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In Memoriam: Vincent J. Naimoli

Nina Welding • DATE: August 30, 2019

Vincent J. Naimoli, 81, of Tampa, Florida, a Notre Dame alumnus, successful businessman, and founder of the Tampa Bay Rays baseball team, passed away on Sunday, Aug. 25, after a long illness.

One of four children of a second-generation Italian immigrant, Naimoli graduated from Paterson Central High School in New Jersey. He enrolled at Notre Dame in September 1955, as a member of the Fighting Irish Football team and as a Naval ROTC student, while also working a student job in the University’s South Dining Hall. He graduated from Notre Dame in 1959 with a degree in mechanical engineering and served in the U. S. Marine Corps before pursuing graduate engineering studies at the New Jersey Institute of Technology. He later earned his MBA from Farleigh Dickinson University.

A strong advocate of education, Naimoli supported these three universities and several others through a variety of gifts and scholarships. For more than 30 years, he also served as an active and engaged member of the Advisory Council for the College of Engineering at Notre Dame. 

Acclaimed and highly respected as a national and international business executive, Naimoli became most widely known as the original owner and chief executive officer of the Devil Rays, responsible for bringing major league baseball to South Florida in 1998. According to one Major League Baseball executive, Naimoli and the Devil Rays, are credited with, “changing the region’s sports landscape forever.” (The Devil Rays became the Rays in 2008.)

Naimoli was preceded in death by his parents, Ralph and Margaret Naimoli, and his brothers Alan and Raymond. 

He is survived by Lenda, his wife of 38 years, daughters Christine Naimoli, Tory Jarvis, Alyson Dorfman and Dr. Lindsey Naimoli and his sister Jill Naimoli Kane. He is also survived by five grandsons — Jack Jarvis, Matt Jarvis, Will Jarvis, Enzo Dorfman and Mark Dorfman — and by his sister-in-law, Glenda Young.

Funeral services will be held in Tampa on Saturday, Aug. 31. 

A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated in the Basilica of the Sacred Heart, on the Notre Dame campus, on Wednesday, Sept. 4, at 3:30 p.m., with University of Notre Dame President Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., as presider. Rev. William M. Lies, C.S.C., provincial superior of the Congregation of Holy Cross, United States Province of Priests and Brothers, will serve as homilist. 

Entombment will take place in Cedar Grove Cemetery on the Notre Dame campus.