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Lucille M Ortiz

December 15, 1937 ~ March 13, 2018 (age 80)

Lucille Ortiz passed away peacefully in the arms of her daughter in the early morning hours of March 13, 2018 after a long, valiant battle with Alzheimer’s disease.  A battle that robbed her of her ability to verbalize in words but never in her spirit.  She never stopped her giggle even in the last weeks of her life.  

She was born and raised in Modesto with her brother Frank “Sonny” Souza and her sister Barbara “Bobbie” Mercer along with an extra large family of Aunt’s, Uncles and cousins whom she loved dearly.

Her early years were spent on a farm and she would often tell stories of milking cows when she was a child.  The hard work ethic she developed on the farm never left her.  She was always busy doing something, never sitting idle for more than a couple of minutes.

While in high school, she met and married Richard Avila with whom she raised her 3 kids, Denise “Punky”, Rick and Mike.   While the kids were growing up, the family participated in water ski racing, a sport that she also competed and was a champion in her day.  She never missed an opportunity to cheer on her kids whether it was ski racing, wrestling or any sport or activity the kids were involved in.

After she and Richard divorced she married Julian “Shorty” Ortiz and spent 35 years with him until his death in 2015.  Together they created a home that was the gathering place for all holidays, birthdays or any day that needed a celebration. She loved taking long walks on the beach, shuffleboard, and was an amazing cook.

She loved her family and would do anything for them or any of their friends.  She was always the one with the open door for a place to stay, food, shoulder or anything else you needed.  She just gave and gave of herself and never expected a thing in return but your happiness.

While living in Modesto her brother Frank came over every day for a cup of coffee and a visit as did her sister and all the rest of the relatives.

She had some of the best times of her life running around with her sister Bobbie. Together they terrorized whatever neighborhood they were in.  Doing nothing but laughing in every single thing they did.  They were truly best friends. Lucille’s smile just lit up the room and when she smiled, even in the throes of the disease, her eyes sparkled with light.  The disease never took that away from her.  Her goodness continued to shine. She left a deep void in all the people she knew especially her family who will miss her until they see her in eternity.   We will strive to be the person she was.  An angel on earth for all to cherish.

 She is survived by her sister Bobbie (Dennis) Mercer, sister in law Monique,  her loving children, Denise (Kevin) Wynne, Rick (Julie) Avila, Mike (Dawn) Avila, Grandkids, Manny Avila, RJ Magrin, Michael Avila, Travis Avila and many, many nieces, nephews, cousins and friends too many to mention.

 Franklin & Downs Funeral Home is honored to be serving the Ortiz Family. A Celebration of Life will be held at 10:00am on Thursday, April 5, 2018 at Franklin & Downs Funeral Home, 1050 McHenry Avenue in Modesto. A graveside service will immediately follow at St. Stanislaus Catholic Cemetery, 1141 Scenic Drive in Modesto. Remembrances in honor of Lucille may be made to the Alzheimer’s Association, P.O. Box 96011 Washington, D.C. 20090.

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