Jan. 30, 1917 — May 13, 2014
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Elmer “Mike” Miguelgorry entered into rest at home on May 13, 2014, surrounded by loving family. He was born Jan. 30, 1917, in Sunnyvale, Calif., to Basque immigrants Dominique Miguelgorry and Gratianne Souhilar. Raised on the small farm where he would learn the skills to run his future ranch on Camino, he attended grammar school and high school there, graduating from Fremont High School in 1935.
Upon graduation, Mike found work at the local Schuckl Cannery, where he worked until his enlistment into the U.S. Navy in the fall of 1942. After boot camp in Farragut, Idaho, he schooled in St. Louis, Mo., and Washington, D.C., becoming and Electrician’s Mate. After this schooling, he was assigned to the USS Whitney, a destroyer tender ship, in the South Pacific. He remained there until his discharge in the fall of 1945.
Returning from the war, Mike worked again at the cannery, until he eventually found work with Pacific Telephone in Sunnyvale. It was there that he met the future mother of his children, Mary Alice Prader, who was a telephone operator. The couple wed in April of 1949 and made their home at 546 Ginger Lane in San Jose. Three children were born to this union: Suzanne, Michael and Daniel.
In 1960, Mike fulfilled his dream to have a farm of his own by purchasing the 30-acre pear and apple ranch from John and Pearl Larsen in Camino. The family moved from San Jose after the school year in the spring of 1961. Mike got a transfer with the telephone company to South Lake Tahoe, where he had to work for 18 months until an opening came to the Placerville office. He would come home on the weekends from the small house he purchased in Tahoe to work his ranch of pears and apples. When his transfer came in for Placerville, he sold the Tahoe house and joined his family in Camino.
Working both the ranch and the telephone company as a PBX repairman, Mike became one of the original 16 ranchers that made up the newly formed Apple Hill Growers Association. His was “Miguelgorry Ranch No. 6″ on the original map of the association, having his apple stand first in the garage of the house and later the barn of the ranch. Upon retirement from the telephone company in 1978, he sold his ranch to Gael and Joan Barsotti. Mike and Mary began to do some traveling until she became sick with cancer in 1980. Mary passed away in 1988.
A few years later, Mike met Lena Biasi, who was also recently widowed, at a dance in Sacramento. After dating for a time, the new couple wed in October of 1992. They began to do some extensive traveling to many areas of the world. Living in Lena’s house in Sacramento and the ranch house in Camino, they eventually settled at the ranch house, keeping very busy together in their many activities and attending dances whenever possible.
Mike lived life to the fullest until he was overtaken with age. He passed into rest in the house he so dearly loved at the age of 97. He was preceded in death by his parents; four siblings; his first wife, Mary Alice; and granddaughter, Angela Cistulli. Surviving him are his wife, Lena; daughter, Suzanne Cistulli (Anthony) of San Jose; son, Michael (Piper) of Folsom; son, Daniel (Christine) of Placerville; step-sons, Vince and Larry Biasi of Sacramento; seven grandchildren; six great-grandchildren; numerous step-grandchildren and step-great-grandchildren; and many nieces and nephews.
Services will be held on Thursday, May 22, at the Sacramento Valley National Cemetery, 5810 Midway Road in Dixon, Calif. In lieu of flowers please send donations to Snowline Hospice.