Mary Souza

June 1, 1922 ~ January 4, 2021 (age 98)


Mary D. Souza

While surrounded by family, Mary Delores (Picanco) Souza, at the age of 98, passed away peacefully on January 4, 2021, in Reno, Nevada. Mary was born June 1, 1922 in Riverdale, California to Joao and Maria Picanco, the middle of three children.

In 1937, the family moved to Hopeton, California, where they had a dairy. Mary spent many years helping her family with the dairy. She would get up early in the mornings to help milk before catching the high school bus which so happened to be driven by Albert Souza, the son of another local dairy farmer. They married after both graduated in June of 1940. In the fall of 1941 their daughter, Patricia, was born and then in 1943 their son, Albert Jr, was born.

In 1946, Mary’s father, Joao Picanco, and new partner Albert moved the dairy from Hopeton to Snelling. Mary worked on the farm keeping the financial books and making many trips into Merced to pick up parts to repair farm equipment as well as cooking meals for hired men.  

During the ‘50s Albert managed a women’s softball team called the Dairy Belles, for which Mary played 1st base. Some can still remember those great games between the Dairy Belles and the Serv U Sweethearts.

In 1968, Mary was appointed Postmaster of the Snelling Post Office. There wasn’t a face she didn’t know, and many would stop by just to say hello. After she retired in 1989 she worked as a Special Education Teacher’s Assistant for three years and volunteered as a poll worker during local and national elections.

Mary was very active in the Snelling community. She was a member of the Snelling Women’s Club, Snelling Rebekahs, Merced Roaming Elks Club, Shriners Eastern Star, a charter member of the Merced Emblem Club, a Trustee of the Snelling Cemetery District, and member of the National Association of Postmasters.

As a young mother, Mary thoroughly enjoyed learning to play the piano and was devoted to driving their daughter to weekly piano lessons in Modesto, a 60 mile round trip, for many years. Mary and Albert loved to go camping and deer hunting with their friends and traveling in their 5th wheel. They rarely missed a rodeo and were also season ticket holders to the Oakland Raiders - they attended every home game. 

In 2008 Mary moved to Reno, Nevada, to be closer to her son, her granddaughter, Shannon, and her family. She was very active in the lives of her great-granddaughters, Cailyn and Danyelle, often picking them up from school and attending all of their school functions. Her love of softball was passed down to both girls and she spent many hours watching practices and attending every game that she could, including traveling to games out of town. She truly was their #1 fan.

Mary was preceded in death by her husband of 58 years, Albert, her mother, father, and brother, John. She is survived by her daughter, Patricia Martin of Seattle, her son, Albert Souza of Reno, her sister, Belma Sousa of Merced, grandchildren Sally Annabella (John) and Gary Bedell (Diane) of Seattle, granddaughter Shannon Leone (Bobby) of Reno, eight great-grandchildren, one great-great-granddaughter, and many nieces and nephews.

Mary will be remembered for her friendly smile, quick laughter and wit, willingness to help, great stories, her honesty, and love of card playing.

A graveside service will be held on Friday, January 15, 2021, 11:00 a.m. at the Snelling Cemetery in Snelling, California.

In lieu of flowers, please donate to your local Boys and Girls Club of America, or a charity of your choice.

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