Laura La Salvia, a pioneer in the male-dominated slaughterhouse business, died Jan. 5 at 95.
"I think she was an icon," said daughter Nikki Smith. "She'll be missed by a lot of people."
La Salvia was a stay-at-home mom until 1986. Husband Tony's death catapulted her into the family business. Already the owner of Los Banos Abattoir, La Salvia took on the vice president's position at the cattle slaughterhouse.
Smith described her mother as "the most remarkable woman I ever met."
Smith said La Salvia learned to use a computer at 90 and later used a tablet computer to access Facebook and check her email.
"She was determined to learn and not be left behind," Smith said.
A Los Banos native and daughter of Italian immigrants, La Salvia graduated from Los Banos High School in 1934. She was a member of St. Joseph's Church, and a charter parent for Our Lady of Fatima School.
Steve La Salvia, who ran the business with his mother, said she held a high position in an industry that was dominated by men.
"She was like a pioneer in the meat business," he said.
La Salvia ran the office side of the business and continued to be a member of the abattoir's board into her 90s, he said. Los Banos Abattoir was founded in the 1920s. The business has sponsored a carcass contest for youngsters that will be entering its 12th year.
As a first generation American in Los Banos, La Salvia was part of the early building blocks of the town, he said.
"She helped shape Los Banos to the way it is," he said.
La Salvia is also survived by daughter Toni, 10 grandchildren and 15 great-grandchildren. She was interred Jan. 11. Arrangements were handled by Whitehurst Funeral Chapel.
Enterprise reporter Thaddeus Miller can be reached at (209) 388-6562 or by email at tmiller@losbanos
Enterprise reporter Thaddeus Miller can be reached at (209) 388-6562 or by email at tmiller@losbanos enterprise.com.