Maria died peacefully on April 25th in Upland, CA at age 99. Maria was born in Marche, Italy in 1920, finished 8th grade and trained as a seamstress. She immigrated to the US at age 19 and joined family in Detroit. There she met and married Pete Mittino. They moved to California after the war as did other extended family and settled in Ontario. In the early 60’s they relocated to St. Helena where they enjoyed accordion music, home canning, Sons of Italy dances, polenta on the board, nickel poker and a myriad of simple pleasures. Pete worked in the grape business and Maria worked at various food establishments including Sugarhouse Bakery, Mamma Nina’s, Piatti, and Napa Valley Olive Oil. Maria also made guest appearances on Michael Chiarello’s PBS show Season by Season. She “retired” from Piatti at 85. They returned to the Ontario area to be close to immediate family in 2001. Despite losing her son Michael and husband Peter, Maria clearly loved her life, her friends and her family. She remained engaged, vibrant and optimistic until shortly before her passing.
Maria is survived by her daughter Julie Mittino, son Ron Mittino; grandchildren and spouses Patrick Holt, Juliana and Greg Smith, Christopher and Veronica Mittino; great granddaughter Matilda Smith; Godchildren Jim Montini, Lois Clark, Lorchid Macri, Gina Pastore, Melanie Reese, and many dear nieces and nephews.
A “Celebration of Life” will be held May 25th at 11 am at Ron’s house. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Franciscan Monastery through myfranciscan.org. “Thank you!” from her family to the many good people who enriched her life and ours.