Mary Fortado, co-owner of Three Captains Sea Products of Princeton with her husband Larry Fortado, died June 4 at age 53 due to heart failure.
Mrs. Fortado was a highly regarded fixture at Pillar Point Harbor, where she was on good terms with the harbor's fishing community. Often over the years, she would discuss in detail with them some of the problems that community faced.
That marked a change for the normally shy Mrs. Fortado.
"Over the years, she really came out. She blossomed," said her sister, Alice Lewis of New Orleans. "I was amazed at how Mary changed. She had a great sense of humor - she really helped keep all of us grounded."
A third-generation native of El Granada, Mrs. Fortado was born in a San Mateo hospital and grew up in El Granada, attending El Granada Elementary, Cunha Intermediate and Half Moon Bay High schools. At 18, she met her husband, and both of them built their lives and business in a community which she loved second only to family.
She helped her husband build his total of three fishing boats. The two of them had a store in Princeton where they sold fishing equipment and gear. Around 1981, they bought Three Captains along with two other buyers, and started a wholesale business, selling fish from the owners' catch and the catch of other fishermen, to markets.
In time, the other two owners passed away, but the Fortados carried on the business in their own partnership: he did the fishing and, said Mrs. Fortado's sister, "she was the backbone, the one who did all the books and the coordinating."
The Fortados also raised three children as they cemented their place in the community.
"Mary had a way of drawing hearts toward her and was a great supporter. She was like the mighty oak tree," said her family. "Her roots ran deep, holding family and friends stable and grounded in her strength.
"Like the outreaching branches of the oak's limbs, Mary extended her arms and heart, embracing all she loved closely and as secure as humanly possible. Mary was a confidante and a friend with a heart that seemed incapable of letting the needs of a loved one go unmet."
She worked hard, said her family, "except when she didn't feel like it." On those days, she could be found shopping with her sister, or having lunch at Ketch Joanne's or The Happy Cooker.
But during the busy season, she was "duty bound" at Three Captains all day every day, weighing in the catch of fishermen from as far north as Eureka.
"This remarkable woman with a 'firecracker' wit will be missed for her generous and nurturing spirit," said her family. "There will be no one who knew Mary who will not miss her presence."
Mrs. Fortado is preceded in death by her mother, Jane Turner, who died in 1975.
She is survived by her husband of 34 years, Larry Fortado of El Granada, stepchildren Larry Fortado Jr. of Princeton, Lisa Fortado of La Honda and Willy Fortado of Seattle, and grandson Kyle Fortado of Auburn.
She is also survived by her father, Gordon Turner Santos, of Eureka, and her siblings and their spouses, James Reno of Reno, Nev., Joan Keyser of Ukiah, Juanita and Burdette Sladek of Half Moon Bay, Alice and Al Lewis of New Orleans, Maureen and Tim Stanfield of Half Mon Bay, Lonna Young of Ukiah, Gordon and Vicki Turner of Ukiah, Jerry Turner of San Diego, Rodney Turner of Half Moon Bay and Raymond Turner of Pacifica.
She is also survived by 17 nieces and nephews, to many of whom she was like a second mother, said her family.
A memorial service celebrating Mrs. Fortado's life will be held at 2 p.m. Thursday, June 10 at the Bell Building at 565 Kelly Ave. in Half Moon Bay.
Stephen John Campodonico
Stephen John Campodonico, who lived on the Coastside for more than 30 years before relocating to Utah in 2002, died suddenly in Cedar City, Utah, on May 17. He was 57.
Mr. Campodonico was a California native, born at St. Mary's Hospital in San Francisco on Oct. 2, 1947. He grew up in San Francisco, and attended St. Peter's Elementary and junior-high schools there. When he was in high school, he and his parents moved to Belmont, where he finished high school and graduated from Carlmont High.
After graduation, he enlisted in the Coast Guard, where he played the clarinet in the Coast Guard marching band. After his honorable discharge, he and his first wife, Cheryl, moved to the Coastside around 1969, living in Montara and El Granada, and went to work for American Airlines, where he worked in ground services for 31 years. Concurrently, he also worked as an agent for Dolphin Realty in Half Moon Bay.
He retired in 2003 following an injury.
Mr. Campodonico enjoyed photography and aviation, and held a pilot's license. And family was vital to him.
"He was a loving father who helped his children with projects involving woodworking, mechanics and school," his family said. "He loved to ride motorcycles with (his son) Evan. He went fishing and enjoyed special breakfasts at Original Johnny's with (daughter) Lauren."
Mr. Campodonico is survived by his wife of 14 months, Rose Marie, of Cedar City, his son, Evan Campodonico, of Half Moon Bay, his daughter Lauren Campodonico who attends the University of California, Santa Barbara, and his mother, Marilyn Robertson, of Redwood City.
He is also survived by his sisters Gina Campodonico of Fremont and Rachael Campodonico-Wayne and husband James Wayne, and nieces Gianna Wayne and Antonia Wayne, all of Redwood City, and many friends and loved ones.
Burial took place on May 21 in Utah. A memorial gathering to celebrate Mr. Campodonico's life will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. on Friday, June 18, at the home of his sister Rachael Campodonico-Wayne at 2814 Hampton Ave. in Redwood City. For directions, call (650) 368-6805.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to Mariner's Community Church at 225 S. Cabrillo Highway, Suite 104B, Half Moon Bay, CA 94019.
Louisa DeKruse, who had been born and raised in Half Moon Bay and lived there until her marriage, died June 9 at Kaiser Hospital in Redwood City following an illness.
Mrs. DeKruse was born in 1919, one of five children born to John and Fanny Terry of Half Moon Bay. She attended school and graduated from high school on the coast, and married her husband, Robert DeKruse, in August of 1938.
Upon their marriage, the couple lived in San Francisco and then settled in Redwood City. Mrs. DeKruse was a homemaker, raising the couple's two children. After her husband's death in 1976, she went to work for 10 years as a clerk at JC Penney.
"She was a very feisty lady," said Mrs. DeKruse's daughter, Sandra Kelley of Boulder Creek.
She went on to say that her mother had a good sense of humor and loved her garden. She also stayed in touch with friends from Half Moon Bay, even after she had left the Coastside.
Mrs. DeKruse is preceded in death by her husband, Robert DeKruse, her sister Lucille Terry Morris, and her brother Alvin Terry.
She is survived by her children and their families, Russell and Sherol DeKruse of Cottonwood, Calif., and Sandra Kelley of Boulder Creek, and four grandchildren.
A memorial celebration will be held at 1 p.m. on Thursday, June 24, at Redwood Chapel, located at 847 Woodside Road in Redwood City. It can be reached at (650) 369-5537.
Margaret M. Thomas
Margaret M. Thomas, a 46-year Coastsider who with her husband founded El Granada Hardware, died May 30 at a nursing home in Chico, at age 91.
Mrs. Thomas was born Margaret M. Walsh on Aug. 5, 1912, to Edward V. and Johanna Neubauer Walsh, in Du Pere, Wis., where many of her family still live. In 1935, she moved to San Francisco, where she worked at Tessier Studio and briefly attended the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.
Ten years later, she married Chief Petty Officer Rex. R. Thomas, U.S.N. After his discharge from the service, the couple continued to live in San Francisco until 1955, when they moved to El Granada.
There, they developed a small commercial center at the corner of Plaza Alhambra and Avenue Portola, where they founded El Granada Hardware. They operated that business until 1971.
Subsequently, Mrs. Thomas also opened a gift shop in another store on the premises. Until her retirement in 1985, she kept regular business hours and enjoyed buying trips into San Francisco until well into her seventies.
In addition to her work in business, Mrs. Thomas was actively involved in her community. A committed Republican, she assisted in the campaign of Congressman J. Arthur Younger in 1958 in order to enlist his support for the first breakwater at Princeton Harbor.
She was also involved in the campaign to build El Granada Elementary School. Along with her husband, she was an active member of the Princeton-by-the-Sea chamber of commerce.
After her retirement, she took special pleasure in volunteer work with the San Mateo County Well-Baby Clinic.
After her husband's death in 1995, Mrs. Thomas continued to live at her home in Moss Beach until 2001, when she moved to Chico to be near her daughter.
Mrs. Thomas is survived by her daughter, Mary Peterson of Paradise, Calif., and grandchildren Sarah Peterson of Moss Beach and Thomas Peterson of Paradise. She is also survived by a sister, Mary Frey of Monroe, Wash., and by several nieces and nephews.
A Rosary was said on Thursday, June 3, at the Brusie Funeral Home in Chico, followed by a visitation at the funeral home and graveside services Friday, June 4, at Paradise Cemetery.