing with others a carload of Schlitz beer and selling it to the Las Vegas Army Air Field, now Nellis Air Force Base. They named their business Roach Distributing Co., after one of the partners and constructed a warehouse of abandoned barracks on Main St. He, along with his brothers, worked in the business. He met his wife, Veda, at the local bowling alley. They worked as a team to build their life and businesses together. When his father retired, he purchased the business and changed the name to J.W. Costello Beverage Co. They built a modern warehouse facility on Valley View and grew the business to represent many beers, wines and beverages and served the community for 60 years. He had hundreds of employees over the years, remembering all of their names or faces from pictures. He considered all of those customers who supported him throughout the years as close friends. He was proud of his civic and charitable activities. He was a true entrepreneur starting in his youth with Christmas tree lots and later with "Park a Tot," the first child care facility in Las Vegas. He received the Free Enterprise Award for his contribution to the growth of Las Vegas and he was a director for many groups including Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce and Employers Assn. He helped to pass legislation for the beverage industry. He helped start and operate the regions' first recycling center donating all of the proceeds to Juvenile Hall. In 1979, he formed an association with the Maitre d' and Captains Association to co-sponsor an annual wine festival at the Sahara Hotel. The Maitre d' Association awarded Jimmie its "Man of the Year" award for his contributions to various Las Vegas charities, including the Soroptimists, Candlelighters, Boys and Girls Club, St. Jude's Ranch for Children, Child Haven and others. Dec. 21, 2012, Jimmie passed away peacefully, with his family by his side, in the same bed in which his wife, Veda, passed away Christmas morning 15 years ago. Jimmie led a full and wonderful life with family, lots of special life-long friends and good times. He was always a hard worker, very determined and disciplined but loved to have a good time. You could always tell how he felt. He approached everything in life with the idea that "A little luck and a lot of hard work was all you ever needed." Jimmie taught us to work hard, love and laugh. He will be missed every day by his family and many friends. He is survived by his two sons, Richard and Jamie (Sara) all of Las Vegas; brother, Michael (Marcia) of Boca Raton, Fla.; grandchildren, Kimberly McFadden of Napa, Calif., and Jenner Costello of Las Vegas; and four great-grandchildren. Services were privately held at Palm Mortuary. Donations may be made to the Catholic Newman Center at UNLV.