Obituaries: Feb. 1, 2024
By Mid Valley Times Staff
5:17 am,
February 1, 2024
Raquel De Flores

Raquel De Flores, of Sanger, died on Sunday, Jan. 28, 2024. She was 87 years old. Mrs. De Flores was a homemaker. Visitation will be held on Friday, Feb. 9, 2024 at 9 a.m. with a Rosary said at 9:30 a.m. and funeral Mass at 10 a.m. at New St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Sanger. Interment will follow at the Sanger Cemetery. Wallin’s Sanger Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.

Maria De Atoche Reyna

Maria De Atoche Reyna, of Parlier, died on Sunday, Jan. 21, 2024. Mrs. Reyna was a homemaker. A funeral Mass was held on Monday, Jan. 29, 2024 at 11 a.m. at Our Lady of Sorrows Church in Parlier. Wallin’s Sanger Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements.

Trinidad Salazar

Trinidad Salazar, of Fresno, died on Thursday, Jan. 25, 2024. She was 95 years old. Mrs. Salazar was a cashier. A graveside service will be held on Monday, Feb. 5, 2024 at 11 a.m. at the Fowler Cemetery. Wallin’s Fowler Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements. 

George Sani

George Sani, 101 years, of Sanger, passed away peacefully on Jan. 19, 2024. George was born to Angelo and Elvira Sani in Clovis, CA on Dec. 27, 1922. He spent most of his life living in different places on Frankwood Ave. in Sanger. 

George was a first generation American who started his life with very little. He attended school and learned English at the old school on Hwy 180 and Frankwood Avenue. George was a medic in World War II. He went into Normandy three days after the initial invasion. After his deployment, he returned to the U.S. aboard the Queen Mary. He worked in maintenance at Cella Winery for more than 35 years. He married his wife Renee in 1961. 

Besides his family, George’s greatest accomplishment was his 30-acre ranch where he grew Grenache wine grapes. He started the ranch, which he called “The Place” in the mid-1950s, and grew grapes until the late 1980s. He would work all day or night at the winery and then come home and tend to his own vineyard or harvest. There were many long and exhausting days for him, especially during “crush” season. He kept his vineyard in pristine condition and strangers would often stop to tell him what a beautiful vineyard he kept. 

George was a member of the Model A Ford club of America. He restored two different Model A’s and was often seen traveling around in his beloved 1931 Coupe. He loved to give people rides in the rumble seat. As a family, they would take day trips with the two oldest kids in the rumble seat and the youngest laying in the tiny area behind the driver and front passenger. 

George was an excellent cook and was known for his special vinegar and oil salad dressing, polenta, and most of all, his famous spaghetti sauce. Friends and family would try to make the same sauce, but could never quite replicate the taste. After attempting and presenting the sauce to him, they might hold their breath in hopes of hearing the famous “good enough!” George also loved to cure homemade olives, a heavy and intensive job. Friends and family could not visit him without leaving with something…. A jar of spaghetti sauce, a jar of olives, pecans, walnuts, oranges or other fruits. He loved to eat, especially a good breakfast with a few cups of hot coffee. 

Because George grew up in the depression era, he saw many people lose all they had. This is why he pushed education for his children. He would repeatedly say “you can lose everything you own, but you can never lose your education.” He worked hard to make sure his children could go to college, and was proud of their successes. He instilled a strong work ethic in his children. 

He could fix anything and had a shop on the ranch where many people came and learned from him. His shop was a hub for Model A’ers and farming friends. He loved to talk and tell stories. 

He could be heard singing or humming in his shop. He was known for his frugality and would always ask, “How much did you pay for that?” then shake his head in disbelief. 

In 1989, his military unit was honored for their assistance in the war effort in France and he was invited to attend. He included his family on this trip, showing them where he landed as well as where specific events occurred. After the ceremonies in France, they went to Italy to meet his mother’s family. His native tongue came in quite useful during that trip. It was the trip of a lifetime. In 2015, he was invited to attend the Central Valley Honor Flight. He was able to visit Washington DC and the WWII Memorial and many other veterans. 

In his retirement years, he would get in his truck or Model A and make his daily rounds around the neighborhood, checking to make sure everybody was well and receiving or telling the latest news. When he was no longer “allowed” to drive, he took to a motorized scooter and could often be seen going up and down the street picking up trash and any other treasures he could find. Even as he aged and had to use a walker, he would continue to go out and pick up nuts in the yard, because “you have to keep moving.” 

He was a kind man with a sweet sense of humor. He went by the nicknames of Georgie, the Mayor of Frankwood, and Hombre. He was a simple man who needed little and was always content with what he had. His normal attire was a short-sleeved button up shirt, dirt-crusted jeans, his famous suspenders, a dirty hankie hanging out of his pocket, and his head topped with a heavily soiled hat. 

He called his children and grandchildren “my tesoro” (meaning “treasure” in Italian) But, he really was his family’s treasure. He was our precious husband, Dad, Poppy, Nono, Grandpa, and Uncle George. His greatest legacy is his adoring family and friends. He is a Legend in his family’s eyes. 

He is survived by his wife Renee, his adoring children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, and many nieces and nephews 

In honoring George’s frugality and simplicity, the family asks for no flowers. Instead, we ask you to enjoy a piece of pie, a cup of coffee and reminisce about George and all the changes he must have seen in his 101 years. 

The family wishes to thank the wonderful staff at Sierra View homes for the excellent care they provided to “Poppy.” 

Services at Dopkins Funeral Home in Reedley, Thursday, Feb. 8, 2024 at 10 a.m.

Herminia Zuniga Villarreal

Herminia Zuniga Villarreal of Sanger died on Jan. 23, 2024. She was 84 years old. Visitation will be held on Monday, Feb. 5, 2024 from 4 to 7 p.m. at Wallin’s Sanger Funeral Home with a Rosary said at 6 p.m. A funeral Mass will be held on Tuesday, Feb. 6, 2024 at 10 a.m. at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Sanger followed by burial at the Sanger Cemetery. Wallin’s Sanger Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.

Timothy Andrew Wilkins

Dr. Timothy Andrew Wilkins, died on Thursday, Jan. 25, 2024. He was 76 years old. Mr. Wilkins was an optometrist. Visitation will be held on Thursday, Feb. 1, 2024 from 5 to 7 p.m. at Wallin’s Fowler Funeral Home. A graveside service will be held on Friday, Feb. 2, 2024 at the Fowler Cemetery at 2 p.m. Wallin’s Fowler Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.

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Mid Valley Times Staff