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Hilmar’s ‘Grandma’ ushers in 100th homecoming
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Centenarian Adeline Bucholtz leads the Hilmar High Homecoming Parade down Hwy 165 on Friday (KRISTINA HACKER/The Journal).

Hilmar High continued its 100th year of Yellowjackets football celebration on Friday by having the town’s most beloved centenarian lead the homecoming parade as grand marshal. Adeline Bucholtz — or just “Grandma” as everyone calls her — donned a special Yellowjackets jersey for the parade down Hwy 165 and waved to the hundreds gathered to rally for the 2022 homecoming game.

Bucholtz said she was “surprised and shocked and felt a little embarrassed” when asked to lead Friday’s parade. But her family and everyone involved in Hilmar sports said she was the perfect person for the job.

Bucholtz is a decades-long Yellowjacket sports supporter with her children, grandchildren and now great grandchildren all donning the green and gold for Hilmar’s football, volleyball and basketball teams (never baseball, however, she noted). During Friday’s varsity football game, great grandson Hudson Azevedo took to the field for the Yellowjackets.

Her support of Hilmar athletics is legendary. In 2017, she was attending a football playoff game in Stockton when she tripped and fell resulting in a cut above her eye. An ambulance was called and people offered to drive her back home to recover.

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Hilmar varsity football player Hudson Azevedo takes a photo with his great grandmother Adeline Bucholtz before she leads Friday’s homecoming parade down Hwy 165 (KRISTINA HACKER/The Journal).

According to granddaughter Michelle Peterson, her response was “Hell no; I’m not missing my grandson playing.” Instead, a comfortable chair was set up near the endzone and with an icepack on her face she watched the entire game.

Every year she also makes apple turnovers that are auctioned off at the football fundraiser, which have known to bring in up to $1,000 in donations, according to granddaughter Susan Azevedo. At 100 — she’ll be 101 on Nov. 30 — Bucholtz is still taking care of everyone.

When asked, she said the secret to her longevity is living “a simple life.” But her family paints a picture of much more than that.

A traditional Italian grandma, Bucholtz still makes all her own sauces, raviolis, gnocchi and often prepares dinner for her extended family. During the pandemic, she told her grandchildren she didn’t need much from the grocery store because she had a whole cellar full of food she canned herself. Birthday cards are another way that Bucholtz shows she cares.

“She sends birthdays cards to everyone she knows, remembers everyone’s birthdays, not just relatives but also friends of the family throughout the generations,” said Azevedo.

“I think her secret to longevity is her perspective. She has gone through everything from the Depression to this modern time. She does not pass judgement on anybody in any era. She accepts people just as they are. And she’s not stuck in her old ways. She’s just very open-minded and has really taught our family the value of family. Our kids have these old-fashioned roots and they’re very sentimental and I think when you have someone like this at the head of your family, there are these intangible things that she’d passing on to our kids,” said Peterson.