Suzanne Rocca, a fixture of Point Reyes Station who worked at the Palace Market for 26 years, volunteered at Sacred Heart Church and was the first female president of the West Marin Lions Club, passed away on Oct. 17. She was 77.
Suzanne had an unforgettable, unique laugh (“Teehee! Teehee!”) and boundless warmth. “She was just everybody’s ma,” said friend Kathy Addleman. “She just kind of did everything. You just felt comfortable with her.”
Suzanne was born in Marshall, the youngest of 12 children—only four of whom lived past the age of 24—but grew up in Inverness. Her mother, Rosie Sanchez, was a Coast Miwok, and her father, John Sanchez, was from Mexico and moved to the United States in his childhood. Rosie cleaned houses and John was employed as a custodian at the R.C.A. station on Point Reyes.
Growing up, Suzanne played clarinet and softball at Tomales High. “She was picked [in softball] before me,” said friend May Genazzi. “We just all hung around and gabbed,” she recalled of their teenage years. “There wasn’t much to do in those days.”
They did babysit, and Suzanne watched the Lunny and the Richardson children. “We babysat for 10 cents an hour,” May said, adding that a candy bar at the time probably cost about a nickel.
As a young woman, Suzanne worked at the old Palace Market, where Cabaline is now, at Harold’s Market, currently Whale of a Deli, at the Golden Hinde and at the Inverness Store.
In the 1970’s, she began work at the Palace Market’s current location, where she was employed for 26 years. After retiring in 2001, she worked at what is now Ace Building Supply Center for a few years, until her health declined.
When she was 28, Suzanne married Bobby Rocca, whom she had dated for about six years. But according to Suzanne’s niece, Loretta Rodriguez, somehow Suzanne had known who she would end up with much earlier.
Last Saturday morning, during a memorial service at Sacred Heart Church in Olema, as Ms. Rodriguez stood in front of well over 100 attendees, she recounted a sleepover the girls had when the pair was just reaching preadolescence.
Suzanne, giggling, had whispered, “I have a secret.” Ms. Rodriguez explained it would no longer be a secret once she divulged it, but Suzanne had shared it anyway: “When I grow up I’m going to marry Bobby Rocca.” Bobby, who worked as a truck driver for Toby’s for many years, was at the time her much older next-door neighbor.
Just a year after the two opposites married—she, social and outgoing, he, a bit of a homebody—they had their first and only child, Debbie, in 1965.
Suzanne and Debbie were very close; they shared friends, lived together and kicked back on cruises to Mexico. “It was a closeness that a lot of mother and daughters wish they had,” said friend Jackie Campigli, who said she got her first cigar from Suzanne.
She was an active presence in Point Reyes—in the community at large, at Sacred Heart Church and among close friends for whom she constantly baked. She became the first female president of the West Marin Lions Club in 1997, when the club had 35 members, and only four of them women.
Larry Brown, who was a member at the time and is the current president, remarked on her tenure. “She was a firm president and believed in what she was doing and made sure that things were done properly. She did an incredible job,” he said.
But she had past leadership experience, too, as president of the women’s club at Sacred Heart and of the Companions of the Forests, a now-disbanded women’s club. In the 1990’s she became a Eucharistic minister at Sacred Heart, providing the sacramental wafers during communion at mass. “It’s a very, very special ministry,” Ms. Campigli said. “We’re serving the blood of Christ that gives us life.”
Suzanne also participated in Helping Hands, a church program through which she organized receptions after funerals.
She unwound with trips to the River Rock Casino in Geyserville, where blackjack and slot machines were her favorites, Debbie said.
“She loved to gamble, right up to the end,” Ms. Genazzi said.
Suzanne struggled with kidney failure for many years, and although her dialysis treatment was draining, Debbie said a visit to the casino would reinvigorate her.
Gathered around the kitchen table at Ms. Genazzi’s a home off Highway 1 last weekend, a group of Suzanne’s friends recalled how she was not just a mother to her daughter but a maternal figure who took many under her wing.
Sheila Moore, a niece by marriage, loved her like a daughter. “I considered her a mother,” she said. “My kids called her ‘Granny Sue’ from the time they were born. And she loved them like they were her own.”
Bev Cannon, who now lives in Texas, said that when she moved here in 1994, she met Suzanne through her work with Debbie. When she needed a place to live, Suzanne invited her to move in with her. “She gave me a home,” Ms. Cannon said.
Friends reminisced about her baking, and in particular her cream puffs, which she made without the aid of a recipe. Scott Yancy chimed in, a little bit in awe, “I have never tasted cream puffs better. They were just so airy.”
She made cakes for innumerable birthdays, as well as weddings. Sometimes, Debbie said, she would just bring cupcakes downtown: to the bank or to the market, in any flavor that people desired: chocolate, vanilla, carrot. “Whatever people wanted,” she said.
Suzanne Rocca is survived by her daughter, Debbie Rocca, and niece, Loretta Rodriguez, and many other relatives.
Pt. Reyes trucking, retail magnate Toby Giacomini dies
Marin Independent Journal
Tobias B. "Toby" Giacomini of Point Reyes Station built a local multimillion family trucking and retail business on the philosophy that a handshake is as good as a contract.
Mr. Giacomini, who started Toby's Trucking Inc. and later opened Point Reyes' popular Toby's Feed Barn, died at home on Tuesday. He was 88.
"He worked and he was honest. Those two things," said his son, Joseph Giacomini, when asked about his father's secret of success.
"The community has lost a tremendous leader and a very caring guy," said Marin Supervisor Steve Kinsey, whose district covers West Marin. "His warmth could melt the thickest Point Reyes fog," he said. "He delivered more smiles than hay bales, and he delivered a lot of hay."
Mr. Giacomini provided holiday cheer to generations of West Marin kids, serving as Santa Claus on the front porch of the feed barn to listen to their Christmas wishes.
"He was just a grand old prince, beloved by all out there," said Gary Giacomini of San Geronimo, a former county supervisor and a relative. "He would go way out of his way for people."
Toby Giacomini started his company on New Year's Day in 1942, borrowing a pickup truck from his father-in-law to pick up cans of milk and deliver them to a creamery in Point Reyes.
Today, Toby's Trucking has 25 trucks hauling hay, grain, dirt, wood shavings and live chickens up and down California.
The store that he opened in downtown Point Reyes is one of the town's most popular gathering spots.
Mr. Giacomini was born in Petaluma on Nov. 2, 1918, and graduated from St. Vincent's High School. His family raised cattle, cows and chicks on their ranch in Petaluma.
He opened his first retail operation as a young man, setting up a vegetable section in a Petaluma meat market. In 1939, when his brother, Waldo, moved to Point Reyes and bought the old Palace grocery store, he managed the produce department.
He then launched a milk delivery business, which grew into moving hay, grain and redwood bark and one of the largest payrolls in Point Reyes.
"Give a lot and take a little and you make a lot of friends. I never knew what a contract was," Mr. Giacomini said in a 1984 IJ profile.
After a heart attack in 1983, his three sons took over the family businesses and they run them today.
But Joe Giacomini said his father "still got around," showing up at work, even in recent years when Alzheimer's disease started to take a toll.
Mr. Giacomini served as president of the Halleck Ranch Riding Club, the Nicasio horse ranch for the disabled.
He was a member of the Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Olema, the Young Men's Institute's Petaluma Council, the West Marin Lions Club and the Nicasio Parlor No. 183 of the Native Sons of the Golden West.
He is survived by Vetalena P. Giacomini, his wife of 60 years; a daughter, Carole Nunes of Santa Rosa; three sons, Toby, Joseph and Chris, all of Petaluma; a sister, Esther Gambonini of Petaluma and a brother, Ralph Giacomini of Olema; 15 grandchildren and 18 great-grandchildren.
Visitation will be held from 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Sunday at the Parent-Sorenson Mortuary at 850 Keokuk St. in Petaluma. A vigil will be held at 7 p.m. Sunday at St. Vincent de Paul Church at 35 Liberty St. in Petaluma.
There will be at funeral mass at 10 a.m. Monday at St. Vincent de Paul Church. Entombment will be at the Calvary Catholic Mausoleum in Petaluma.
The family prefers memorial donations to Hospice of Petaluma or the new Point Reyes Community Playground.
The playground will be constructed across the street from the feed barn.
Parishioners: Please help us update our remembrance page. You are welcome to submit a parishioner's obituary here and it will be added to the website.
July 24, 1920
Priest killed in an accident near Olema
While driving from Olema to Bolinas, where he was to celebrate mass, the good priest, Rev. Father B. Morse, assistant to Rev. Father Rodgers, head of the Sacred Heart Order near Olema, while going down the Strain grade in a new Ford automobile, lost control of the machine in some unknown manner, and plunged over the bank. The machine turned turtle, so pinning him underneath that he died of suffocation. It was several hours after the accident before he was found.
Funeral services were held by the Fathers at the Sacred Heart church at Olema on Monday morning. Interment in Olema cemetery.
The deceased, who was a veteran of the Belgian war, where he served with distinction, came to Olema about eighteen months ago, after undergoing the harrowing experience of being a prisoner in Germany. He possessed a brilliant mind and prior to the war served his church in India and Arabia.
Discrepancies in article
Surname is Moors, not Morse
buried in Bolinas, not Olema
1919 Immigration to U.S.
1920 Census Point Reyes Station
Assistant to (living with) Rev. Roger
Inscription: Rest in Peace
Native of Belgium
Saint Mary Magdalene Catholic Church Cemetery, Bolinas, Marin County
IN OUR HEARTS FOREVER
Hazel Alice Martinelli
Published in Marin Independent Journal on Oct. 30, 2007
Passed away at home in Point Reyes Station, CA, October 27, 2007 at the age of 101 years. She was the beloved wife of the late Elmer W. Martinelli. Loving mother of Elmer Leroy Martinelli, Stanley Lamar Martinelli and Patricia Martinelli all of Point Reyes Station. Cherished grandmother of eight and great grandmother of five. She was a member of the pioneer Guldager and Carroll families of Marin County. A native of Tomales, CA, Mrs. Martinelli was a member of Sacred Heart Parish in Olema, Foresters and the Marin County Farm Bureau. She loved playing bingo and was an avid baseball fan for the Giants and the A's. Family and friends are invited to attend the Vigil Service, Thursday, November 1st, 2007 at 6:00 PM at Sacred Heart Church, Olema. The Funeral Mass will be celebrated on Friday, November 2nd, 2007 at 10:00 AM at Sacred Heart Church. Entombment, Olema Cemetery. Visitation will be held on Thursday, 11:00 AM to 4:00 PM at the PARENT-SORENSEN MORTUARY & CREMATORY, Petaluma, CA. The family prefers memorials be made to the Tomales Regional History Center, Autism Society of America or to Dominican University.
Ellen M. ‘Ellie’ Genazzi
Ellen M. “Ellie” Genazzi died on Aug. 26, 2013 in Sebastopol at the age of 21. Genazzi was born in Petaluma, but grew up in Pt. Reyes. She graduated from Tomales High School and was currently attending SRJC with aspirations of being a nurse. She was taking courses in anthropology and Italian. Most recently, Genazzi worked for the bakery department at Sprouts in Petaluma. She was artistic and talented, especially when it came to gardening and baking, perfecting her grandmother’s piecrust recipe. She won several awards for her garden and baked goods entries in the Petaluma Fair. She was also an animal lover and active in 4-H. Friends and family are invited to attend the funeral mass, Friday, Aug. 30, 2013 at 11 a.m. at Sacred Heart Church, 10189 State Route 1, Olema, CA. Genazzi was preceded in death by her father Fred Genazzi and grandfather Harold Genazzi. She is survived by her mother Diane Genazzi, of Sebastopol; brothers Riley Genazzi (Natalie), of Petaluma and Freddie Genazzi ,of Sebastopol; grandparents May Genazzi, of Pt. Reyes Station, Joseph Polman, and Theresa Polman; nephew Cooper Genazzi; aunts and uncles John and Donna Polman, Jeff Polman, Dan and Suzanne Genazzi, Ellie Genazzi, and Debbie and Wes Gray; grand aunt Evelyn Gilardi and numerous cousins and friends. Memorial contributions may be made to Sacred Heart Church, St. James Catholic Church, or Marin County 4-H. Interment: Olema Cemetery, Olema, CA.
Richard Gamble, 1930 – 2011
By Ryan Jacobs
Pt. Reyes Light
Richard Gamble, a scrupulous Stinson Beach retiree who served on a number of regional nonprofit boards, died from a heart attack in his home on November 29, at the age of 81. He collapsed on the way to bed, said his friend and former priest, Father Jack O’Neill.
“I think it’s a real tribute to the guy to have died basically going out the front door to help someone else,” O’Neill said, explaining that Richard was scheduled to rise early the next morning to direct a benefit party for one of his associations.. “What a spirit of giving. It was never about Richard, you know, but instead always about how Richard could help others.”
Father Honesto Giles, who presides over St. Mary Magdalene Church, in Bolinas, of which Richard was a longtime and devout member, echoed the sentiment. “Personally, I always referred to Richard as the ‘Gentle Big Man,’” Giles said.
Richard Francis Gamble was born on January 1, 1930 in Worcester, Massachusetts, the second and last son of Howard E. and Mary Carman Gamble. He was a quiet, thoughtful child—two qualities that would last him his entire life. His cousin, Beverly Gilmore, recalled Richard finding an arrowhead one summer while vacationing at her family’s cabin near June Lake in the late 1930s. He kept the artifact for decades, she said, and passed it on to her a few years ago.
Richard attended Boston University, where he met and courted Joan Rourke, a Brandeis undergraduate. The two were married in California in 1952, and eventually relocated to Sitka, Alaska, where Richard was stationed with the United States Coast Guard. Though they lived there only a few years—they moved first to Pasadena and then San Francisco in 1962—Richard spoke often and fondly of the rugged, picturesque Alaskan terrain.
After retiring from the Coast Guard, Richard worked as a salesman at several companies before retiring permanently with Joan in Stinson Beach. Their house, though modest, was always well kept. “There was never clutter or junk sitting around,” Gilmore said. “Richard was certainly a minimalist.” O’Neill likened him to a courteous Wal-Mart greeter: “very efficient, well dressed, well groomed.”
He was also a supportive and doting uncle. “He and my dad really connected and used to talk by phone and in person when Richard was a young man—whenever he had a job opportunity he’d always run it past my father,” Gilmore said. “Later on, he reacted to his nieces and nephews with similar openness.”
One nephew, U.S. Army General W. Bryan Gamble, called Richard “an anchor” who was always willing to listen with sincerity and offer the sort of “mentoring you can really take to the bank.” Richard was always sending him books. “The recent one that comes to mind is Three Cups of Tea,” he said. The book, about education in Afghanistan, proved helpful for Gamble while deployed in the Middle East in recent years.
Richard and Joan relished the opportunity to host Gamble’s four sons. “They would always have the kayaks out there, ready to go,” he said.
Outside of books, Richard had few hobbies, though Gilmore said he enjoyed sailing and, on occasion, hunting birds with her husband, with whom he was close. “Even though he was family we considered him a friend,” she said. “Richard was just a person you could rely on if you needed anything—advice, a bottle of wine, anything.”
In 1997, the two couples began traveling together, first to England and France and later to several other countries via cruise ship. Another couple, Bruce and Ila MacPhee, whom Richard and Joan knew from San Francisco, often accompanied the four. “Richard loved to act as a tour guide,” Gilmore said. “If he knew something he liked to share it, but never in a pretentious way.”
Richard’s commitment to community service grew in his later years. He served as a board member for the Stinson Beach County Water District, the Seadrift Association and West Marin Senior Services, and as commissioner of the Marin County Free Library. He was also involved in a number of committees at his church. “Any time you asked Richard to do something he would always be happy to get involved,” O’Neill said. “Roof repairs, toys for kids, money to be raised—he was there checking all the numbers.”
Perhaps most admirable, O’Neill added, was Richard’s ability to listen compassionately. “Richard was very even keeled, always on topic,” he said. “He knew he had two ears and one mouth, and always listened with intent. The kind of guy that was a true friend.”
Richard is preceded by his wife, Joan Rourke Gamble, and survived by his cousin Beverly Carman Gilmore; nieces Carol Gamble Sudgen, Susan Gamble Gerhard, and Cathleen Gamble Farrell; and his nephew W. Bryan Gamble.
A memorial service will be held January 3 at 10 a.m. at St. Mary Magdalene Church, in Bolinas. Donations can be made in Richard’s memory to West Marin Senior Services in Point Reyes Station or to the Stinson Beach Library Improvement Society.
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