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Otto Coelho
July 20, 1917 March 16, 2010
Otto Ignacio Coelho, Sr., a long-time resident of Hilmar, passed away Tuesday at the age of 92.
He was deeply devoted to his family and friends, his Catholic faith and the numerous Portuguese organizations in which he was involved.
Otto was a native of Tulare, the first of six children born to Pauline and Pedro Coelho, who immigrated to the United States from Terceira, the Azores.
He was raised on the family dairy until eighth grade, when his parents moved to Monterey. His father was a fisherman in Monterey and Otto worked for a time selling the fish his father and brother caught. He would make his rounds in the Central Valley, selling fish from the back of a truck.
He eventually returned to the Valley and the dairy industry, and on Sept. 3, 1938 he married the love of his life, Alice Branco, who he had known since childhood.
Otto was involved in the dairy industry until the 1960s, after which time he did custom farming and later was active in farm equipment sales for N&S Tractor.
After retirement, Otto became even more involved in the Pentecost celebrations he had loved since a child. He was a member of the Dos Palos DES, Stevinson Pentecost Association, Nossa Senhora do Rosario of Hilmar and Our Lady of Fatima Los Banos. He greatly enjoyed making the rounds to collect for festa celebrations throughout the Valley, and proudly kept his route books.
He was a member of the P.F.S.A. “Portuguese Fraternal Society of America” Fraternal Council No. 26, formerly the SES Council No. 18 of Stevinson.
Otto was also deeply devoted to his Catholic faith and was a long-time member and officer of the YMI Council No. 44 of Holy Rosary Parish in Hilmar. He was also a member of Holy Rosary Catholic Church in Hilmar, where he lived since 1965, and a member of St. Mary's Catholic Church in Stevinson. He also belonged to the Knights of Columbus of Dos Palos.
Otto was active in Casa da Azores in Hilmar.
Otto and Alice raised four children, Otto Coelho, Jr. (Claudette) of Madera, Gilbert Coelho (Carol) of Firebaugh, Tony Coelho (Phyllis) of Delaware and Susan Mattos of Newman. He is also survived by 15 grandchildren, 24 great grandchildren and one great great grandson.
He is survived by sisters, Mercedes Martins of Watsonville and Nira Jean Perry (Joe) of Hollister; and brother, Lee Coelho (Nancy) of Lemoore.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Alice, who passed away in 1997 after 59 years of marriage.
Visitation will be held from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday, March 18 at Holy Rosary Catholic Church in Hilmar, with the recitation of the rosary to follow at 7 p.m.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be said at 10 a.m. Friday, March 19 at Holy Rosary Catholic Church in Hilmar, followed by burial in Hills Ferry Cemetery, Newman.
Whitehurst, Norton & Dias Funeral Service of Turlock is in charge of arrangements.
Remembrances may be directed to Hilmar Holy Rosary New Church Building Fund, P.O. Box 429, Hilmar, CA 95324.