Esther Mary Del Gaudio passed away peacefully on June 20 , 2020. She was surrounded by those who loved her. She was 97.
Esther was born in Philadelphia Pennsylvania, during the great depression. She was the second of seven children born to two Italian grocers , Julio Cianfarini and Gsuelda Reccheuti.
Although she showed much promise quite early as a clothing designer she quit high school to work to help support her family.
Esther was married for over 30 years to her beloved husband, Salvatore Del Gaudio, a carpenter.
She is survived by 4 of her 5 children. Beatrice was firstborn from a prior marriage. Then came Salvatore Jr., Julian, Dorene and John.
Some 70 years ago she started Del Gaudio’s Italian market in Pacoima, She began there by making freshly squeezed orange juice and offering 22 kinds of fresh pasta. She worked long hours and days, often from 8 am to midnight. Soon her husband was able to join her. He made fresh Italian sausage and was in charge of the deli counter. The market continues today, run by her two sons, John and Sal, Sal’s wife Camerina and by Esthers grandson, Salvatore, the third. The store is a part of her living legacy.
Esther was active in community affairs. She lived a life defined by hard work and tempered by kind acts and deeds, generosity, selflessness and an incredible strength of character.
Her strong Catholic faith and her indomitable spirit sustained her.. It helped her to bare the pain of the loss of her husband in 1975. She was widowed for over 45 years. She lost her son Julian just 5 years ago .
She outlived 5 of her six siblings. She was a beloved sister to Vera, Amorosa (deceased) and Anthony Cianfarini.
Family was of utmost importance to her. She had 22 grand children, 24 great grandchildren and one great great grandchild. She relished the addition of each new baby to the family. Keeping her family together was most important to her and to that end she sacrificed greatly.
She often vacationed at her daughter Dorenes home with Dorenes 5 children and their families in Darby, Montana. She loved her time in the fresh air, and flourished in the simpler country life. She bought a home there. At one point she bought a very small town called Conner, Montana . The local newspaper headlines immediately declared her Mayor, Chief of police and appointed her to every major office .
She bravely took her first and only ski lesson there at age 65.
Esther was the best of us. She left a huge mark on the world.Her kind will not come this way again.
After a private Mass Esther was interred at San Fernando Mission Cemetery next to her husband.
In lieu of flowers please send donations to City of Hope, Mission Hills, 15031 Rinaldi street, Mission Hills, California 91345