Anne Elliott, Gloria Frediani, Gary Herron, David Jamieson, Vincent Laveaga, Mac
Lopez, Rick Lund, Stan Palmer, Derek Stotton, Jean Tacchino, Jim Tigan, Michael
and Karen Yates
Phillip John DiMaggio
— by Linda DiMaggio
Phillip John DiMaggio was born in Reno, Nevada on
September 13, 1948 to Sam John DiMaggio and Pauline
Mary Frediani. Phil’s father moved to Nevada from Michigan
during World War II when he was stationed at Stead Army
Air Base. His mother emigrated to the United States from
Lucca, Italy and settled in Floriston, California before moving
to Sparks.
Phil’s rst home was a small, three-room house located in
downtown Sparks. The neighborhood was lled with Italian
families - Isolas, Gandalfos, Ceccarellis, Scarsellis, Gilardis
and Angelinis to name a few. Mario Frediani, Phil’s young un-
cle, also lived with the family. The house had a wood-burning
stove in the kitchen which was used for cooking and heating;
it was usually hot in the summer and cold in the winter.
Phil grew up near B Street, Sparks’ main street. As a young-
ster, Phil made friends with the owners of the Chinese Pagoda,
the only Chinese restaurant in town at the time. They shared
many lunches and fortune cookies over the years. Phil’s vis-
its to the Chinese Pagoda were among his fondest childhood
memories. Phil’s love of the outdoors started in his childhood.
He spent many hours playing with Boots, the dog, and Bud,
the duck, in the yard. He also loved shing the Truckee River
with his dad, Sam, and his uncle, Mario and family picnics at
Nevada Beach, Lake Tahoe.
In 1958 the DiMaggio family moved to the outskirts of Sparks.
Their new home was located on K Street near Sullivan Lane
- there was a lot of new territory to explore. Most of the roads
nearby were still gravel and the farm elds and irrigation
ditches started a few doors down. Phil attended the newly-
constructed Sparks High School. There Phil met Felton
Hickman. Mr. Hickman was a music teacher, but since Phil
did not have a musical bone is his body, how or why they met
is unknown. Mr. Hickman was also a falconer. He sparked
Phil‘s interest. Phil read all the books he could nd on fal-
conry and trained a red tail hawk. From that time until his
death, Phil was passionate about the sport of falconry. As the
area around his house built up, keeping the hawk became
difcult. He let the red tail go. Other interests - cars and girls
- took its place.
Phil graduated from high school in 1966. In the fall of 1966,
Phil started attending the University of Nevada in Reno and
majored in Range Management. Phil’s passion for the wide
open spaces of Nevada greatly inuenced his choice of ca-
reer. At the University Phil met Larry Wahrenbrock. Larry had
moved to Nevada from southern California several years ear-
lier. Phil and Larry became fast friends. Together they explored
much of Nevada. It didn’t really matter if their hunting trips
to the Sheldon were successful, they enjoyed the time com-
muning with each other and the landscape. While in college
Phil worked summers for the U. S. Forest Service. He was
stationed at Carvers in Big Smoky Valley. From this base, he
mapped the range in most of the Monitor, Smoky and Reese
River Valleys. He became intimate with central Nevada and
never tired of camping and hunting there. Phil also met Linda
Hoggan at Nevada. Linda worked in the Renewable Natural
Resources Department where Phil had most of his classes.
They began dating and were soon spending most weekends
during the spring, summer and fall camping, shing and ex-
ploring in central Nevada. Phil graduated in May, 1970. He
returned to Nevada the following fall to take more classes
toward a Masters degree.
Phil and Linda were married on October 7, 1972. It was the
opening day of duck season as they were often reminded by
various uncles, cousins and friends. Phil and Linda contin-
ued to live in the Reno area where Phil worked in the fam-
ily business, Big O Tire Stores (no permanent jobs in range
management were available!). Central Nevada still beckoned
to Phil and Linda and it was on one such camping trip to
Kingston Canyon in Big Smoky Valley on July 4th, 1975, that
Phil took his rst steps toward becoming a Master Falconer.
Linda’s grandmother, Leila Rogantine, was with them and
they were headed to visit Round Mountain when Phil spot-
ted a Cooper’s Hawk. After the visit to Round Mountain, Phil
stopped the truck to take a look for the Cooper’s. A while
passed before he returned to the truck and begged “Gram”
to give him one of her nylon knee-highs. He took it and ran
back toward the creek. He soon returned with his treasure
- a baby Cooper’s. Upon returning to camp he promptly com-
mandeered one of the dish pans for the baby’s bed. Phil and
Linda returned to Reno and he set about getting perches,
food and all the stuff needed for a baby bird. While getting
all these things together, he also found that he needed some
other things - like a falconry license, a capture permit and a
Since Phil had never had a falconry license, he needed to
serve an apprenticeship. He began to make friends in the
falconry community; one of the rst people he met was Dave
Jamieson. After some encouragement, Dave agreed to be
Phil’s sponsor. Phil trapped a kestrel in the desert near his
home, did some more reading and the year passed quickly.
He was now a Master Falconer and his friendships through-
out the falconry community grew. One friend, Bruce Guimont,
had a Harris hawk that needed a home and Phil was happy to
oblige. He named the Harris “Elvira” (the song was popular!)
and together Phil and Elvira began hunting jack rabbits.
Many life changes occurred over the next several years. Phil
and Linda’s son, Brian, was born in 1980. Also, retirement
would prompt the sale of the family business. Phil began
working with a friend, Terry Baroli, remodeling houses and
he began articially-inseminating Elvira. Elvira began laying
eggs and raising chicks. He also acquired a naturally-breed-
ing pair of Harris hawks from Larry and Karen Kottrell.
He now had a federal breeding project and after a few years
of house remodeling, Phil decided to get a “real job”. He be-
gan working for a property management company in south
Reno. He was the grounds maintenance supervisor at the
Meadow Ridge development. The perfect job for Phil - no
time clock, plenty of ditches in the area, hours in the afternoon
were usually free - what he needed now was a goshawk! On
June 9, 1988, Phil took his rst goshawk from the Desatoya
Mountains in central Nevada. With Phil on this trip were Louis
Picininni and Richardo Velarde. Appropriately enough, her
name was Toya. Together they were soon taking jack rabbits,
cottontail, quail and ducks. Phil ew Toya for two years.
In 1991, Phil took a second goshawk from the Desatoyas
and Mike Gordeau was along. Phil climbed the tree and Mike
picked out two birds - one for himself and one for Phil. While
Phil was skinnying back down the tree another vehicle came
up the road. Mike hastily backed the truck out of the way and
almost rolled it. Phil and the driver of the second truck tied
ropes to the truck and pulled Mike and the truck back up to
the road - some expected excitement!
Later that year, Phil met Randy Lenz at a hawking club pic-
nic at Mike and Karen Yates’ home. Mike and Karen gra-
ciously hosted the picnic for several years and it was a great
time to renew old acquaintenances and meet new friends.
Randy and Phil became good friends and hawking partners.
Together they took several hawks, went on countless scout-
ing trips and generally enjoyed ying their birds and each
other‘s company.
Their rst trip together to take a bird was in 1992. Phil asked
Randy to be his spotter when he went to take an eyas gos-
hawk. Since Randy considered a goshawk to be the “Holy
Grail” of falconry birds, he jumped at the chance. Randy, Phil
and Brian, Phil’s son, headed out to the Desatoyas. After turn-
ing off the highway, Phil spotted a badger sunning himself on
a rock outcrop. He yelled at Randy to turn the truck around
and lm the badger with his new camcorder. It sounded in-
nocent enough to Randy so he complied, parking the truck
so that the badger and the rock outcrop were on the pas-
senger side of the truck. Phil hopped out and disappeared.
Meanwhile Randy got out of the truck and was fumbling with
the camcorder and battery trying to get things put together.
Brian wisely stayed put! The next thing Randy heard was
Phil’s excited voice yelling “head’s up”. Just as Randy got
the battery clicked in, the camcorder switched on and looked
down, the badger came out from under the truck lunging at
him ready to do some serious damage. Randy ran around
the truck and hopped into the bed - just in time. The badger
high-tailed it for his hole. They have been laughing about that
badger for almost 20 years.
Eventually, Phil decided that he didn’t want to repair sprin-
kler lines forever and he went back to school to become a
commercial refrigeration technician. He worked for Source
Refrigeration for about 15 years. He also became interested
in the art of bonsai through Richardo Velarde. He spent hours
trimming and wiring until each tree was close to perfection
and harmony.
Over the years there were many birds own, much game tak-
en, many chicks hatched and sent to falconers from California
to Scotland and England, countless memories shared, sto-
ries told and friends made. Falconry was a way of life for Phil;
one which rewarded him with many hours of pleasure and
cherished friends.