MASKALL, Mathilda (Comba)
09/30/1912 - 08/31/2013
Mathilda 'Tillie' Comba, born on September 30, 1912, was the third child of John and Martina Comba, who had emigrated from Italy in 1903, entering the U.S. through Ellis Island. When Tillie was born, her parents lived in the small town of Carona, Kansas. Later they moved to the even smaller town of Picher, in the northeastern corner of Oklahoma.
Tillie loved learning and excelled in school. After graduating as valedictorian of Picher High School, she was admitted to Oklahoma A & M, where she majored in English. To earn money to help pay her expenses, she was a model for art classes. They loved her beautiful Italian skin. She also waited on tables at banquets and served as a proctor in her dormitory.
Tillie graduated from college in 1933, in the depths of the Great Depression. She had a degree in English and a teaching certificate. Her accomplishments included being the top English student in her class, earning Phi Kappa Phi, and being president of her dormitory.
She had wanted to be a writer, but didn't think she could earn enough money. In 1936, after teaching in Picher for a few years, she accepted a job in Chattanooga, Tennessee, as a secretary with the Tennessee Valley Authority. Five years later, she married Charles Maskall, who was from Knoxville, Tennessee. They moved to New Jersey, where her only child, Martha was born in 1945. Later they moved to Tennessee, Texas, California, and Washington State.
Tillie taught high school English for many years, in Oklahoma, San Diego, Folsom, Rancho Cordova, and Seattle. She would like to be remembered as an encourager, and a lover of poetry. Her favorite poem was 'God's World,' by Edna St. Vincent Millay. She also loved 'Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night,' by Dylan Thomas.
She died peacefully on August 31, 2013 at age 100, of heart failure. There will be a Celebration of Life on Wednesday, October 2nd at 11:00am at the Fairvale Baptist Church, 8660 Madison Avenue, Fair Oaks. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to Vitas Community Connection or
Published in The Sacramento Bee on Sept. 18, 2013