Marie Bastoni

Marie Bastoni lived within a three-block radius in Santa Rosa's West End Neighborhood for all of her 98 years. She was rooted there, like the roses that adorned her Boyce Street home, which often was filled with family and the aromas of one of her signature dishes.

Bastoni died Thursday at her home, where she had been receiving hospice care.

Bastoni was born in a Boyce Street home on Sept. 17, 1914, to parents Louis and Irene Bertoni, who had six children. The couple, who immigrated to the United States from the Tuscany region of Italy, named their second oldest Amer-i-ca to honor their new home.

Bastoni later legally changed her name to Marie because that's what people tended to call her anyway, said her son, Nick Bastoni.

He described his mother as a "very, very tough lady," in spite of her relatively diminutive size.

"She was just a real strong old Italian lady," Nick Bastoni, who lives in Santa Rosa, said.

He said his mother never smoked or drank alcohol. She and her husband, who also was named Nick, also rarely traveled much. The pair were next-door neighbors on Boyce Street when they met and started dating.

Marie did not go to school past the sixth grade after her father insisted she stay home to help her mother with raising the children.

She later helped her husband with the garbage business that he ran with a partner. At its peak, Bastoni & Bongi had two garbage trucks, and Nick collected payment by going door-to-door.

Marie's life revolved around family. She was a wonderful cook, often pitching in to make spaghetti sauces and marinades for dinner dances and picnics for the Sons of Italy and Italian-American club events.

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