July 23, 1933 — March 20, 2014
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Joan Christine Delfino passed away on March 20, 2014, after a six-month battle with pancreatic cancer. At the time of her death her family was by her side. She is survived by her husband of 60 years, Edio P. Delfino; her seven children, Michael, Joanie, Annette (Annie), Christopher, Marguerite (Margot), Mary and Edio Jr.; her older brother, John Stich; her younger sister, Claire Delfino; 16 grandchildren; and seven great-grandchildren.
Joan was born in Hawthorne, Calif., on July 23, 1933, and was raised in the town of Mira Loma in Riverside County, Calif. She was the middle of three children born to Benjamin and Henrietta Stich. As a child, she and her siblings worked side by side with their father and mother on their small dairy farm. She attended Union Joint Elementary School in Glen Avon, Calif., and Riverside Polytechnic High School in Riverside, Calif. As a young person her interests were varied. She belonged to the local 4-H club, participating in the sewing, cooking and swine projects. She enjoyed all sports, belonging to the Girls Athletic Association in high school and excelling in tennis and swimming. Additionally, she was an avid reader and writer from an early age. She loved to write poetry, narratives, and speeches. Her love of writing and speaking led her to be a member of the speech and debate team in high school. Her team was so successful that they traveled the state participating in and winning many competitions.
After high school Joan attended Chaffee Junior College enrolled in business courses. While attending high school and junior college she worked at many jobs, including babysitting, life guarding, selling refreshments at a movie theater snack bar and bookkeeping. While her brother John was attending Cal Poly, Pomona Campus, he brought his roommate, Edio Delfino, home for weekend and vacation visits. Joan and Edio fell in love during these visits and were married on May 2, 1953, at Chanute Air Force Base in Rantoul, Ill. At the time Edio was on active duty with the Air Force. When his term of duty was completed he got a job for the Sonoma County Department of Agriculture and the couple moved to Santa Rosa, Calif. While living in Santa Rosa the first four of their children were born.
In 1960 Edio was appointed County Agriculture Commissioner for El Dorado County and the Delfinos moved to the Sierra Nevada foothills. Originally the family lived in Placerville, moving to the Camino area after purchasing property and building a house there in 1962. Their remaining three children were born in Placerville during the 1960s. After her youngest child started school Joan started a career as a school bus driver at Camino Union School in Camino, Calif. She later worked for the Pollock Pines School District as a Bus Driver Supervisor and Supervisor of Maintenance and Operations.
Additionally, the Delfinos were one of the four founding families of Apple Hill, establishing their apple business, Kids Incorporated, in 1964. The famous Kids Inc. Pie Shop opened during the fall of 1972. Joan was the chief “pie baker” and became known for her skill at baking and cooking. She is the inventor of the famous Kids Incorporated “Walkin’ Pie.” The Delfinos owned and operated this highly successful business for 33 years until they sold it to their son Christopher in 2005. Furthermore, while her children were growing up, Joan was the Camino-Go-Getters 4-H Club’s Community Leader for many years as well as the director of St. Patrick Catholic Church’s Catholic Youth Organization.
After her retirement Joan became very active in the St. Patrick’s Ladies Society. Some of the many positions she held were President; Chairman of the Martha Committee, which is in charge of preparing and serving funeral receptions; Chairman of the Mother Theresa Maternity Home Guild, which raises funds to support the home; and member and President of the St. Patrick’s Parish Council, the advisory group to the parish pastor. Along with all of her other duties she also taught religious education classes while her children and grandchildren were in the program.
Joan lived life well and set an outstanding example for all of us of a person who believed in hard work and in giving back to the community in which she lived. Her enthusiasm and ideas inspired others to get involved in many activities in the parish and the community as well. She drew people to her because of her fun loving spirit and positive attitude. She loved her God, her family, her country and her community. She was a lifelong learner and a problem-solver in every sense of the word. She believed that each of us has within us the potential to conquer anything we put our minds to. She would agree with Ralph Waldo Emerson when he said, “What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.”
A funeral mass will be held on Wednesday, April 2, at 10:30 a.m., at St. Patrick Catholic Church, 3109 Sacramento Street in Placerville followed by interment at St. Patrick Cemetery in Placerville. A vigil service will be held Tuesday evening at 7 p.m., at the Chapel of the Pines Funeral Home, 2855 Cold Springs Road in Placerville. Friends may visit at the funeral home after 5 p.m. Tuesday evening. In lieu of flowers the family requests donations be made to one of the following charities: The Mother Theresa Maternity Home, Snowline Hospice or The American Cancer Society.