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Caswell School mourns loss of longtime teacher
Cancer claims Mary Gonzales
Mary Gonzales

Caswell Elementary School staff and students are mourning the loss of longtime third-grade teacher Mary Gonzales, 64, who died from ovarian cancer on Sunday, Sept. 25.

Allen Mortuary in Turlock was in charge of arrangements. A Celebration of Life will be held at Samaritan Village Activity Center, 7700 Fox Road, Hughson at 11 a.m. on Saturday.

Mrs. Gonzales, who was one of four third grade teachers at the school, was diagnosed with cancer approximately a month ago and went on medical leave. The cancer was aggressive and took her life in three weeks.

Mrs. Gonzales had taught at Caswell School for 18 years. She taught the second, third, fourth and sixth grades during her teaching career there.

"It was sudden and difficult on the staff," said Denise Wickham, assistant superintendent of personnel for Ceres Unified School District.

Born April 30, 1952, Mary was born in Red Bluff to Raymond and Margaret Rodgers. When she was six her family moved her to Washington where they homesteaded a farm, before moving to Modesto. She graduated from Davis High School in Modesto, and attended U.C. Berkeley and U.C. Davis where she graduated. After graduation she lived in San Francisco and worked in shipping for Tri-Valley Growers, where she met her husband. Following his early death she decided to return to school for her teaching credential. She relocated to Hughson to be near her family and taught at Caswell for many years.

Mary was an avid reader and enjoyed traveling. She enjoyed playing chimes at Hughson Methodist Church.

She leaves behind her mother, Margaret Rodgers; her sister, Mindi (Ray) Lassman; and two brothers, David (Sheree) Rodgers, and Peter (Charlie) Rodgers. She was preceded in death by husband Greg Gonzales and her father.

Remembrances may be sent to the Ceres Unified School District Foundation (designated for Caswell School), P.O. Box 307, Ceres CA 95307; or to the memorial fund at Hughson United Methodist Church, P.O. Box 129, Hughson CA 95326.