12182017Mon
Last updateSun, 17 Dec 2017 7pm

Kenneth Montanari (82): Heaven Gained a Trumpet Player

Ken Montanari (82) was born in Madera Ca. on March 30, 1935 to Julius and Della Montanari. Ken passed away peacefully surrounded by his family on February 3, 2017. He was a lifelong resident of Madera and graduated from Madera High School in 1953, where he mastered the art of trumpet playing.

He attended Fresno City College, joined the Marine Corps and served in the Korean War in 1955. He returned to Madera to work in the family business, Monty’s Liquor. He owned and ran Monty’s Liquor for many years. Following the sale of Monty’s he worked as a liquor salesman for Julliard Alpha and Southern Wine and Spirits where he was awarded many top honors for his salesmanship.


Larry Pistoresi: Mr. Chowchilla Passes Away at Age 92

Larry Pete Pistoresi (92) died Thursday, January 26, 2017 at the Skilled Nursing Facility in Chowchilla. He leaves his beloved wife of 44 years, Velma (Olivero) Pistoresi; his son Larry Pistoresi Jr. and his wife Linda; his stepsons Jerry Danieli and his wife Ramona, and Kent Danieli, a brother Monte and his wife Leona Pistoresi, sister Violet and her husband Darrell McClaughry, and sister Irene and her husband Don McMullen. He also leaves behind grandchildren Daniel, Laura, Brad, Janell, Beau, Brandon, Brenton, Richard, Preston and Ashton, 11 great grandchildren, nieces, nephews and many close friends. He was predeceased by his stepson Randy Danieli.

Born in Berenda and raised in Chowchilla, he attended local schools and graduated from Chowchilla High School in 1942. He served in the U.S. Air force for three years and then returned home to work with his dad in the car business eventually owning Pistoresi Chevrolet in Chowchilla along with his father Pete and brother Monte. They later sold the car business but Larry continued working as a salesman at the dealership now known as Steves Chevrolet until shortly after his 92nd birthday.

Sandra Padilla (57)

Sandy Padilla (57) passed away on Friday, January 6, 2017 at the age of 57. She was born in Coalinga, CA on May 21, 1959. Sandy has been a resident of Madera for the past 36 years. She worked as a Senior Analyst for Madera County Health Department, prior to that she worked for Liberty Mutual in Fresno and Madera County Office of Education.

Sandy was preceded in death by her parents, Tony and Mary Mendez and her brother Danny. She is survived by her husband of 36 years, Art Padilla of Madera, her children, Adam Padilla, Breana Padilla, Damion and his wife Lena Padilla, Chris and his wife Gina Padilla, Brian and his wife Michele Padilla, her three brothers, Dennis Allen, Gary Mendez and Mike B, her nine sisters, Donna, Robin, Lisa, Rosie, Vicki, Pam, Charolette, Pat and Cheryl. She also leaves behind, eleven grandchildren and three great grandchildren.

Richard "Dick" Speelmon (75)

The “Big Dude” was born in Sutherland, Utah, on April 3, 1941. Richard Lawrence “Dick” Speelmon grew up in Utah and on a farm in Idaho and moved to California at age 18. He attended mortuary school in San Francisco, and he then moved to the Fresno area for work.

Dick enlisted in The Air National Guard in 1963. Dick married his bride Frances Haire on July 25, 1964. They were blessed with four children through the years. Dick became a Madera resident and began working as a Funeral Director at Jay Chapel in 1967, and he became a co-owner and Vice President in 1973 where he remained until the sale of the business this year, 2016.

Shawn Allen Gran (51)

Shawn Allen Gran (51) was better known as the guy selling you popcorn and movie tickets at Parks Plaza Theatre in Buellton, and it was his greatest pleasure to do so. Born December 20th, 1964 in Pomona, CA to Robert and Dian Gran, Shawn was a third generation movie theatre owner and operator. He spent much of his early life in Santa Maria.

At the age of three months, his family bought the boarded up Park-Aire Drive-In on Donovan road. Living with his parents and two brothers in a small apartment under the movie screen, he worked from the time he could walk. Shawn and his brothers helped the family develop a movie and drive-in theatre empire throughout California and Arizona.


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