Ann Marie Perusa Unruh, 98, died Thursday, Feb. 20.
Her parents were immigrants of Croatia. She was born in Cupertino. She attended elementary school in Sunnyvale and graduated from Fremont High School in 1934.
She lived in Oakdale for 18 years.
She was born and raised Roman Catholic and proud of her faith. She trusted in God completely. She was very active in the Y.L.I. and became its president in 1940.
She met her husband-to-be, Orville Harold Unruh from Galva, Kansas at Sprouce-Reitz Variety Store in Sunnyvale. They were married for 44 years.
Mrs. Unruh was very patriotic. She loved the holidays, spending time with her family and friends, cooking, baking, dancing and entertaining.
She possessed many distinctive qualities of kindness, sense of humor, selflessness and the biggest heart. She never met a stranger. Incredibly strong and independent, she was definitely feisty and lived by her famous words of “Don’t tell me, I’m Ann Marie.” She was often seen driving her El Camino, barely able to see over the steering wheel wearing one of her various hats.
She was a devoted mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, and aunt. She was supportive of every member of her family. Always willing to listen, help and be there when needed. She loved her family more than life and was very protective of them. She will be deeply missed and loved forever.
The family thanks Dr. Joseph Wong who was her family doctor for 18 years, wonderful caregivers, Katie Farren and Vera Bochmann, Oak Valley Hospital, Kaiser Hospital of Modesto, Community Hospice, and family and friends for all of their loving support.
She is survived by her children, Sharon (Roger) Thomason, Douglas (Kim) Unruh; grandchildren, Christi (Steve) Sory, Danny (Michelle) Souza, Matt Unruh; great-grandchildren, Alexis Sory, Dani Souza; two nephews and one niece.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Orville Harold Unruh; parents, Antone Andrew and Anna M. Perusa; and brothers, Walter William Stepcevich, Steve Stepcevich, and Tony Perusa.
A funeral mass will be held at 10 a.m. on Saturday, March 8 at St. Mary’s Catholic Church, 1225 Olive St., Oakdale. A reception will be held immediately following the mass at Firenze Italian Restaurant, 502 N. Yosemite Ave., Oakdale.
In lieu of flowers, remembrances may be made in her name to Community Hospice, 4368 Spyres Way, Modesto, CA 95356; or to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, TN 38105.