Mazo Evelyn Ekstrom, 96, died Saturday, Dec. 12 at her Oakdale home.
She was born in Oakdale to Ora Deloss and Lora Lynn Hurlbert Kenoyer in the home of her grandparents, George C. and Nancy Ellis Kenoyer, just a few doors from the home in which she has lived for many years.
Mrs. Ekstrom was the oldest living resident born in Oakdale and lived in Oakdale all her life. She grew up on a small farm on Lee Street. Since her father died three days before her ninth birthday, her mother was left to care for her five children alone.
She graduated from Oakdale High School in 1930 and went to work as an assistant to Dr. Martin, a local dentist. She also spent 32 years working at Hunt-Wesson Foods during harvest time.
She was married to the late Nicholas ‘Nick’ Schildgen, with whom she had three children, Nicholas Jr., Donald and Alice, all who died a short time after birth. Nick died in 1964. In 1976, she married Glenn R. Ekstrom, who died in 2002.
She had a wonderful memory about life in Oakdale and helped with the preservation of the city’s history. She served as a docent for the original Oakdale Museum and the Historical Society. Because she was one of the two oldest residents born in the city at that time, she was selected to serve as Queen of the 125th anniversary of the city.
Within the last few months of her life, her dying wish was, “I was born in Oakdale. I have lived in Oakdale all my life. I want to die in Oakdale. I want to be buried in Oakdale.”
She is remembered as a wonderful aunt, taking care of some of her nieces and nephews when they were young and keeping in touch with all of them as much as she could when they were grown. She also has some grand-nieces and grand-nephews who think she was a very special person.
She was preceded in death by her parents; her two spouses; her three children; her sister, Crystal Arletta Kenoyer Sherwood; and brothers, Marvel Deloss, Cecil Roland Pitt and Ernest Edward, who also died in 2009.
Visitation will be held from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 17 at Oakdale Memorial Chapel. A graveside service will be held at 11 a.m. on Friday, Dec. 18 at Oakdale Citizens Cemetery, with the Reverend Henry Raven of Sierra Foothills Community Church officiating. Following the service, a reception will be held at the church, 1040 West F.
Oakdale-Riverbank Memorial Chapels in charge of arrangements.
The Oakdale (Calif.) Leader
Dec. 16, 2009