Mary Jane McSorley Garamendi

Apr 9, 2015 by

Mary Jane McSorley Garamendi

Mary Jane McSorley Garamendi, the matriarch of the Garamendi family and a lifelong resident of Calaveras County passed away on March 19th, at her home, on her ranch in Chili Gulch, near Mokelumne Hill, California. She was nearly 94.

Mary Jane was a member of the “Greatest Generation,” a World War II Army spouse, who exemplified the virtues of family, community, and service. Born on March 21, 1921, she grew up in Calaveras County, attending Mokelumne Hill Elementary School and Calaveras High School (Class of 1938). She earned a teaching degree from the University of Nevada Reno (Class of 1942), where she met and married fellow student Raymond V. Garamendi.

Mary Jane and Ray spent the War years stationed at posts in California, Georgia and Florida, before moving back to Chili Gulch. They built their home on the cattle ranch that was established in 1863 by her grandparents and began their life raising a family of seven children.  Following Ray’s death in 1991, Mary Jane oversaw the ranch, along with her son Robert, allowing the working traditions to continue over one hundred and fifty years and spanning six generations.

Mary Jane was a tireless contributor to her community and volunteered with many community organizations; among them the Calaveras County and Mokelumne Hill Historical Societies, the Calaveras County Democratic Club and Central Committee and the Mark Twain Hospital Foundation. She enjoyed socializing with a wide circle of friends, traveling the world, and  supporting her children and grandchildren by her attendance at countless sporting events over the years. She was a devout Catholic and a lifelong member of St. Thomas Aquinas Church in Mokelumne Hill.

She was preceded in death by her husband Raymond V. Garamendi and her son Thomas M. Garamendi. She is survived by her  sons and their spouses: Current U.S. Congressman, formerly California Lieutenant Governor,  John Garamendi (Patricia) of Walnut Grove; Sam Garamendi (Denese) of Mokelumne Hill, Robert Garamendi (Chris) of Mokelumne Hill; and daughters, Mary Anne Garamendi of Mokelumne Hill; Celeste Garamendi Connolly (Mark) of Tracy; Debra Garamendi McCartney (Kevin) of Washington DC, and daughter- in- law, Evan Garamendi of San Andreas; twenty one grandchildren and thirty five great-grandchildren, her sister, Anne McSorley Murphy of Pasadena, and many dear nieces, nephews and cousins.

Donations may be made in Mary Jane’s memory to the Mokelumne Hill Community Historical Trust, or the Mokelumne Hill History Society to support the Annual California History Day, an event for local school children or to the church or charity of your choice.

Family and friends gathered for a Funeral Mass at the Garamendi McSorley Ranch on Saturday March 21st on what would have been her 94th birthday and she was laid to rest in the family plot in Mokelumne Hill Catholic Cemetery.

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