Sophia Silveira

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Sophia Silveira Sophia was born on April 22, 1915 on her parents' farm in Hanford, California. She died on December 5, 20l 3 at Visalia, California. Her parents, John and Ludevina Teixeira, were Portuguese immigrants from Sao Jorge Island, Azores, Portugal. Before marrying Ludevina, John had been a sheepherder. He grazed his flock of sheep in the coastal range, on native pasture in the central valley, and in the Sierra Nevadas. After marriage John and Ludevina purchased a 100 acre farm northeast of Hanford on Fargo Avenue on which they established a dairy and raised their family. Sophia was the fifth of nine children; in order of birth they were Mary, John, Lavina, Julia, Sophia, Manuel, Rose, Lucy, and Della. All of the children attended Eureka Grammar School, about a mile from the family home, and later, Hanford High School. As they grew old enough to do so, all the children assisted in farm chores, including milking their share of the dairy's cows. Sophia was given the nickname of "Sophie". Sophie's oldest sister, Mary, became a grammar school teacher at age 19. Her first job was at the Ramona School on the Tachi reservation south of Lemoore. Later she taught at Eureka School. At Eureka School Mary helped the students learn to play the harmonica. Sophia was the best in her class. One of the songs she learned to play was an old Azorean folk tune sung by her mother, "Rosa Redonde a Saia." After graduating from Hanford High School in 1933, Sophia went to work as a sales clerk and seamstress at the Singer Sewing Machine store in Hanford. She was a good sales person of the new Singer Electric sewing machine that was replacing the previous treadle operated machines. She fondly remembered her work there. Sophia married William (Bill) Silveira of Tulare, California on January 24, 1939. Bill's parents were Jose (Joe Silveira) and Maria Silveira, who were also natives of Sao Jorge Island. They had a small dairy east of Tulare. Starting in high school as a FFA project, Bill established a registered Hampshire pig breeding business there. At the time of his marriage Bill sold his herd to a large ranch in the Firebaugh area and took up employment with them as foreman of the swine raising portion of the ranch's operations. In 1941 Bill and Sophia (Sophie) moved to Tulare where Bill took up farming and dairying with his father and brother, Manuel. Bill and Sophie had 3 children: William (Bill, Jr.), born in 1942; David, born in 1943; and Gloria, born in 1944. In 1945 Bill and Sophie moved south of Tulare where Bill managed a large ranch that had recently been acquired by his brother-in-law, Dr. Raul de Campos of Hanford. De Campos was married to Sophie's sister, Julia. In 1948 Bill purchased a 400 acre ranch just north of the de Campos property. He and Sophie built a new home on the property and moved there in 1953. Sophie was very proud of her new home. Sophie lived in that home until 2012. The ranch had not one tree. However, Sophie loved gardening and soon had a barren alkali patch blooming with flowers. She planted trees. The mature valley oaks still surrounding the home were planted by Sophie. Bill Jr., David, and Gloria attended Palo Verde Grammar School, south of Tulare, and later Tulare Union High School. Sophia was active in the PTA at Palo Verde. Bill, David, and Gloria joined the Palo Verde 4-H Club; they were assisted by their parents in 4-H Club activities. Bill Sr. had been out of the pig business for several years, but encouraged his sons to develop swine husbandry projects in 4-H. He was soon in the pig business again himself. After graduation from Tulare Union High School, David and Gloria were married. David went into farming with his father on the family farm. Bill Jr. attended college at UC Berkeley, graduated, and attended law school at UCLA. Gloria married Gus Hauff of Tulare and became a home maker. They had two children, Stacy (now Gimbarti) and Joyce (now Nunes). David married Annette Townes of Tulare and had four children, Sherri (now Chambers); Craig, Cristin, and Townes of Tulare and had four children, Sherri (now Chambers); Craig, Cristin, and Caroline. While in law school, Bill married Marylin Burkdoll of Visalia. They had two children, Matthew and Amy. Bill took up the practice of law in Tulare; he became a county judge in 1976. He is now retired. In the early 1950's Bill and Sophia would go out dancing on Saturday nights. They and their children attended local "festas". In the summer they would go on picnics with their children and the families of other relatives. When her children were in high school Sophia enrolled in an evening art class at Tulare Union High School with her recently widowed sister-in-law, Mary Rocha (later, Martin). It was there that she developed her lifelong interest in painting, particularly oil and china painting. For a time, she focused on floral subjects and was noted for her paintings of roses on china and in oils. She later painted animals, birds, and landscapes. She took many prizes at local art shows. Bill Sr. went on to establish a very successful purebred swine raising operation. He sold breeding stock nationally and internationally. In his later years he also judged purebred pigs at fairs and exhibitions. Sophie would travel with Bill to fairs and exhibitions as well as trips to the mid-West to purchase breeding stock. Sophie was a good cook and frequently prepared lunches and dinners for Bill's friends and customers. Bill and Sophia maintained strong family ties with their own families. There were birthday parties for the children with the extended Silveira family in attendance. There were also large Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter gatherings with Bill's family in Tulare and Sophia's family, too, in Hanford. Sophia's mother, Ludevina, died in 1984 and the extended family gatherings for the Teixeira family, except for occasional reunions, ended. Sophia and Bill continued to observe holidays and birthdays with their own children and grandchildren. They were also frequent guests in the homes of their children. Gloria and Gus became partners with Bill in the pig business. They moved to the ranch and constructed a home just to the south of Bill and Sophia's home. to the ranch and constructed a home just to the south of Bill and Sophia's home. They continue to raise and sell pigs there as well engaging in farming operations. David continues with diversified farming operations in the Tulare area. Bill suffered a stroke in February 1998 and died on May 5, 1998. Sophia continued to live in the family home. Beginning in 2000, she was assisted there by Natalina Mauricio of Tulare and Natalina's daughters, Christina and Diana. Sophia particularly enjoyed outings. They accompanied Sophia to many Portuguese festas, church, and trips to the central coast. Sophia particularly enjoyed breakfast at Denny's restaurant in Tulare and Natalina would drive her there on a daily basis. Natalina also drove Sophia to her medical appointments and dental appointments and assisted Sophia in maintaining cats, dogs, and a large flock of chickens which roamed about the yard. Sophie loved animals her whole life; she rescued and cared for many stray dogs and cats. Sophie died on December 5, 2013. Her family has heartfelt gratitude for the care and affection shown to Sophie by Natalina Mauricio and her daughters, Chirstina and Diana. The family also offers heartfelt thanks to the staff of the Quail Park Memory Care Center of Visalia for the excellent and sensitive care given to Sophia during her stay there. The family is also most appreciative for the care provided by Kaweah Delta Hospice to Sophia and to their nurse, LeAnna Quenzer, in particular.
Published in Visalia Times-Delta and Tulare Adv-Register from Dec. 10 to Dec. 11, 2013
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