Feb.1, 1924 —Nov.18, 2013
Georgina C. Melo of Turlock, died on Monday, Nov. 18 of natural causes. She was 89.
Georgina — or Georgie, as she was known to her family — began life in Crows Landing on Feb. 1, 1924. She was born at home on the dairy farm, the third child of Rosa and Emidio Melo. She was followed by four more sisters and brothers. Georgie graduated as the valedictorian at Orestimba High School in 1942 and later attended St. Mary’s College of Nursing. She graduated from there in 1945, and went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in nursing science from University of San Francisco and a master’s degree in nursing administration from the University of California-Berkeley.
Georgina worked at both St. Mary’s Hospital and Seton Hospital in San Francisco, amassing a collection of hilarious and frightening stories. Year after year, she puzzled the young residents who, upon taking her blood pressure, were amazed that someone with so low a reading could function. Yet function she did — she was the head nurse at St. Mary’s for 16 years, until her retirement.
She was uncompromising in her belief that if she was going to do something, it had to be done the right way — and there was always a right way. It was evident in the way she made sharp hospital corners on her bed, the way she sewed (“Look at these stitches! Have you ever seen anything so small?”), the way she painted, the way she composed photos. She valued quality and thoughtfulness, and when she found it, she was loyal. Not just to people, but to things: She was a faithful Volkswagen owner, starting with the Beetle, and named every single one of her vehicles Eloise. You could often find her at the helm of her car, wearing her driving gloves.
She was tremendously curious, a lover of history and beauty, a huge fan of Christie and Wodehouse and Masterpiece Theatre. British sensibilities matched her own sharp wit, quick tongue, and severe distaste for self-pity.
After she retired, she acted as the caregiver for her mother, Rosa, in the home they shared. Georgina was always busy. She took up painting later in life, turning the first floor of her home into a studio, and was forever reading a new book, knitting a new sweater, or tending to her gorgeous garden.
She lived in San Francisco until she moved to Turlock in the early 2000s. The working-class city she loved had changed, she said, and she didn’t recognize it anymore. Her move did give her the chance to be closer to many members of her family, as well as to the local In-n-Out Burger. She valued her independence and maintained it until the very end.
She was a fantastic aunt to her 22 nieces and nephews, as well as her countless grand- and great-grand nieces and nephews. You could always, always count on a birthday card from her with a funny note in her beautiful handwriting. She had a charming rapport with kids; she didn’t talk down to them and was always curious about their likes and dislikes, their little quirks and foibles. She was consistently the most sought-after guest at family events.
She will be remembered for the way she squinted her eyes when she laughed her infectious laugh, for her Vegas-style card dealing, for her funny anecdotes, for her sense of order and beauty, and for her daily “discussions” with her sister Rose about the morning crossword puzzle. She is already so very missed.
Georgina is survived by her sisters Mary Jane Silva, Rose Beltran, Laura (Paul) Giovannoni, and Elsie Schimelpfenig; brothers Emidio A. (Marge) Melo, Jr., and Richard (Sandra) Melo; and three generations of nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her parents, her nephew Tom Schimelpfenig, her grandnephew Julian Gildersleeve, and her brothers-in-law Joe Silva, Fred Beltran, and Jack Schimelpfenig.
A Visitation was held November 22nd followed by a Rosary at Hillview Funeral Chapel in Patterson. A Mass of Christian Burial was held November 23rd at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Patterson. Interment followed at Hills Ferry Cemetery in Newman.
Donation may be made to: Charity of Choice.
Services conducted by Hillview Funeral Chapel, Patterson.