Published: Friday, June 15, 2012 at 7:46 p.m.
Last Modified: Friday, June 15, 2012 at 7:46 p.m.
Sara Mello, a 50-year resident of Sonoma County, died Tuesday in her Rohnert Park home of cancer. She was 80.
One of 10 children of Maria and John Cabral, she was born Sept. 23, 1931, in Falmouth, Mass.
When she was very young, the family left their strawberry farm and returned to her parents' native Portugal. While living in Sao Miguel, Azores, Sara met Manuel Mello. The pair were married Jan. 20, 1952.
“I never heard my parents argue, they were very devoted to each other,” said Mello's daughter, Maria De Medeiros of Rohnert Park. “They had an ideal marriage.”
In 1954, the family returned to the U.S. and settled in Marin County, thanks to a sponsorship from one of one of Mello's seven brothers.
Mello reared her two daughters while Manuel Mello worked in various North Bay and Central California dairies.
In 1954, the family moved to Petaluma where they would spend about 25 years before moving to Rohnert Park around 1978.
“She took care of us and when I got married and had kids, she took care of her grandchildren full time. She was the most devoted grandmother,” De Medeiros said. “She helped me raise my children.”
“She did it all out of love, which is incredible,” she said.
Mello was a devout Catholic and member of the Senhor Santo Cristo Society and the Petaluma and Novato Holy Ghost Societies.
She regularly walked to her neighborhood grocery to do her shopping and maintained an immaculate garden, De Medeiros said.
“She was an extremely independent person,” she said. “She was very old fashioned — the morals, how you conducted yourself in life, family was everything. She was really a dignified person.”
Manuel Mello died in 1986.
In addition to her daughter, Maria, Mello is survived by her daughter Albena Mello of Rohnert Park; sister Ezaura Roque of Riverside, R.I.; two grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
Friends and family are invited to attend the visitation from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. with a vigil service at 7 p.m. on Thursday at the Parent-Sorensen Mortuary and Crematory, 850 Keokuk St., Petaluma. A funeral mass will be held a 11 a.m. Friday at St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church, 35 Liberty St., Petaluma.
Donations in Mello's name can be made to any hospice organization.
— Kerry Benefield
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