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Rosario (Chayo) Gass

Rosario “Chayo” Gass was born at home in Mazatlán, Sinaloa, Mexico on September 27, 1926, and died at home in Claremont, on February 8.

As a young woman, she enjoyed her family and friends in Mazatlán and built relationships that lasted her lifetime. She was sent to boarding school in San Diego to learn English and returned to Mazatlán with the intention of living her life there. She opened a flower shop and enjoyed making floral arrangements.

“One summer, beautiful young Chayo fell in love with a handsome American man, James Morton Gass, as he vacationed in Mazatlán from California,” her family shared. “’Mort’ was the love of her life.”

The couple married in the cathedral of Mazatlán in 1953 and had four children. They lived in California in the early years, and in 1962 they went to Mazatlán to build and run a small family hotel on the beach, the Bungalows San Luis.

After a few years in Mexico, the family moved back to California. In 1967 they founded the California Association of Independent Business, which represented the legislative interests of California’s small businesses in Sacramento.

She was creative, artistic and always enjoyed painting, and after retirement, devoted time to a small shop in Mazatlán where she painted in oil and acrylic and sold her work to locals and visitors.

She was featured in various art gallery shows and museums in Mazatlán and the US under the name Rosario Gass. In her retirement years she split her time between Claremont and Mazatlán, “enjoying the best of both worlds,” her family said.

“Chayo’s legacy is vast, diverse, and divine,” they continued. “She was smart, honest, good, down-to-earth, practical, kind, and fun! She was interested in, and curious about, everything. She would proudly say ‘I am nosy. I love being nosy.’ Chayo had a great sense of humor. She practiced her most intimate and basic values daily: faith, hope, joy and love were her tenets. The greatest was love. She said that God is love and our only real responsibility in life is to love, God first, then everyone else.

“She lived a happy and full life until her perfect end and died peacefully and gracefully at home, surrounded by loved ones.”

She is survived by a large, loving family, including her four children, Amy Mittino, Bill Gass, Jim Gass and Lory Alexandre; grandchildren and their partners Christopher and Veronica, Juliana and Greg, Kristina and Tim, Andy and Taryn, William and Carlie, Jimmy and Jessica, Beth and Sean, Sarah and Amanda, and Patrick and Christina; and great-grandchildren, Kaitlyn, Averie, Saoirse, Pennelope, Guinevere, Matilda and Luca.

She is also survived by her sisters Laura and Saida; brothers Raul and Rodolfo; several cousins; at least 100 nieces and nephews; many, many friends; and eight adult children who adopted her as their mother, Ron Mittino, Cindy Gass, Linda Finley, Dan Ramos, John Castro, Arturo Coppel, Luly Coppel and Alejandro Coppel.

A memorial mass in her honor will be held at noon on Saturday, March 7 at San Secondo d’Asti Catholic Church, 250 N. Turner Ave., Ontario, with lunch to follow.

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