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Phylis Audrey Albertoni
1938 - 2021
Eddington Funeral Services - King City
429 Bassett Street
King City, CA
This is the story of a little girl born on May 6, 1938 in Salinas, Calif. Little did she know that two months later, a boy would be born in that same hospital who would later become her soul mate and together they were destined to live a 65 year love story for the ages – a love so powerful, even death could not keep them apart.
That little girl emerged into a loud and cold world of chaos from a war being fought on distant shores, and I imagine she cried very little…already tough and focused in her first few minutes. She may have held her tongue, but she would have kept her big dark brown eyes wide open, taking everything in, deciding what to do next. Strong, quiet, observant and steady would be her mantra all of the days of her life.
She would be named Phylis Audrey, and would join a family with two older sisters, Joan and Margaret. Her parents, Bill and Amelia Hook, were simple hard working ranch folk who raised their daughters to be tough as nails and instilled in them the understanding that hard work was required to enjoy the benefit of the harvest.
From her mama Amelia, that little girl learned the skill of cooking, the art of sewing and the passion for tending a beautiful garden…all three skills she would later become legendary for but maybe it was her innate ability to make flowers grow that stood out the most. This is why throughout her life her fingernails were often dirty, her knees stained with soil and her arms usually tanned. Her daddy Bill always wanted a boy but after the three tries he made due with his girl Phylis who loved digging in the soil, riding horses and hunting right along beside him.
The independent girl grew up gaining as much life skill through hard work and 4-H as she did school. Bouncing chestnut hair framed her tan face with those milk chocolate eyes and a mischievous grin. Her knees often skinned and her hands calloused along with her feet from her preference to go barefoot, but when she dressed in her Sunday best her beauty would radiate and heads would turn.
This little girl's story continued chapter by chapter and somehow she managed to avoid crossing paths with that little boy from Park Lane Hospital until the Salinas Valley Fair in 1947. This little dairy farm kid named Clem saw Phylis and thought she was dang cute, so he pulled some of his slickest antics to impress her. Being a no-nonsense girl, she assessed the situation and simply concluded he was a smartass. Needless to say, the petals of that budding fair romance died on the vine that day.
Despite being on a collision course for destiny, their paths would cross only a few more times until they entered Gonzales High School in 1952. The calm and cautious little girl with the mischievous grin would blossom and learn many of life's most important lessons during those high school years. She learned about teamwork through involvement in the only sports girls were allowed to play in the 50s like Speed-A Way, Archery and Basketball. She finally found her voice and learned the importance of leadership through involvement as a member of Student Council, President of the Athletic club "Block G" and as Head Cheerleader. Perhaps one of the most important lessons learned was that life is always richer when you build the kind of friendships that last a lifetime. She embodied this motto the rest of her life. She loved hanging with her special girlfriends talking about philosophy and all things that Salinas Valley girls talked about – mostly Salinas Valley Boys.
One of those boys was the same baby born two months after she and who she'd later accurately analyze a smartass. Apparently, Clem honed his romance skills and finally in 1956, he captured her heart and whisked her off on an epic love story that would be written over the next 65 years. They spent those years loving, dancing, socializing and building their dream. They shared so many of the same values and interests. Phylis taught Clem to hunt, which was a passion they shared for decades at their Reliz Canyon Ranch. She was clearly a better shot than he, which is likely the only way she was able to keep him in line all of these years.
The two lovebirds would marry on Aug. 25, 1957 during an era when men opened doors and women wore hats. As the chant goes, "First comes love, then comes marriage, then come Clem and Phylis with a baby carriage"…four of them actually: Cathy Venuti (Mike), Paul Albertoni (Kim), Brian Albertoni (Anthony) and John Albertoni. No doubt her legacy will continue with eight grandkids and seven great-grandkids… The grandkid clan from California includes Ashley (Zac) Vaughan and Hailey Dickison; Lincoln Albertoni-Maldonado; Michael (Desiree), Giada and Sofia Venuti; Michele, Kylie and Hayden Onatanian. The Montana crew includes Jess and Drake Albertoni; Kassi (Zak) and Kashlynn Knodel. Rounding out the group are Audrey and Shane Albertoni from Virginia.
In their lives, Clem would become the front man, a Salinas Valley icon for his community involvement, cowboy poetry and unforgettable personality while Phylis did much of the heavy lifting in the background and was the glue that kept the family together. She did all of the typical Mom stuff of that era. Changing cloth diapers. Putting up preserves. Baking and decorating special cakes for every birthday. Attending every fair, sports event and play. She was a wonder woman!
She had patience to listen no matter how busy she was and after carefully considering the facts, she would dole out practical advice…no problem was ever too small. But, she had no tolerance for laziness and when asked to do something, she meant right now. Her kids understood what it meant when her nostrils flared like a Thoroughbred and would learn to beware the wooden spoon!
She was a 4-H leader and many Soledad and Mission kids credit her for their sewing and cooking skills. She was also a swim instructor for kids. In her method of teaching, she taught so many youngsters how to stay afloat in the pool as well as life. She was a role model with common sense. She was patient. She didn't gossip or stir the pot. She was the family rock and was forever devoted to her love, Clem.
Reflecting on the life of those two babies born in 1938, it is clear they put plenty of life in their days. Unfortunately Clem preceded her in death on Feb. 17, 2021. These two souls could not resist the gravitational pull of their common values and strong attraction for one another. Their beautiful lives had become so tightly intertwined that they could not fathom the thought of being separated. The destiny of their love story has now come full circle with the passing of Phylis and they will be dancing together for eternity.
Those wishing to may make a donation in memory of Phylis, the family would appreciate you making it to the Alzheimer's Association or to the charity of choice.
Friends and Family attended a Funeral Service and Celebration of Life for our beautiful mom at Our Lady of Solitude Catholic church in Soledad on Tuesday, August 3. Burial followed at the Soledad Cemetery.
Thank you all for your love, support and friendship to our family and especially our parents.
Arrangements were entrusted to Eddington Funeral Services, King City, (831) 385-5400,
Published by Salinas Valley Tribune from Jul. 28 to Aug. 10, 2021.
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Celebration of Life
Our Lady of Solitude Catholic Church
Soledad, CA
Funeral services provided by:
Eddington Funeral Services - King City
Please consider a donation as requested by the family.
Sponsored by Eddington Funeral Services - King City.
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2 Entries
We will miss our visits with you and Clem. The stories will always be with us. Your love and kindness will never leave our hearts. You and Clem are having the time of your life, enjoy and be at peace with each other. all our love to your family
Roger and Beverly Wiseman
August 3, 2021
Fred and Judy Guidotti
July 28, 2021
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