OBITUARY

Helen Rose Pavich

August 30, 1919June 21, 2018
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Helen Rose Pavich, 98, passed away peacefully at her home in Delano, California on June 21, 2018 in the loving arms of her son Tom after having spent a wonderful weekend with all of her children and grandchildren. Humble and gracious until the end, Helen will be deeply missed by her dear family and all of those who knew her. Born Radoslava Ruja Konatich, August 30, 1919 in Veli Iz, Dalmatia, Yugoslavia (currently Croatia), she was the youngest of two children born to Antone and Maria Konatich. She grew up in a small fishing and farming village on a small island in the Adriatic Sea along the beautiful Dalmatian Coast of Yugoslavia. As a small girl she worked her family garden, tended and milked the family sheep and picked olives for olive oil and grapes for wine all in the best interest of the family’s survival and prosperity. She came to America in 1935 along with her mother and brother after her father had left the family and struggled for many years to find a way to come to America and establish citizenship before calling for his family. Not knowing a single word of English at the age of 16, she was immersed into the American culture by being placed in the first grade class of a small one room school house in Tomales Bay, California, a small fishing community in Marin County. Within 6 months she had learned the English language and graduated from 8th grade, and within a few more months, earned her place in the appropriate grade for her age. Her family worked hard, saved their money and eventually bought a commercial fishing boat and opened a seafood restaurant, “Tony’s Seafood” along Hwy 1, which is still in business today and operated by her nephews. Helen was instrumental in expanding the restaurant’s business by cleaning and cooking fresh caught crabs and selling them directly to the public in front of the restaurant. One summer as a young teenager she, along with her brother, had the opportunity to work in an asparagus cannery in Antioch, California. While there she met her future husband’s sister who later introduced her to her late husband, Stephen Pavich. They married, worked in the family fishing and restaurant business and started a family. Helen was a devoted wife and mother who loved her husband and family dearly. Together they raised three children and were blessed with multiple grandchildren. Stephen longed to go back to his first ambition, farming, and they eventually settled in Delano in 1953 and bought a table grape vineyard. Along with their two sons Stephen Paul and Tom, the family established Pavich Family Farms. Helen, the matriarch of the family, helped pioneer the organic farming movement and build one of the largest organic farms in the United States. Helen and Stephen were passionate about their favorite activity, ball room dancing. Helen was a life-long member and past Queen of the Bakersfield Chapter of the National Smooth Dancers. Together they attended ball room dance conventions throughout California. Helen and Stephen also loved to travel. Together they visited Europe, the Holy Land, Asia, Australia, New Zealand and South America as well the entire United States. Helen is survived by her daughter, Frances Pavich, Santa Fe, NM; son, Stephen Paul Pavich, Phoenix, AZ; son, Tom Pavich, Bakersfield, CA. Grand children include Lisa Lucas Schroder (Michael) of Santa Fe, NM; Hollie Lucas Alcalay (Orion), Moraga, CA; Dr. Heidi Lucas Rossen (Steven), San Luis Obispo, CA; Tatianna Pavich Clark (Peter), Santa Fe, NM; Stesha Pavich, Venice, CA; Anthony Pavich, Austin, TX and Natalie Pavich Drobny (Eric), San Francisco, CA. With much love and dedication, Helen’s children assisted her in remaining until her passing, in the home she dearly loved. They will be forever blessed with the memories of her happiness and the time spent with her on a daily basis. The family would like to extend their heartfelt thanks to Helen’s dedicated caregivers, Katherine McBride, Oralia Ortega and Mariana Lujan for their years of dedicated care. Visitation will commence at 5PM, followed by the rosary at 7 PM, Wednesday, July 11, 2018 at Delano Mortuary, 707 Browning Rd., Delano. A church service will be held at St. Mary’s Catholic Church at 10AM Thursday July 12, 2018, 916 Lexington St., Delano, CA. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in her memory to:

Shriners for Children Medical Center 909 S. Fair Oaks Ave Pasadena, CA 91105 Attn: Donation Dept.

  • PALLBEARERS

  • Jack Dulcich
  • Doug McDonald
  • Nick Pavich
  • Matt Pandol
  • Anthony Pavich
  • Graham Burt
  • Michael Schroeder, Honorary
  • Orion Alcalay, Honorary
  • Peter Clark, Honorary
  • Steven Rossen, Honorary
  • Eric Drobny, Honorary

Services

  • Visitation Wednesday, July 11, 2018
  • Rosary Wednesday, July 11, 2018
  • Mass of Christian Burial Thursday, July 12, 2018
  • Committal Service Thursday, July 12, 2018
REMEMBERING

Helen Rose Pavich

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BRENDA DEDONATO

July 12, 2018

We spent many occasions with Helen during the years that the kids were at St. Mary's Catholic School and when visiting with the family. It was always a pleasure. She was a kind person and we were blessed to have her for a friend.
She was a mentor who was eager to share gardening advice, joyous tales of being a grandmother, and stories of her long and wonderful life. We all learned about appreciating life from Helen.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the family.
Larry, Brenda and Mark DeDonato

Michael Schroeder

July 11, 2018

Part III (these are out of order btw..scroll down to Part I first)

Breakfast was laid out with fresh squeezed OJ that the kids slammed from their small colored plastic glasses. We sat and talked about the upcoming week and heard about some of her friends and events. Bringing the dishes to the sink, I smiled and told Nana how good it was to see her and reiterated how I felt about not being able to take any fruit home.
She was washing dishes.
“I move some things. You have room now.“

Impossible.
There is literally NO way she got anything in that car…
maybe a few ‘sangwiches…

Well.
Yeah,
not so much.

Okay, so Rexy, (R’s favorite stuffed animal), along with other deemed non-essentials were stashed elsewhere (I think maybe the engine compartment) and everybody would be riding home in lotus position three inches from the windshield, but….
Nana got the fruit in.

I stare over the top of the car to her standing on the back landing and imagine her repacking the entire car from stem to stern. A smile comes to both our faces.. mine in amazement of her, hers suggesting it’s just another day as the inimitable and Smooth Dancin’ Queen, Helen Pavich.

“You had lots of room in there!”
She says while decisively knocking down spider webs in the eves above her with the broom. Looking over at me, glint in her eye and a with the very sweet Nana reminder of who’s driving the boat, she adds…

“Coulda got more in, too.”

Nana you were, in many ways, my first real Grandma. From the first time we met, you created a sense of family and love that has changed my life. I am blessed by memories of the green couch, playing pool and kids rolling balls across the orange felt, of family meals, late night vineyard walks, you at your sewing machine, Dida's Shower, herds of sad-sweet country mutts, of perfect oranges, fields of abandoned blue berries, driveway dance parties and the sweet sound of your voice. Letite na slatke smokve Iz. Volim te

Michael Schroeder

July 11, 2018

Part II
It was mid afternoon, but Nana already had dinner ready to go. The table in the kitchen set with paper napkins and silverware. Glistening red grapes in the bowl, a dressed chicory salad with tomatoes and the warm smell of chicken and potatoes filled the room. We ate together and eventually the conversation turned to some fruit that Nana wanted to be sure we took home.
NOTE:
This isn’t a sandwich-sized Ziplock of sectioned oranges, by the way, we are talking 3 double-bagged brown paper grocery bags (handles up) filled to the gunnels with oranges, grapefruits and (my favorite) persimmons. Often to include a fourth bag filled with smaller individual bags of expertly clipped and washed grapes along with any and all left overs from the night before and 3-4 fantastic sandwiches for the ride home.

“Michael, I have some fruit for you to take home, with persimmons, your favorite.”
The thought of having no room in the car for what are clearly the finest tree fruit in the known galaxy was a bummer. But we didn’t have space for an additional Hot Wheels let alone what I knew Nana had in mind. I had conspired to stick a few persimmons and oranges under the seat or down my pants—we definitely were not going home without at least a few of Nana’s golden orbs of sweetness, but beyond that –- there was no way.

Reluctantly, I gave her the bad news.
“Nana, I don’t think we have any room in the car.”
I kinda sensed she wasn’t having it, but after some small back and forth, the topic was dropped.

In the morning, it was evident Nana had been busy. In fact, I found her outside at 7:30 am, 5 feet up a ladder in a Persimmon tree and holding a near full grocery bag in one hand and picking fruit with the other.
“Nana, can I help you?” (Please, for the love of God!)
Nope.
She was “all done” and “coming down right now” and “the kids need to eat breakfast now, too.”

Michael Schroeder

July 11, 2018

Part II
It was mid afternoon, but Nana already had dinner ready to go. The table in the kitchen set with paper napkins and silverware. Glistening red grapes in the bowl, a dressed chicory salad with tomatoes and the warm smell of chicken and potatoes filled the room. We ate together and eventually the conversation turned to some fruit that Nana wanted to be sure we took home.
NOTE:
This isn’t a sandwich-sized Ziplock of sectioned oranges, by the way, we are talking 3 double-bagged brown paper grocery bags (handles up) filled to the gunnels with oranges, grapefruits and (my favorite) persimmons. Often to include a fourth bag filled with smaller individual bags of expertly clipped and washed grapes along with any and all left overs from the night before and 3-4 fantastic sandwiches for the ride home.

“Michael, I have some fruit for you to take home, with persimmons, your favorite.”
The thought of having no room in the car for what are clearly the finest tree fruit in the known galaxy was a bummer. But we didn’t have space for an additional Hot Wheels let alone what I knew Nana had in mind. I had conspired to stick a few persimmons and oranges under the seat or down my pants—we definitely were not going home without at least a few of Nana’s golden orbs of sweetness, but beyond that –- there was no way.

Reluctantly, I gave her the bad news.
“Nana, I don’t think we have any room in the car.”
I kinda sensed she wasn’t having it, but after some small back and forth, the topic was dropped.

In the morning, it was evident Nana had been busy. In fact, I found her outside at 7:30 am, 5 feet up a ladder in a Persimmon tree and holding a near full grocery bag in one hand and picking fruit with the other.
“Nana, can I help you?” (Please, for the love of God!)
Nope.
She was “all done” and “coming down right now” and “the kids need to eat breakfast now, too.”

Michael Schroeder

July 11, 2018

The Love of Nana Came in Bags of Persimmons (and Endless Other Ways) Part I


Heading back from the Lake, it was August and we were moving from cool Sierra breezes and waters into the heat of the central valley and Southern California. Richgrove was past the halfway point and we were excited to stop for a night with Big Nana.

She always greeted us at the door, sometimes with a broom in hand and always with the warmest and quintessentially Nana smile. The kids were in car seats of differing size, walled in with ice chests at their feet and the space between them filled with snacks, books, stuffed animals, and all manner of detritus. They loved Big Nana’s house and gate, the cool orange pool table and plush white couches that inevitably became their go-to beds. They also knew the roads and could tell we when we were close—erupting into claps and excitement as we hit the driveway.

Between hugs hello and the kids making a dash for The Fun Machine, Nana scanned the car.
“Boy you have lotta stuff in there.”
We did.
In fact, the car was as full as it had ever been. The rear view mirror reflecting back a full eclipse of bags and duffles. .. any and all space packed to overflowing. Open a door…a sippy cup, a kids blanket and 4 chips would hit the ground –everything in the backseat precariously hemmed in against the doors.

Michael Biglay

July 11, 2018

Tom

Your mother's life was quite remarkable, I'd say she was old stock, a throwback to a forgotten era. Your family was blessed to have so many years with her. Our condolences to Helen's family.

The Biglay's

FROM THE FAMILY
FROM THE FAMILY
FROM THE FAMILY
FROM THE FAMILY