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Mattie Passalaqua
A graveside service will be held at 10 a.m. today at Lakewood Memorial Park for Mattie Passalaqua, 94, of Ceres. She died Oct. 12, 2011 at the Alexander Cohen Hospice House in Hughson.

Lakewood Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.

Born Aug. 24, 1917 in Maud, Okla., Mattie was the sixth child of Charlie and Minnie Black. When she was 10 her family began a two-year trek across the country to Riverbank. Going to school in many locations taught her to cope with being and championing the outsider. She married Jim Passalaqua in 1935, had three children, raised four children of a neighbor, and cared for 18 foster children during the 1940s and 1950s. With Jim (who died in 1991), she farmed 40 acres on Grayson Road for 64 years. In 1947 she opened J&M Grocery providing gas, food, and friendship for westside neighbors until sale of the business in 1970. Mrs. Passalaqua also served as secretary/receptionist for the Del Rio Hunting Club from 1972 to 1998.

She leaves behind her children Tom Passalaqua of Ceres, Jerry Passalaqua of Ceres, Carolyn Passalaqua-Deller of Modesto, and Emily Zeman of Grover Beach; nine granddaughters, five grandsons, 30 great grandchildren, and 12 great great grandchildren.

Remembrances may be sent to Alexander Cohen Hospice House, 2201 Euclid, Hughson CA 95326.

-Ceres Courier/ October 19, 2011