Maria “Nonni” Mellano of Oceanside, Calif., passed away peacefully on February 3, 2014 at the age of 98. Maria was born on January 8, 1916 in the tiny village of Entracque, in the Italian Alps. She was the youngest of five children.
At the age of 11 years old, Maria went to France to work as a servant to help support her family. When she was 18 years old, she returned to her Italian village, met, and married Giovanni Mellano. They immigrated to Artesia, Calif., where they started the flower growing operation which is today known as Mellano & Company.
After the death of Giovanni in 1972, Maria moved to Oceanside, Calif., to be closer to her family, who had relocated the flower growing operation to the South Morro Hills area. Maria enjoyed many activities such as ceramic painting, knitting, crocheting, and volunteering in the kitchen at the Mission San Luis Rey.
She so loved being with people and her greatest joy was spending time with, and caring for, her ever-growing family. She was a very special lady with a beautiful smile and was loved by everyone that knew her. She will be missed dearly but we know that she is in Heaven cooking and baking, singing and dancing with everyone who has been waiting for her arrival.
Maria is survived by her son, Michael Mellano Sr. (wife Sharon), daughter RoseMarie Castellano (husband Battista), and daughter-in-law-Diane (son Johnny predeceased Maria in 2012). She is also survived by 10 grandchildren and their spouses, 19 great-grandchildren, and several nieces and nephews in the United States, Italy, and France.
A viewing will take place Friday evening, February 14 at Eternal Hills Mortuary in Oceanside, from 4 to 8 p.m. with the recitation of the rosary beginning at 7 p.m. A Mass will be celebrated at 10 a.m. on Saturday, February 15 at Mission San Luis Rey in Oceanside, followed by burial at Eternal Hills Cemetery.