OBITUARY

Helen Almeda Petty

October 18, 1937August 11, 2019
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Helen Almeda Petty, a long-time resident of Modesto, California passed away amongst her devoted family on August 11, 2019 at the Alexander Cohen Hospice House in Hughson, California. Born on October 18, 1937 in Meza, Arizona to Fred Raymond and Mabel Jewel Hooley. She spent her younger years chopping and picking cotton in the hot summer sun across the wide-spread acres of the Central Valley. As the oldest of six siblings, her charge was to help raise her brothers and sisters, which she lovingly did. She graduated from Tulare Union high school in the spring of 1956. Only a few years later she would meet the love of her life, Neal Hershel Petty. They were wed on October 28, 1961 in Woodville, California by a close family friend, the Reverend Frank Peaton. Nearly a year later their lives would be brightened by the addition of their only child, LaDonna Kay. Helen would spend the next several years raising their daughter, creating a warm nurturing home, and planting the seeds for a virtuous life.

Helen was a woman who always put God and her family first. She faithfully attended church services throughout the week, often participating in church fellowship activities. Where she found herself most connected to the Lord and His Spirit. Her strong inner moral compass would effortlessly lead her to quoting biblical scriptures. One scripture, in particular, that showcased her faith and sly feverish wit was a biblical verse she would sometimes quote for her daughter. With a grin and a wink, she would smirkingly say “…all liars shall have their part in the lake of fire…” This quote was to tease and cajole her daughter into always being mindful of her choices and the consequences that all actions have.

One of Helen’s greatest passions in life was taking care of children. She was a daycare provider for over twenty-five years, watching over several children in the community. She invested in her profession so much that she was also considered part of their family, invited to birthday parties and other intimate occasions.

Helen had many passions from baking, crocheting, painting her house to pestering her favorite son-in-law “Mean Ed” Martinez, and for being known as “Mrs. Clean”, but the one that she was most fond of was watching her grandson grow from t-ball to varsity baseball. She never missed a game, and always brought that down-home fan spirit, jokingly saying, “If that umpire misses another call against my boy, I’m going to jump on that fence and rattle the cage.” She was very sweet, but FIERCELY PROTECTIVE. Helen is survived by her husband Neal Petty, her two sisters Barbara Jones of Fairland, Oklahoma, and Susan Ceballos of Modesto, California, her grandson Alexander Martinez with his wife Jessica and their son Ryder, several nieces and nephews, and her beloved daughter LaDonna Kay Martinez. She has left a lasting impression on all of our lives.

Funeral services provided by Lakewood Memorial, Hughson, California. Visitation will be held on Sunday August 18th from 4-8 pm, followed by her memorial service at 10 am on Monday, August 19th, 2019.

  • PALLBEARERS

  • Ed Martinez
  • Alex Martinez
  • Jon Ceballos
  • Ralph Ceballos
  • Ben Isganitis
  • Dennis Stambaugh

Services

  • Visitation Sunday, August 18, 2019
  • Funeral Service Monday, August 19, 2019
  • Graveside Service Monday, August 19, 2019

Memories

Helen Almeda Petty

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Tracy Rimmey

August 18, 2019

I am extremely fortunate that Almeda taught me how to make her famous See’s Candy Fudge! I make it every Christmas and everyone loves it! One year LaDonna and I burnt several batches of nuts that were meant for the fudge. We were so worried that she would be disappointed in us but instead she laughed along with us. I will think of her every time I make her famous fudge. I love you Almeda and you will be dearly missed.

Love, Fancy Pants (Tracy)

Debra Davis

August 16, 2019

I love this lady very much!! She has been in my life forever... Heaven gained a great lady give my mama ( Virginia) a big hug for me we will see you all real soon. We love you Almeda

Jon Ceballos

August 13, 2019

My Aunt Meda, background, Took Care Of Me The Whole Day (2nd Birthday w/ The Original Ronald McDonald 1979). The Best Aunt A Kid Could Ask For! 👍

This is one of My All-Time Favorite Pictures because I loved Ronald McDonald and my Aunt was always there to have my back, protecting me and keeping me safe. It was a symbolic and good memory. I miss her :/

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Biography

For Her, Proverbs 31:17 “She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks.”

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It’s my honor to deliver the Eulogy for Helen Almeda Petty, my Aunt, who passed away to our sadness just last week. My aunt was a Christian Woman who was fond of quoting scriptures…..She was a Loving Wife, a Mom, a Nana, a Best Mommy (Name given to her by my sister Nicky), a Sister, and as I called her Aunt Meda. She was one of the kindest most caring persons I’ve ever known. Never talking bad about anyone, always willing to lend a helping hand. She didn’t just talk the Christian Life, she walked the life. Taking great joy in raising her daughter and before that helping to raise all of her siblings, and then later her nieces and nephews.

For Family, Proverbs 22:6 “Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.”

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My Aunt took care of me when I was young. Before my mother would head off to work she would drop me off at Aunt Meda’s house everyday. Aunt Meda and I were fast buddies. We’d spend the whole day together watching Soap Operas, making tea by having it sit out by the sun, and while she cleaned house I was allowed to play Atari...most of the time.

If you know my Aunt Meda she really lived the CREED “Cleanliness is next to Godliness”. Probably because she had such a large family; having two brothers and three sisters. She grew up in a small house, which made living conditions close and messy. When my Aunt got her own house, she would not fall into this trap. Her house was so immaculate, to the extent that her daughter Kay Kay (LaDonna), called her “Mrs. Clean”. I mean one of her favorite hobbies was vacuuming...it’s true, I asked her once.

Well, on a few occasions, NOT MANY, but on a few I would make a mess in her clean nice house. I was just a little guy. There was “The Kool-Aid Incident of 83”...I was allowed to have my lunch on the carpet, while watching TV. She must have really loved me to allow this…Aunt Meda would be off cleaning and I’d be watching an episode of “I Love Lucy” Or “Family Ties”, while enjoying my peanut butter and jelly sandwich with no crust and a tall glass of Red Cherry Kool-Aid. Maybe you can see where this is going. It must have been an exciting episode, perhaps the one where Lucy was stomping grapes and then got in that fight with the Italian Wine Lady. (You know which one I’m talking about Kay Kay.) Anyways, I got excited and knocked over my RED Cherry KOOL-AID, spilling it on the plush plush carpet...and RATHER than immediately telling my aunt, so she could clean it, leaving no stain. I decided to lay my pillow over it. Poor Decision on my part. Big Red Stain. Not only ruining the carpet, but also that pillow……..Did she yell at me? Did she give me a spanking that I probably deserved? Nope. Did neither. She asked me what had happened and I tearfully told her the truth. >> That Uncle Neal did it <<. No, Just Kidding, Uncle Neal was at work. I told her I did it. She then used reason, no yelling or spanking. She explained to me what I had done wrong and the consequences for my actions. I was no longer allowed to have my lunch on the carpet. Not permanently, but until I realized my mistake. She was patient and waited, until she could tell I understood. I was sad and sorry and she gave me a hug and said she loved me. I still couldn’t have my lunch on the carpet, but it was possible that someday in the perhaps distant future, I could eat on it again. That was my Aunt Meda. Family First, Carpets Second. She effortlessly realized life lessons that we can all share, love the people you are closest to and through that love they will learn.

There were many other times like the “Blinds Incident” of November 1st, 1984, which she excused by saying I must have had too much Halloween Candy and then the “Mysterious Sink Incident of 86”. Finally...Today, this mystery will come to an end!!! Back in 1986 my cousin Khas and I were staying the night at my Aunt Meda’s house. We would often have slumber parties at her house because we just loved her and Uncle Neal so much. We’d usually all watch a movie, my Uncle Neal would make popcorn, and we’d drink sodas. I still watch movies with my Uncle Neal. After the movie my Aunt Meda and Uncle Neal would go to bed. Khas and I stayed up watching WWF Wrestling or playing games like who can toss the playing cards closest to the wall. That night my Aunt had cleaned the kitchen and washed all the dishes in her beautiful porcelain sink. Khas and I fell asleep on the couches in the living room. When we awoke the next day someone had chipped Aunt Meda’s Sink AND she was not happy. There was a permanent black spot on it, but again she reasoned with the two of us. This time we claimed innocence. I still maintain my innocence. Khas took much of the blame, but there was one other person who has flown under the Radar now for over 30 years!!! AND that person is...my Cousin Kay! She had moved away and was visiting that weekend from her new home in Newport Beach. She had no alibi and to my knowledge was not fully questioned. However, since Khas is not here, couldn’t make it because he lives in Texas, then we will allow him to officially, from this day on, take the blame. That is of course unless SOME...ONE wants to make a confession. LOL No Confessions??!! Okay, Sorry Khas. Well, Aunt Meda, Case Closed.

For Daughters, Isaiah 43:2 “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.”

One of the reasons Kay was probably not questioned was because she could do no wrong in her mother’s eyes. Aunt Meda was truly her #1 Fan and will forever hold that title. I remember how happy she was when Kay met her husband Ed. She truly believed you two were perfect for each other. Both supporting each other in different ways at different times, but unconditionally. (To Kay Kay) As happy as she was when you two were married, she was a little sad when you decided to permanently live in the LA area, where Ed was an Orange County Sheriff. From then on forward, Ed was affectionately known as “Mean Ed”...lovingly. AND he will forever be teased for always wearing Short Shorts during that time. Nearly every picture he’s in from 1985 have him wearing those short shorts. He did have nice legs and just always liked showing them off...I guess. Kay Kay, she always wanted to be where you were at, where the party was. She loved you so much.

But, it was you, Alex, that would inevitably bring everyone together. When you were born Aunt Meda had another favorite person to love. She could be a new person’s #1 Fan...AND she was yours. She loved you (to Alex) and your parents so much that she and Uncle Neal were looking at ways to retire, so they could move down South...to be with you. She wanted to see you everyday. The timing wasn’t right, but she was working her way to you. AND then, your parents decided it was best to move back to Modesto, so your Nana could help raise you. “Mean Ed” really didn’t live up to his name because he happily decided to move from the “Not Nice AT ALL Beaches Nothing to Do Area of Southern California” to Live in the “Beautiful Dry Sweaty And Heavenly Dusty Heat of the Central Valley”. And the gang was together again. When you guys moved back Aunt Meda was so happy. Alex you did that. For everyone. I got to keep my Aunt and Uncle AND my favorite family members were coming back to stay. And now you’ve brought us Jessica and Ryder...you’re like Moses.

For Husband, Ephesians 5:25 “Husbands, Love Your Wives, just as Christ loved the Church and gave himself up for her.”

Uncle Neal you are the love of her life...when she needed you most, you were always there taking care of her, loving her, never asking for anything, giving more of yourself then you even had to give. In recent years, she was even okay with you buying more and more gadgets because she knew you loved them and you earned them. In between episodes of Gunsmoke you would get up short of breath and reposition her sore legs or you were there to give her a drink of water. You were the one she wanted always by her side and to your credit there you were always with a smile (even when it wasn’t so easy to smile)...in sickness and in health for many many years. When she was at the hospital and called you to say you should stay home and rest from your heart surgery. She got off the phone and said you were her hero. The Best Man in her life. Perhaps the highest compliment she could give. You are her HERO. Uncle Neal, You Walk the Walk!

Even though Aunt Meda has passed, it doesn’t mean that she is not still alive. She is still with us...still talking to us. I like to write...whenever I write I think, “What would my Aunt Meda say if she read this. Maybe I shouldn’t write too many cuss words.” She was not fond of the cussing...She is a part of me and as long as I live, she will also live. For those of us lucky enough to be a part of her life, realize that you are “who you are” because of her influence, time, and love. She lives within us. In our minds and in our hearts.

In closing, I was lucky enough to have a nice conversation with her a few days before she passed. She asked me about my girlfriend. I told her I didn’t have one. She thought I said my girlfriend was in the bathroom. My Cousin and Sister laughed at me. You know you did (To them). But my aunt wanted to meet my girlfriend because she cared so much about the people in my life. That’s the way my Aunt lived her life, loving and caring about other people...and that’s how she will be remembered. My girlfriend wasn’t in the bathroom because I don’t have one, but if there are any single ladies in the bathroom, I’ll be sitting right over there waiting (point to seat). I’m still available. My Aunt Meda Approves.

Love You Aunt Meda,

Your Nephew
Jon Ceballos