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Cassandra de la Porte
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Cassandra "Sandy" de la Porte, a Ceres community activist who gallantly battled cancer for seven years, died yesterday at her home. Her death at age 56 leaves a huge void in the life of the community.

Mrs. de la Porte, a former Ceres teacher, was an active member of Soroptimist International of Ceres. Her husband is Phil de la Porte, the athletic director at Ceres High School.

"She was the epitome of strength," said Kathy Griffin, who was a member of the Soroptimist along with de la Porte.

"She loved Soroptimist with all her heart and soul," said longtime friend Isabel McKay. "She loved working on all the projects for Soroptimist. She was always there."

Mrs. de la Porte poured a lot of her energies into the club's "Baby Think It Over" project. The junior high school program is intended to get youth to put off sexual activity by showing them the rigors of caring for a baby. She also helped the club in their efforts to plant trees in the Big Basin area of Santa Cruz.

Services will be held at 10 a.m. Friday at Grace Community Christian Church in Ceres. A reception at the Ceres American Legion Memorial Building will follow.

Visitation will be from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday at the Ceres Chapel of Franklin & Downs.

"She was faithful," said friend Richard McKay.

A member of Grace Community Christian Church, Cassandra held a Bible study in her home on Monday night.

Born April 29, 1948, Mrs. de la Porte was a native of Vancouver, Wash., and lived in Ceres for 31 years. She taught at Ceres and Oakdale high schools, Ross Junior High in Hughson, Mae Hensley Junior High School and a year at Cal State Stanislaus. Mrs. de la Porte also had her own State Farm Insurance office in Ceres. She was an honorary life member of the Ceres Chamber of Commerce.

"She was somebody that was very strong in whatever she took on," said Mrs. McKay. "She was a very strong person. She was stubborn. Once she set a course she was set on it. She was very thoughtful and very, very giving.

"When they started going to Grace, she really, really enjoyed going to church and loved her Bible group ladies."

Mrs. de la Porte enjoyed crocheting and Creative Memories scrapbooking. She also enjoyed watching her two children, Danielle and Brian, play sports.

She also leaves behind her parents, Del and Jean Cooley of Battleground, Wash.; and her sister, Dr. Pennie Orwoll of Olympia, Wash.

Remembrances may be sent to Community Hospice, 601 McHenry Ave., Modesto, CA 95350.