The family of Helen Cotta, from Turlock, is very sad to share the passing of their mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother. Helen lived life to the fullest throughout her 94 years. Her love for her family and friends was unsurpassed, whether they be lifelong relationships or new ones.
Helen’s parents, Frank and Assunta, were both born in Monte Carasso,Switzerland. After they wed, they moved to the Salinas Valley in 1922. Helen was born on the family dairy on the Violini Ranch. She married Albino “Bino” Cotta on December 10, 1942, right before he was sent to the Aleutian Islands with the US Army. They had two children – Richard who was born in 1943, and Beverly in 1946. From 1946 to 1967, Helen and Bino worked for the Frank Muther Blanco Dairy where Helen was a cook. She cooked three meals a day for 18+ people during the summer months. She was a master at canning, stating: “Back then, I canned everything that could be put in a jar.” Every Saturday, the workers on the dairy looked forward to her specialty, Polenta & Stew…something that has become a Christmas Eve tradition for the Cotta household.
When her children were young, Helen was active in Scout work and 4-H. Both Helen and Bino were proud members of the Monterey County Swiss-American Club, where she would dance away to her favorite accordion classics at the Swiss picnics. A faithful woman, Helen was a member of Angela’s Angels at Modonna del Sasso Church in Salinas and a member of All Saints Parish in Turlock. She was an avid reader and follower of anything sports related, especially within the world of gymnastics. Later in life, she enjoyed knitting blankets and scarves for all, and sharing delicious recipes with her family, including her famous pasta frolla and almond roca.
Anyone who knew Helen could attest that she had a mind-of-steel. If you wanted to know the date of someone’s birthday or anniversary, the epic wins from any year of the Olympics, or even the current stats from the San Francisco Giants & 49ers, she was the sharp lady who could fill you in. So much so, that instead of “Googling” it, all of her grandkids would say: “Oh, just ask Grams it…she’ll know!”
Helen is remembered and loved by many, among them her daughter Beverly “Baby” Lucas, son-in-law Ben Lucas, daughter-in-law Jackie Cotta, grandchildren Matt Lucas (Ronda), Mitzi Lucas, Angela Cotta (Kit), and Michael Cotta, and great-grandchildren Kylee and Bennett Lucas. She is preceded in death by her husband Albino Cotta, her son Richard L. Cotta, and her siblings Elmer Morisoli, Walter Morisoli, and Elsie Cook.
Helen’s family and friends will honor all that she added to their lives in a private burial service in Salinas. A Memorial Mass will be held at Sacred Heart Catholic Church, 1200 Lyons Avenue in Turlock, on Thursday, September 12, 2019 at 10 a.m.
In lieu of flowers, the family kindly asks that donations be made to the Father McElligott Sacred Heart School Foundation – P.O. Box 1254, Turlock, CA 95381, or Central Catholic High School, Attn: Office of Advancement – 200 S. Carpenter Road, Modesto, CA 95351.