Catherine Fazio as born November 13, 1922 to Pietro Ballestrin and EmiIy Riparreti in Porterville, Ca..
She was the oldest of three sisters. She left us on December 6, 2018 in her Porterville home.
Catherine's early years were strongly influenced being nurtured by her single parent father and the extended family of the Porterville Italian Colony, caring for her younger sisters and working in the fields. These early years cultivated a strong spirit of independence, sense of responsibility, strength, generosity, and humility that continued througout her life.
Catherine attended Alta Vista and Porterville High School graduating in 1941. She was athletic and enjoyed playing sports while in school. During her senior year of high school she met a shy, handsome Sicilian man named Tony. A couple of weeks after her high school graduation Catherine and Tony were married. They enjoyed a few happy months until WWII took Tony overseas for about 3+ years.
While Tony was away, Catherine took a job in a gas station on North Main street where she pumped gas, changed tires and oil and performed other basic car maintenance and repalr. Because she was always athletic she joined a women's softball team to pass the time, which she continued well into the 1950's.
Soon after Tony's return in late 1945, their first child, John was born. A daughter followed in 1948, but died soon after. Their third child Carolyn was born in 1950.
Upon Tony's return he put his home construction skills to work. They purchased property on what is now Woods street and the two built their first home. When I say "built", I mean Tony and Catherine built the house themselves. With the birth of Carolyn they decided they needed to have a bigger home, so they built another home next door. They continued to build 5 more rental homes on Woods Street over the next 20 years.
In the early 1950's Catherine began her career as a substitute rural mail carrier. In the late 1960's she became a full time mail carrier until her retirement in the late 1970's. During the 1950's she also raised chickens and sold eggs. She had a small popcorn vending machine business,
As a result of her experience in painting her rentals, friends and acquaintances began to ask her to paint the interior of their homes which she continued to do through the 60's and 70's.
Tony also farmed oranges, almonds and olives.
So at times she helped with farming activities. Catherine was a devoted mother and spent whatever time and energy was necessary to make her children's lives happy. She was very active in the St. Anne's school and Mother's Club. She coached girls softball at the school. She attended all of her son's athletic events and kept score for his summer baseball teams.
Catherine's life was not all work and child rearing.She did enjoy simple pleasures of time together with family and friends. She and Tony played cards with another couple for over 40 years. She continues to play cards weekly with a group of her friends into her 90's. She had many hobbies and crafts over the years including painting and making personalised greeting cards for friends and family, She enjoyed cooking and baking. She started taking 8 rnm movies of family and friends in the 1950's and has an extensive collection of film memories.
She loved dogs and always kept one throughout the years.
When the children were young they purchased a small trailer home and enjoyed camping and fishing in the local mountains and clamming at Pismo.
They travelled together to the World's Fair in Seattle and Canada. In the 1960's Catherine and Tony started making annual trips to Houston to visit Irene(Catherine's sister) and husband Louis. The couple also enjoyed trips to Hawaii, Alaska and other U.S. destinations. Catherine and her children travelled to Italy in 1986 where she visited family with which she had only corresponded.
When the lottery came about, Catherine volunteered at Smith's market to sell lottery tickets. A job she enjoyed for many years. She also enjoyed hosting bus trips to Las Vegas, Palm Springs and Roger Rocka's in Fresno to name a few. Her annual Christmas trip to Laughlin included her dressing up as Santa Claus to the delight of the passengers.
Catherine and Tony bought property at Pierpoint in the 1970's. She would work delivering mail during the week and on the weekends she and Tony would go to the mountains and work on the cabin. They spent many happy years enjoying the cabin with family and friends.
Beginning in 1969, Catherine started volunteering at Sierra View Hospital. Little did she know she would spend over 43 years giving of her time (thousands of hours) and in return realising so many friends and happy experiences.
Catherine was preceded in death by her husband of 65 years Tony, her infant daughter(Emily), her sister( Irene)Strovas.
She is survived by her children John Fazio(Diane) of Strathmore, Carolyn Cave of Fresno and nephew James Fazio of Alabama.
Our mother's kind, generous, fun, happy spirit will be missed by all who knew and loved her.
In Iieu of flowers donations can be made to Sierra View Pink Ladies or your favorite Animal Rescue Group.
Visitation will be from 2 - 8 P. M. Monday Dec. 17 with Rosary at 6 P.M. at Porterville Funeral and Cremation and graveside services Tuesday Dec 18 1 P.M. at St. Anne's Cemetery. To sign Catherine's online register book please log on to www.portervillefuneral.com. For additional information please contact us at 765
W. Henderson Ave. Porterville Ca 93257 (559) 784-6485
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