Mary S. Duarte
1928 - 2021
Whitehurst-Norton-Dias Funeral Service
286 West Main
Turlock, CA
Mary S. Duarte
March 8, 1928 - September 22, 2021
Ceres, California - Mary Souza Duarte passed away peacefully at her home on Wednesday, September 22, 2021 surrounded by her loving family.
Mary was born March 8th, 1928 at her home in Tracy, CA. She was the fourth of five children.
Mary started school in Banta, CA before her family moved to Tracy where she transferred to Tracy Elementary School. Mary attended Tracy High School (same High School that her soon to be loving husband Joe Duarte attended.)
Mary first met Joe at Tracy High, but it was not until the night of the Annual 1945 New Year's Eve Dance that their love story would begin. The two danced the night away – and it was here that they fell in love.
They were married on June 1st, 1947 at St. Bernard's Catholic Church in Tracy. They honeymooned in Los Angeles, San Diego, Santa Barbara with a final destination stop at Santa Cruz. Prior to their honeymoon, Mary had never ventured farther than an hour outside of her hometown of Tracy. But this was only the beginning of the worldwide travel that Mary and Joe would soon enjoy and get to experience throughout their lives together.
Mary and Joe settled down in Tracy where Joe (with the help of one carpenter friend) built their very first home. Mary was so excited to move into their brand-new home where Joe worked on his families Dairy. Mary first learned how to cook with the help of her sister-in-Law, Mary Pasqual who also taught her how to sew and from there a lifelong passion for sewing ensued. Mary became an expert seamstress.
Mary always wanted girls and God blessed her and Joe with three daughters. Having learned how to sew, Mary would sew new Sunday dresses for her girls as she proudly dressed up her little girls in their new little couture outfits. Mary would spend hours late in the evenings into the early morning hours sewing new clothes for all three of her little girls.
Around this time, Mary also learned how to can fruit, and this too became an annual activity which she joyfully shared with her father. They would look forward to their canning days together which were spent sharing stories, laughing and having such fun times together. They would fill both of their pantries with freshly canned peaches, apricots, and jam to last through the year.
Soon after Joe and Mary were married, the Korean War broke out and Mary started donating blood to support the soldiers. She did the same generous act of giving blood during the Vietnam War as she felt it was the least she could do to support our brave soldiers.
May and Joe moved from Tracy in 1951 and started their Dairy in Modesto, CA. In May, 1958 they moved their dairy business to Turlock where they purchased their beloved ranch on Faith Home Road. Here they operated their Holstein Dairy, Duarte-Acres, for 53 years and raised their daughters.
All three of Mary and Joe's daughters graduated from Sacred Heart Elementary School – and Mary was one of the carpool mom's – either taking all three girls (along with a few of the neighbor children) to school or picking them up after school. Mary kept busy driving her girls to volleyball and basketball games and track meets; 4-H meetings, 4-H demonstration competitions; 4-H judging competitions; and Portuguese Festas to name just a few of the activities that kept Mary on the go.
Devout Catholics, Mary and Joe regularly attended Sacred Heart Mass each Sunday. When she and Joe and the family were away, they would find a church in the city of which they had travelled to so as not to miss Sunday Mass. Later, while on their cruise vacations, Mary and Joe would attend Mass daily and found much comfort in their devote Catholicism.
Busy raising her three girls, Mary became actively involved in Sacred Heart 4-H Club. With Mary's expertise in sewing, she became the 4-H Sewing Leader all while her daughters were actively involved in 4-H and continuing as the sewing leader long after her girls finished 4-H. Mary actively supported her girls while they showed Holsteins throughout their 4-H years. Mary so enjoyed these years which kept her family actively involved with the Sacred Heart 4-H Dairy Club (where Joe was Dairy Leader for many years with Mary helping out right alongside Joe.) Mary was always with her family at the Holstein Shows, State Fairs, County Fairs proudly supporting her girls; making sure their show whites sparkled and were freshly pressed. Later on, when her grandchildren became involved in showing Holsteins, "Vava" did the same for her grandchildren Michelle, Brian and Brent. Vava was so happy to see her grandchildren get involved with 4-H and later in FFA showing their beloved Holsteins. Vava would sit in the front row of the bleachers as she supported her grandchildren and their accomplishments.
Vava loved babysitting for her grandchildren and going to her granddaughters dance recitals; watching her grandsons play soccer, basketball and baseball. Vava was so proud of her grandchildren and loved watching them grow up. She never missed a birthday party. She was at all of her grandchildren's graduations. From grammar school, high school and at their college graduations. And was beaming with joy at Michelle, Brian and Brent's weddings. Always so proud of each and everyone of them.
The Holstein cows were both a joy and a love that Mary shared with Joe. They both became actively involved in the California Holstein Association: attending the Annual State Conventions as well as the Annual National Conventions over the years where they met wonderful people through their beloved "Holstein Cow Family" that are still lifelong dear friends to this day.
Throughout the years, Duarte-Acres Dairy would win many awards and recognitions and Joe would always attribute all of their successes to Mary and her unyielding and fierce support; working side by side with Joe to always achieve more…and with Mary's strength and determination they accomplished their dreams.
On their Dairy Farm, Mary would eventually take on the responsibility of Chief Calf Raiser and Mary was the very best. She adored her baby calves! Spending hours with her calves, caring for over 144 calves at a time. She lovingly took care of each and every one of her little calves. Mom always made sure her little calves where fed and content before she would stop and take a break. Tour groups often visited Duarte-Acres from all over the world and Mary was world-renowned for her loving skills in caring for her baby calves. They would always ask "where's Mary and the 'Old Blue '59 Chevy" pickup…and they could always find Mary with her calves.
But Mary's chores continued still as her busy days would then take her out to her garden where she meticulously tended to her cherished Rose Garden. Working on her roses for hours all afternoon long before heading back to take care of her baby calves for their afternoon feeding.
Mary enjoyed volunteering at various fund raisers and always wanted to help out for a cause. She volunteered for years at Meals on Wheels – delivering meals once a week for 15 years to those in need. Mary wanted to pass along the importance of giving back to her grandkids where she would have her grandsons Brian and Brent go with her to pass out the Christmas Dinners and Toys throughout the community (donated by Sacred Heart Congregation.) Mary also regularly helped out preparing lunches for the "Daily Food Wagon" where her granddaughter Michelle would volunteer to help out and work alongside of her "Vava."
Each year mom looked forward to helping out at the Sacred Heart Cafeteria kitchen making filhos (Portuguese Donuts) for the annual YLI Scholarship fundraiser. Mary was more then happy to work through the night making filhos with the group of friends -- Mary could make every event a fun and happy time as her laughter was infectious.
Mary's generous spirit was never ending. When Sacred Heart Parrish called and asked for help in making "Baby Bibs" for those in need, mom, with her sewing expertise, quickly said "Yes." Mom sewed Bibs for 25 years….she would take the "bib" material on trips with her where she would fill any free time she had sewing bibs by hand.
Mary so enjoyed traveling to the various places where Joe would be invited to speak -- which took them all throughout the United States on speaking engagements as well as to Germany, the Netherlands, Portugal and Canada. And from there Mary's love of travel began and never stopped! Her passport never expired!!
Travelling became a lifelong shared enjoyment with Joe. They would travel to 47 of our 50 great United States. Internationally, they were fortunate to travel all over the world. Their first international trip was in 1971 where they traveled to Portugal and visiting Lady of Fatima, the Azores and Madeira; to Italy touring the gorgeous museums and cathedrals in Rome and visiting Lourdes, seeing dairies in Malan.
They would eventually travel to Portugal and the Azores a total of four times; in 2006 they took their daughters Irene and Eileen and their grandchildren Michelle, Brian and Brent on a wonderful trip to Portugal where they got to show us our "homeland" and experience the beauty of Portugal and the lovely people. Mary and Joe took a total of five trips to Paris, France and also visited London, England, Germany, and embarked on a three-week tour throughout China.
Mary and Joe would eventually start to travel by way of cruises, and this became their "preferred way of travel" taking a total of 20 cruises. Their cruise adventures took them to the Scandinavian Countries, Russia, Panama, Virgin Islands, Hawaii, Bahamas, Fiji, South America, Argentina, Chile, (twice) to Australia and (twice) to New Zealand as they traveled on the Queen Mary II's inaugural voyage as well as on the Queen Victoria.
Mary never met a stranger because she would right away engage in conversation with anyone who was next to her. Always starting out the conversation with "Where is home for you?" and from there she would soon be talking to these "new friends" as if they were already old-time friends. With Mary's genuine and warm personality, she made friends quickly and many.
Mary was very involved in lodges and so enjoyed getting together with her dear friends at the various meetings, awards receptions and conventions. She was active in the Young Ladies Institute where she was voted in as V.P and President for two years. At SPRSI she was President for several years. Also, at UPPEC, Mary was President for several years. Mary was always eager to volunteer for any fund-raising activity. She the first to arrive and the last to leave as she always wanted to help out and make the fund-raising event as successful as possible.
Mom was a very strong and determined woman, she never lived by the words "I Can't " but rather "I Can." And she accomplished so much in her lifetime. Mom was also the most selfless person as she would put everyone else's needs before her own, always. There is a big void in our family's hearts now, but our fond and loving memories of Mom will live on forever. We were all so lucky to have this special woman as our Mom, and loving Wife to our dad.
Our Family would like to express their deepest appreciation and sincerest gratitude for the special care provided to Mary by her caretaker Maria Antoinetta Batista. It was with the help of Maria's loving care that we were able to spend these few extra years with Mom.
A special thank you to Covenant Care Hospice in Turlock for the support of all of the nurses that attended to mom and to Iris.
Married 74 years as of this past June 1st, Mary shared a lifelong happy and loving marriage with Joe. They are truly each other's best friends, partners for life and their love for one another glows!
Mary leaves behind her loving husband, Joe A. Duarte; her three daughters Kathleen Elliott (Ken); Irene Nelson (Dwayne) and Eileen Duarte. Five grandchildren; Michelle Pedretti (Gino); Brian Nelson (Erin); Brent Nelson (Caitlyn); Amber Elliott and Laura Tresslar (David) as well as seven great grandchildren. Her loving sister Evelyn Luis; and her now deceased brothers Joe, Tony and Manuel T. Souza; her father Manual I. Souza and her mother Felicia Souza as well as many nieces, nephews and cousins whom mom loved all very dearly.
A Rosary will be held on Wednesday October 6th at 10:00 am at Sacred Heart Catholic Church, 1200 Lyons Ave, Turlock; followed with a Mass. The family invites all to join them for lunch at the Turlock Ballroom, 528 N. Golden State Blvd; following Mass.
A private burial will be held just for immediate family.
Gifts of remembrance in the name of "Mary Souza Duarte" can be made to St. Jude's Children's Hospital
Rest peacefully Mom, you will forever be missed.

Published by Modesto Bee from Oct. 3 to Oct. 5, 2021.
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Sacred Heart Catholic Church
1200 Lyons Ave, Turlock, CA
Funeral services provided by:
Whitehurst-Norton-Dias Funeral Service
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4 Entries
Mary was such a special person and always so happy and nice. We were so sorry to hear of her dealth. Our thoughts and prayers go to her family.
Louie & carol CALCAGNO
October 20, 2021
My sincere condolences to the family. Mrs. Duarte taught me how to sew. I´ll never forget her patience, kind smile and big heart.
Luisa Barragan
October 16, 2021
I remember Mary when she and Joe moved to Dunn Road. My parents, Joe and Mary Souza and my brother Steve, and I lived on the next dairy ranch across Bacon Road. We visited them just after they moved in and then saw them often until they moved to Turlock. I have happy memories of them and that time of our lives. I'm sorry for your loss of your sweet, amazing mother. Evea Souza Newsom
Evea Souza Newsom
September 30, 2021
Offering our deepest condolences during this difficult time.
Whitehurst Norton & Dias Funeral Service
October 2, 2021
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